“One of the most useful meetings that we have had in Rondine”. These words belong to Envera, one of the young students of the International Hall of Rondine. She is talking about the meeting with Jo Andrews the last March. Jo Andrews is a former British television journalist who worked as a senior political correspondent for ITN during the 1990s and 2000s, and later as a director of the Ruben and Elisabeth Rausing Trust. She is now the Director of the Ariadne Trust, a European peer-to-peer network of more than 400 funders and philanthropists who support social change and human rights. Ariadne helps them both using private resources for public good and achieve more together than they can alone by linking them to other funders and providing practical tools of support. Jo Andrews set up Ariadne in February 2009 with the aim of increasing the effectiveness of human rights funding in Europe and to encourage the new donors to support human rights.
She came and visited the ancient village Rondine in Tuscany where the association Rondine Cittadella della Pace has its headquarters and met with the students who were taking the lesson about social change and networking (of the foundations).
“Coming from countries with many problems and working on solutions of some of them, means that we would often hear that our effort is useless and that we should give up, so meeting someone like Jo is priceless – says Envera, the Bosnian student that attends a master in ‘Global government and culture diplomacy’ and she has very inspired by the lesson – what strike us most about her is the confidence that illuminates her being and is easily brushed on others. Other than that – she continues – we learned that it is possible to learn and adapt in a completely new area, only if you want and work (believe in it too) strong enough. And we also learned that straightforwardness is a valuable quality and needed skill. Other than these feelings and skills that we so easily realised when talking to Jo, was that there are still new ideas out there that can change the world and make it a bit better place to live. Generally speaking – she concludes – the meeting was wonderful and general positivity circled in Rondine for few days after the meeting which tells a lot”.
Even Patimat found the meeting very interesting. She comes from the Dagestan andalways wished to meet people with this passionin personal as much as in the professional life. “I was especially impressed – she tells us – to read before meeting about Jo Andrews and her association and what she is doing. Of course I know what I have read is a small piece of enormous contribution to humankind from her side to construct global sustainable society.
For me personally it was so important to have a chance to meet herand to have face to face dialogue between experienced professional as Jo and us, future leaders (even I do not like this cliché). I believe these young people such a strong wishto improve or change environment in their own countries after the Program and contribute to global society as well.
I believe that sharing of knowledge, experience, opportunities, skills and common ideas is so important on the way making a good difference in anyone’s life. And after the meeting and short dialogue with Jo, I believe in my idea even more.These type of meetings are not just for the inspiration and encouragement , but also to give us a much needed support and a push in the right direction and to show that our approach is commonly shared.
The way in which Jo communicated with us -in a very open and friendly way- is one of the things that touched me and I appreciated it very much.
Mary Joe comes from Middle East and in Italy she is studying ‘European and International Policies and Crisis Management’. She focused what she learned from her during the meeting and how Jo’s insight helped her start thinking from a different perspective, while at the same time being realistic.
“I am really honoured to have met Jo last March in Rondine– tells us Mary Joe – It is always refreshing and very inspirational to meet someone like her. She truly showed that each person, in their own way, and through their true self can do something beautiful. I admired her courage during her career and openness about her life, her blatant honesty and straightforwardness when it came down to our questions- no matter how provocative they were, and felt that I could actually be also as straightforward with my questions. I remember asking about the negative effect a kind of initiative can have, even though the intentions behind it are good. She did not try to make anything sound ‘nicer’ and did not sugar-coat anything she wanted to say- she just said things as they were. Being able to say things as they are, in itself, gives me hope. It showed me that making things clear is a huge part of the solution. I understand that this is what inspired others in Jo, which is why they convinced her to leave her globetrotter life and transfer to a less interesting place- the office, where, through her experiences of talking to people everywhere and getting to know their stories previously, she is able to make a change as well. I am very grateful and hope more people will get the chance to meet such an inspirational person”.