Karin Haselböck


Ashoka’s Karin Haselböck shares reflections from PEXforum 2022 in Istanbul.


of sheer wonder at the beauty of Istanbul by night, standing on the terrasse of a magnificent Museum owned by one foundation and watching the glittering lights reflected in the Bosporus.

…of disbelief when hearing about the shackles that are so painful around civic society organizations in Turkey.

…of admiration for the determination and power this tight-knit small community of NGOs, foundations, associations and others shows every day despite dire circumstances in Turkey.

…of awkwardness, yet food for thought as well for many of us when we follow the instructions of our facilitator Mira into an exercise of walking, touching others with a blindfold preventing us to see, and all that within tight space, something we are not used to do any longer.

…of thankfulness for the heart and soul that went into this PEX meeting 2022 in Istanbul. Teşekkürler/Thank you in Turkish!

…of pain when hearing Indy showing us in ruthless detail how we humans destroy our only planet. All these challenges and needs and a world that constantly creates “us and the others” instead of “un-other”ing.

…of power when coming together and sharing a meaningful dialogue in a small group and realizing that this is exactly what is needed all around the world.

…of joy when sitting on a boat on the Bosporus, talking about the power of changemaking, the power of the female witches.

…of hope as I hear a wonderful Turkish American woman telling a story of empowering young people and strengthening the NGO sector in Turkey at the same time.

…of feeling overwhelmed with people and rushing through the program and then taking the time to just breath and be alone to come into the flow again.

…of beginning friendship as I enjoy the hospitality of the Bazaar and drink Turkish tea together with Mustafa in his Ali Baba shop, hear about his challenges to make the Bazaar into a meeting place between Okzident and Orient, make it into something more than just selling cheap goods and encourage him to find others to create change and we hug each other when saying Good bye.

…of smiling when hearing the applause after talking about making the impossible possible and system change – learning that with impact orientation and empowerment and the right partners and a good idea you can shift systems and their mindsets – and systems are always shifted by people, by us, by each one of us!

…of togetherness when we discuss and learn and share and co-create and listen to the stories – we are all changemakers! Let’s put into reality collective impact and systemic change that is needed in the world, let’s be smart and focused and use our power as Indy encourages us to be! A beautiful poem that has a deep impact on my life comes to my mind, we are all powerful beyond belief, it says, yet we fear exactly that. Written by Marianne Williamson, Nelson Mandela used in his inauguration speech.

…of the beauty of words and how Indy uses each word very carefully to create a shared understanding of “us” and what we can do together.

…of surprise to hear our powerful Italian colleague and the Philea team saying, “Next, we will meet in Rome in January 2023 – let’s see each other again!

Karin Haselböck is Head of Strategic Planning at Ashoka Europe.

Tagged in: PEXForum 2022

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