SOS – Strengths of Slovenia

16-17 August, 2013, Statenberg Manor, Slovenia

* SOS = Strengths of Slovenia
(or Spirit of Slovenia; or Soul of Slovenia; or Save our Slovenia … or anything else that fits a new possibility)

What is the DNA of a specific country, its people and statehood – the core that sustains us when crisis hits?

What can be learnt when we collectively inquire into the strengths & uniqueness of Slovenia that can be transferred to our own communities/societies, as well as help Slovenia in this time of crisis?

When foreigners come to Slovenia (population just 2 million!), they are often amazed at the quality of life as well as the enchanting landscape. they tell us: ‘You live in a paradise; you just don’t know it!’  We Slovenians, however, bond in real and virtual social spaces through lamenting the seriousness of our predicament: the economy is hopeless, politicians are not to be trusted, youth have no future. ‘There is no hope!’
This gathering is an experiment to bring these two perspectives together – having a look at the challenges we face, while seeing how our strengths and uniqueness might give us new perspectives and new answers. And we will give space to the great resource we have many more that tends to go overlooked: stories from past and present that evoke pride, hope, and wise action.

This is an invitation to turn the national downward spiral of despair on nation level to an upwards spiral of hope through:

  • connecting and inquiring appreciatively about what sustains us when things get tough
  • articulating what we want – rather than focusing on what’s wrong and what’s broken
  • shifting from ‘scarcity mindset’ to ‘possibility sphere’
  •  meeting others who care, and who can support us in restoring hope in the communities to which we belong

This gathering is intended to be a 1.5 day collaborative seed event to set in motion a series of conversations on the national level on the unacknowledged strengths and potentials of Slovenia. We are seeking to mobilise them to create a future that builds on the best in us and in our place. Stories, insights and ideas will be captured using various media, so that the larger story of empowering Slovenia can be continued in further events.

Our international hosting team has been working alongside initiatives like this in many other countries and comes together to support the most potent possible conversation.


Friday, 16 August, 2013

17.00 – 17.45 Registration and welcome (with local home-made goodies)

18.00 – 21.00  Collective Story Harvesting of inspiring change initiatives that woke up Slovenia

Saturday, 17 August, 2013

08.00 – 09.00 Registration

09.00 – 12.30 Collaborative inquiry into strengths and potentials of Slovenia

What is the DNA of Slovenian land and people?
What unique strengths, gifts and resources does Slovenia have for Europe and humanity?
If Slovenia ceased to exist, what would the world miss?

12.30 – 14.00 Light lunch & break

14.00 – 18.30 From words to actions

What dreams and hopes do people hold for Slovenia?
What is my unique gift that the community is hungry for?

Part of afternoon will be dedicated to collaborative help with projects/seeds/initiatives that participants bring (in a ProAction Café format).

18.30 – 19.30 Light dinner

19.30 – 21.30 Space open for connections and celebrations

You can join either for the entire time or part of it! Any contribution is welcome.


The gathering will apply the Art of Hosting practices and methods that build on collaborative wisdom and solutions, inspiration and fun:

  • Appreciative Inquiry
  • Collective Story Harvesting
  • World Café
  • ProAction Café

The event will be co-hosted by the local community of Statenberg, and an international group of collaborative process hosts: Marjeta Novak (Slovenia), Ria Baeck (Belgium), Mary Alice Arthur (New Zealand), Anna Hanschmidt (Germany), Robert Krzisnik (Slovenia), Natalija Vrhunc (Slovenia).

The event is part of the larger Learning Village gathering that takes place at Statenberg Manor between 15 and 25 August 2013.


Whoever feels called is invited – we need diverse stories, skills and dreams to hear the whole, inquire deeply, and generate innovative ideas.
We are hoping for a mixture of people living in the local area (Slovenia) as well as supporters from near and far, who together can empower Slovenia on acknowledging its greatness.

This, however, is not an event for spectators: everyone’s contribution is invited and needed!


Please fill in the registration form on the Learning Village website!
There you’ll find also information on venue (with arrival info) & other logistics.


Contact Marjeta Novak at, or call her at +386 40 620 427.