Dialogue Cafe Amsterdam – Launching tomorrow! 0 Reply

We are really excited about launching Dialogue Café Amsterdam at Waag Society tomorrow.

For the occasion, we’ll be connecting the three Dialogue CafĂ©s in Lisbon, Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro to Cisco offices in New York, Sao Paulo, Warsaw and Oslo for a round-table discussion on innovation and creativity and the role of Dialogue CafĂ©. This will be followed by music from OMIRI in Lisbon and Cristina Braga in Rio de Janeiro!

5.00 pm:  Doors open and drinks
5.15 pm: Launch – the conversation starts!
6.15pm – 6.45pm: Music and drinks


Amsterdam: Ger Baron (Amsterdam Innovation Motor), Marleen Stikker (Director, Waag society), Diogo Vasconcelos (Chairman, Dialogue Café Association)

Lisbon: Barbara Coutinho (Director, MUDE), Teresa PatrĂ­cio Gouveia (Gulbenkian Foundation) (tbc), Beatriz Vidal (Portuguese Design Centre), LuĂ­s Mah (UN Millennium Campaign),  Prof. Jose Santos (INSEAD), Pedro Veiga (Chairman, FCCN).

Rio de Janeiro: Rita Torre (UCAM), Katia de Marco (Director, ABGC), Carla Cipolla (DESIS).

New York: President Jorge Sampaio (High Representative to the UN Alliance of Civilisations), Helena Barroco (Senior Advisor to President Sampaio), Relina Bulchandani (Cisco)

Warsaw: Prof Miroslav Miller (University of Wroclaw, EIT+), Bartlomiej Michalowski (Cisco)

Sao Paulo: Antonio Laporta (EDP Foundation), Guilherme Benevides (EDP Foundation), Flavia Ramos (EDP Foundation), Barbara Stutz (the Hub), Renato Pazzoto (Cisco).

Oslo: Jorgen Myrland (Cisco), Mailliw Sorensen (Cisco), Bente Erichson (Nobel Centre for Peace).



Reflections on opening the first two Dialogue Cafes 0 Reply

Finally, we’re back in London after an emotional, hectic, exhilarating, and at times deeply moving two weeks in Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro for the launch of the first two Dialogue Cafes. It’s taken the team almost two years to get here but now, we’re truly at the beginning of what promises to be an exciting and important social venture.

Dialogue Cafe is about bringing together diverse groups of people so that they can share experiences, learn from each other and work together to make the world a better place. This means connecting students to talk about important social and topical issues – to help them broaden their horizons and learn about people and places beyond their own experiences – and at times, beyond their own imagination. It means bringing people together who are tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our times – like climate change, inequalities, youth unemployment, illiteracy, digital exclusion, ageing societies and the growth of chronic disease. Together, they can learn about what works and what doesn’t, improve their own practice, and eventually, replicate projects in their own cities and countries. Dialogue Cafe is also about showcasing the art, heritage and culture of the cities in which we’re based. This means connecting artists, musicians and writers to talk about their work and the influences they share.

Which is why, for our launch, we decided on an ambitious day long programme of events to capture the diversity and richness of the kinds of activities we’re going to enable through the first two Dialogue Cafes at MUDE in Lisbon and the Candido Mendes University in Rio. 

We started off with a short introduction of the teams in Lisbon and Rio then launched straight into a fantastic session with 10-15 school students in each Dialogue Cafe, aged 15-18, on the subject of sustainability and climate change. The session was introduced by Isabel Castro in Lisbon and then the students talked for about an hour about the issues which interested and affected them the most. They also made suggestions about how climate change could be tackled. At the end the students swapped email addresses and Facebook names and are now hoping to meet up on a regular basis to continue the conversation and the connection. Then we had another great session, this time with university students and professors on the subject of e-learning. The session was introduced by Eliane Costa in Rio and then the students talked animatedly on issues such as distance learning, digital inclusion and new models of learning.  It was incredibly exciting to see the school and university students enjoy the sessions as they did – one of the school students promised that he’d continue to get good grades if it meant that he could come back to Dialogue Cafe!

Then we had the official inauguration with Antonio Costa, the Mayor of Lisbon, Rui Vilar, the President of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Pedro Veiga, the President of the FCCN, and Barbara Coutinho, Director of MUDE in Lisbon and President Jorge Sampaio, UN Secretary General’s High Representative for the Alliance of Civilisations, Prof. Candido Mendes, the Dean of the Candido Mendes University, Diogo Vasconcelos, the President of the Dialogue Cafe Association and Simon Willis, the instigator of the Dialogue Cafe project and Cisco Global Vice President.

Then we had an afternoon (in Rio – evening in Lisbon!) of music and theatre. First with rising star Marisa Teixeira who sang a beautiful traditional Portuguese Fado. Then sketches from the play “A Natureza do Olhar” by Portuguese poet and writer Fernando Pessoa.  Then the grand finale – a transatlantic jam session between Carlos Martins in Lisbon and Aleh Ferreira in Rio. They took turns to play a song and in between, they talked about their music, the music that influenced them and then the influences on Portuguese and Brazilian music – and how the two developed symbiotically. It was an incredibly exciting moment – and gave a glimpse of what we could do in the future with Dialogue Cafe. 

If Thursday wasn’t ambitious enough, on Friday – the following day – we were showcased at the UN Forum for the Alliance of Civilizations – also taking place in Rio, at the Museum of Modern Art (MAM). The Forum brought together around 2,000 people, including political leaders, civil society activists, youth groups, faith communities, foundations, students and journalists  from around the world to discuss and take action in order to improve relations across cultures, combat prejudice and build lasting peace. We had a Dialogue Cafe pod onstage and did a live session, moderated by Riz Kahn of Al Jazeera and Simon Willis, connecting to the Dialogue Cafe at the Candido Mendes University (UCAM) in Rio.  At UCAM, we were joined by J.D. Stanley (aka our technical genius), Luisa Sena, manager of the Dialogue Cafe in Rio (whose enthusiasm and energy is inspiring) and Aleh Ferreira who sang one of his excellent songs to the whole Forum.  

The two days were an amazing achievement. Enormous thanks go to all the people who worked incredibly hard to make it possible. Especially, the teams in Lisbon and Rio for the amazing work they did in organising the launch and making it such a success; to Olly and Chris who worked 30 hours straight to install the pods at UCAM and MAM; to Natalie for her resourcefulness and willingness to help; to Nuno for always making sure that things get done; to JD and Steve for the long hours, technical prowess, connectivity and cables!; to Sergio for his unbridled commitment and enthusiasm and for making it possible; to Simon for having the crazy idea in the first place and the resolve to take it forward; to Diogo for his trust, support and vision and to Sara for never taking no as an answer. It’s been an immense privilege and honour to work with you all and I’m looking forward to doing it all again in London, Ramallah, Toronto, Istanbul, San Francisco, Amsterdam and more!

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Dialogue Cafe is facilitating dialogue between people from all walks of life, across the world, to address social issues ranging from youth literacy to urban development.


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Hi Ashique, Thank you for your interest! Our cycle is finalised but more sessions on crafts will take place at Dialogue Cafe. For instance you can visit our profil in vimeo and attend online some sessions recorded. Otherwise we plan to publish a book with the recommendations and findings of our discussions on crafts. Keep posted! Thanks again for your interest DC team
daliasendra on 2019.07.29