David Gurteen has been running World Values Day Knowledge Cafés each year since the campaign began in 2016. This year with Hank Kune, the driving force behind Time’s Arrow, Global Lab for Social Innovation and other innovative social projects, he is planning something rather different – an intergenerational and international values-based conversation between “Elders” (aged over 60) and “Youngers” (young people between 16 and 18).
What are we aiming to achieve?
- Enhancing then capacity of young people and elders to understand each other
- Discovering what is important for both groups (young people and elders)
- Exploring new ideas about how values are important for renewing society
- Reducing Intergenerational Illiteracy
What do we really know about what other generations think? What do they think about? What’s important to them, when thinking about the futures they want to live in?
Our two target groups – young people 16-18 years old and elders older than 60 – are groups in society rarely talk to and listen to – and learn from) – each other. We believe that they have lots to say to each other: sharing their questions about what’s important in life, and their ideas questions about what they value.
But how to support their conversations?
Many teenagers don’t know any seniors except their own family members. Most elders have little or no contact with teenagers; except for their own grandchildren.
And not only don’t them speak with each other, they are two groups in society whose voices very often don’t get heard in discussions about improving society; teenagers don’t vote yet, and haven’t yet been to university – and far too often once elders retire, their opinions no longer ‘count’, and they are put into boxes called grandparenting.
This initiative aims to put these two generations together. We want to help people in learning to dialogue: across ages, across cultures, and across continents.
There will be two sessions held on or before World Values Day. This session on 19th October World Values Day itself is the second of these. The first session will be a week earlier on 12th October 2023 at the same time.
Both sessions are free, will last 2 hours, and will be held online using Zoom as a platform, at
- 09:30 in UK and Ireland, and parts of Africa
- 10:30 in Continental Europe, and parts of Africa
- 12:30 in the Middle East
- 14:00 in India
On each of the two dates we want to target: 50-60 attendees: 30 Youngers, and 30 Elders from several countries. As the Café will be during school term time, ideally, we would ideally like five-six schools from different countries to participate in each session, with each school contributing five students with a mix of genders.
Knowledge Café format:
The Knowledge Café is a conversational process that brings people together to share experiences, learn from each other, build relationships and make a better sense of a complex, rapidly changing world. It is a simple but flexible conversational events. At its purest the Café allows people to have a conversation on topics of mutual interest, in order to better understand an issue. It is, at its best, a powerful sense-making experience.
What is different about the Knowledge Café, compared to similar methodologies ,is that no attempt is made to make decisions or reach consensus as part of the Café. The real outcomes are what people take away in their heads and the relationships that are developed.
How to participate:
Youngers: if your school is interested in participating please contact the event organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com. There is already some strong interest from schools in several countries and if we cannot fit your school into one of these two sessions we may be able to offer further dates in due course as we will consider holding more of these intergenerational, international sessions later this year or early next year.
Elders: If you are 60 years old or older, please indicate your interest in participating in this event to promote intergenerational understanding by registering here. Registering will keep you updated on when registration opens for this and other future events.