From Stories to Bridges is an oral history initiative of the Global Encounters Alumni Association that aims to increase empathy, awareness, and an appreciation of pluralism within our Jamat by collecting, compiling, and sharing lived stories from across the globe. This initiative seeks to create a platform to voice especially those who are forgotten, vulnerable and hidden – reminding and reassuring them that their family’s stories are valuable pieces of the mosaic that forms our collective history. Through sharing these stories, experiences, and moments of pride and struggle, we hope that stereotypes and misconceptions within the Jamat may be replaced with a genuine sense of respect and compassion. From Stories to Bridges is an effort to foster greater understanding and care in our global Ismaili family.
Stories connect us to our past, our present, our future, to our brothers and sisters, and ultimately to our faith. For centuries, stories have sustained our community’s history, transmitted from one generation to the next through oral traditions. More than being reminders of the strength, resilience, courage, and faith of our ancestors, stories shape the lens with which we view the world. They guide our ethical decision-making processes, provide hope and comfort in times of need, instill in us a sense of pride, and remind us that we are each just a moment in the vast timeline of humanity, connected to something bigger and deeper than ourselves. Through glimpses into each other’s experiences, lives, and families, stories teach us to interact in a language that we all understand, no matter where we live: empathy.
Each story that we hear and internalize becomes part of our foundation as an individual and as a part of a community. This foundation is unique in that it is pillared by liquid architecture – architecture that flows and grows as we do, consisting of our experiences, values, traditions and faith. Architecture that is malleable, constantly being shaped and reshaped. It is this architecture that defines our sense of self, our relationships with others, and with the Divine. Connecting to each other through the sharing of experiences allows our personal architecture to merge with others’ – creating bridges that span across time and space.
To contribute to From Stories to Bridges, members of the Jamat are requested to fill out this form with their stories, photos, and general information. Note: you must have access to a google account to use the form. For anyone who does not have access to a google account, please email us for further details to contribute.
Please take a moment to review the short submission guidelines and suggestions before submitting! Submitted stories will be compiled in an electronic format and shared with the Jamat through textual, visual, and aural means.
This program is not to be confused with Bridges – a weekly program for Ismaili youth from Canada, UK, US, Portugal, and France. See www.iicanada.org/summerprograms