"Real collaboration is possible, but you have to learn to work together in a context of diversity."
Focused on working for a world without barriers, Melton Foundation offers programs to young university students to become the protagonists of change. We talked with Lars Dietzel, Strategic Director of the foundation to know his projections in the country.
How did you get to civil society?
Since I was a child I have participated in civil society initiatives. At age 12 I joined the Young Fire Brigade in my town in eastern Germany and, at age 19, I decided to do social service for 17 months in northern Belfast. There I volunteered at a Family Center that worked with young people and families to overcome the effects of the Civil War in Northern Ireland. It was an experience that inspired me to dedicate myself to promoting causes with social impact.
What is the organization currently working on?
The Melton Foundation promotes Global Citizenship so that individuals and organizations can work together, transcending physical and identity barriers, to address the challenges of an interconnected world.
We offer a fellowship -type of scholarship- to young people from the United States, Chile, Germany, Ghana, India and China, who are agents of change in their spheres of influence, and who are interested in connecting their ideas with young people from other places. Our Global Citizenship program prepares them with methods and tools to lead and collaborate in the work of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Currently, we are organizing the Global Citizenship Conference It is designed as a platform for learning, sharing and collaborative action, and will be held in Bangalore, India, from September 23 to 29 this year.
What is your biggest challenge?
In an interconnected world, the way to emerge is when we design new ways of living together. In our experience, real collaboration is possible, but we must learn to work together in a context of diversity. Get to know each other, build trust, design solutions with the community. Empathy, intercultural communication, leading with complex systems, project management, etc., are important competencies to develop in order to connect with each other and cover problems effectively and collectively. The Melton Foundation has dedicated decades to this work, and it is still a challenge to put it into practice with each new group of fellows That joins the foundation.
Photo: Melton Foundation
28How was your experience at ColungaHUB?
Being the only representative of the Melton Foundation in Santiago, and with the opportunity to be part of ColungaHUB, I feel very fortunate. Although I have been here for a short time, I feel the energy and the great potential of working in a space where organizations, with visions of social impact, work, share, connect and inspire each other. In the weeks I have worked since ColungaHUB, I have had very enriching conversations.
What results do you hope to achieve with ColungaHUB?
Our board recently approved the new strategic direction for the Melton Foundation, which hopes to transform Global Citizenship programs and practices to achieve greater access and impact, both locally and globally.
With our base in Temuco, we hope to forge alliances with local organizations to transform the city into the first in Chile that adapts Global Citizenship as a transversal reference. We want initiatives, both from civil society and the business world, to develop a new coexist. One that puts collaboration and interest in the common good in their DNA. With the platform and vision that ColungaHUB gives us, all this is possible.