2014, New York City.
I lived in New York City for five years (2009-2013). I worked at the United Nations Headquarters. In 2014, I visited the Big Apple, as a student in International Peace Studies to research about a moral and value-based approach to peacebuilding for my Master's Thesis.
One day, I met with my UN friends/colleagues for lunch after spending hours in the Dag Hammarksjold Library. Once finished, and as we were walking back to the main building on 1st avenue, one friend started to tell me about how to find a job, and advised, in her own kind and spicy way:
- "Surely you’ll need a good network to get a good job Carmel!"
To which I replied:
"You know, I am not comfortable with this word... I have never operated with any network in my life. I have always loved the jobs I applied to, loved the people I worked with and this is how my whole career has been... I don't believe in network, I don't like the word network... it's not even about the network you see... it's about ... mmmmm... LOVE! It's all about Net-Love actually! The net of love one creates!"
There you have it. The seed of N was planted 8 years ago.
Since this trip to New York City, I have lived in Dublin for 5 years, in the Holy Land for over 2 years, and now back on the beautiful island of Eire.
Today, more than ever, I see the relevance and the practicality of Love, what it can do to people's hearts and minds, and how much power lies in it... should one wants to transform the relationships between each other, the world we live in or even the workplace we work in.
Over the past years, many of my co-workers became some of my closest friends, and I can affirm that most of - if not all - the successful work we have done together, was because of this love and friendship we had for one another. A love that grew over time: by learning about each other's lives, dreams, and hopes; by being open to becoming friends not foes, and by being tested by one another too and by learning to acknowledging our differences and use them as means for a greater purpose not obstacles or sources of frustrations.
Today, it is time to reflect on what a workplace or a school would look like if there was a net of people, supporting each other to progress, grow and develop. A space where meaningful conversations could take place and where people could reflect on what truly matters to them and their peers. Isn't the purpose of life also to become the best version of oneself as a human being, both personally and professionally? For it is certainly not a "network" that will help you do that. But a NETLOVE will.
What prevents us from connecting with one another?
Prejudices are what prevent us from connecting. They ignore what human-kind means and they are eating out the social fabrics of any society. They are the root causes of all the unrests we are currently experiencing- no matter who we are, what gender we have, how much money we have in our bank accounts, which family we come from.
Conversations may be taking place, but they are often happening between people who already agree with one another, who go on "protests" together, who spend time having coffee, dinner, and other social interactions together. Studies are being funded, conferences, and so on, but it is to focus on the disease of prejudices, on how hate presents itself, even on the topic of "NetHate"!
Why focus only on the diseases when we have the cure?
What can NETLOVE do for you?
Martin Luther King said “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
Should any difference arise amongst us, should we want to nurture the cooperation already present between us, Love is the ingredient we need. A love based on our common shared humanity, purpose and goals to make our street a better place, our neighborhood, our workplace, our city and our world. Netlove is much more than just a space. It is our hope that through the workshops we offer, spaces are created to explore what unite us, not what divides us.
No transformation without Education
Real and sustainable change cannot happen in today's society, unless and until we purposefully put an effort towards the education of our younger generation to learn about LOVE.
Love not only viewed as a mere romantic concept.
Love not only associated with one particular day where gifts and cards are offered.
Love seen as the most powerful instrument which can destroy all the barriers between humans: from bullying to racism, to prejudice and to division.
Love that gives a spirit and purpose to what human rights mean and where one can fulfil its true human purpose: become an active citizen of change for the well-being of our common shared humanity.