Here are the resources from my book LEAPFROG: How to hold a civil conversation in an uncivil era. Visit my BOOKS page for more information.
Do keep in mind that links notoriously come and go; often a search by title will yield what you seek.
Four sources used in putting my initial LEAPFROG acronym together:
- The National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona.
2. The Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at Cornell University.
3. Learning for Justice: A Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, more specifically their blog post, “Toward a More Civil Discourse,” April 2016. Formerly Teaching Tolerance. This is a 3 page printable article.
4. Holly Weeks. Failure to Communicate: How Conversations Go Wrong and What You Can Do to Right Them. Harvard Business Review Press, 2010.
Resources for Chapter 1: LISTENING
The Greater Good Science Center of Berkeley, CA offers a step-by-step summary of active listening from their webpage, Greater Good in Action’s Active Listening.
For an entertaining example of just how difficult simply listening can be, see the two-minute YouTube video, “It’s Not About the Nail.”
For those with little experience paraphrasing someone else’s words, there’s a comprehensive review of the important points to keep in mind. Written by Carter McNamara, it’s on managementhelp.org, a professional coaching site, and is entitled “How to Paraphrase and Summarize.”
For those in the UK, The Listening Project is a joint project between BBC Radio 4, local BBC stations, and the British Library that aims to “bring Britain together, one conversation at a time.”
Here in the US, there is another listening project that began following the 2016 election. Read more about them at TheListeningProjectBHM.org This is from their website: “Phil and Elizabeth sat at their kitchen table after the 2016 Presidential Election and thought, what happened? Their next thought was: why are we surprised? Followed by, we are surprised because we did not listen. We did not listen to the people around us… Some of these people are in our own family. Once we realized this, we thought what can we do? We can become better listeners! Maybe we can help other people do that, too! Thus, the listening project was born.” I wish I had checked them out earlier.
Otto Scharmer’s 4 Levels of Listening is available from a variety of sources. You might find it of interest. He is a senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and co-founder of the Presencing Institute. Here’s one of his videos from YouTube.
Resources for Chapter 2: EMPATHY
Wonder how empathetic you are? See the online 28-question “Empathy Quiz” from by The Greater Good Science Center of Berkeley, CA that pulls from three separate research studies on empathy.
Roman Krznaric is an Australian political sociologist who has traveled the world researching and lecturing on empathy. He sees “empathy pioneers” as a “new breed of adventurers.” His website offers an “Empathy Library” for stretching that empathy muscle and his TEDx Talk, “How to start an empathy revolution,” focuses on empathy as a force for social change, how it can create a revolution in human relationships, and how it is at the core of any social movement.
Duke University runs an Empathy Development Lab, researching the development of empathy in children.
The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy has a number of programs you might find worthwhile.
Paul Parkin’s TEDx video, “Reimagining Empathy: The Transformative Nature of Empathy,” tells us that when we cultivate empathy, we enlarge our capacity to receive empathy. Check it out.
And, for a slightly different take on empathy, see the post on my blog And So it Goes, “The Downside of Empathy,”where I talk about the need for balance and ask, “Can we empathize too much?”
Resources for Chapter 3: ASSESSMENT
Without the training I received at the Pennsylvania Gestalt Center, I could not have written this chapter. For more information on that training and the woman at the forefront of the center, please see my In Memoriam blog post on my website. You might also visit their website at www.gestaltcenter.com.
If you’ve not heard of Carl Sagan, you’re in for a treat with his book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (Ballantine Books, 1995). Before he died far too young, this engaging astronomer, cosmologist, and astrophysicist brought science down to earth. Dubbed “our era’s patron saint of reason and critical thinking” his “Fine Art of Baloney Detection” chapter is a classic; an engaging summary of it is found at Maria Popova’s TheMarginalian.org.
Otto Scharmer, senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and co-founder of the Presencing Institute, has many books, YouTube videos, and articles on Medium. I recommend them all.
Resources for Chapter 4: PERSPECTIVE
Once I came across the quote I opened this chapter with, I had to learn more of David W. Johnson. I was not disappointed. Check out “The Importance of Taking the Perspective of Others” in Psychology Today, June 5, 2019.
For an entertaining experience of perspective taking, find Jon Scieszka’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Alexander T. Wolf on YouTube. Yes, it’s the traditional story, but told from the perspective of the wolf.
The University of California at San Francisco has an excellent website from their Office of Diversity and Outreach that I found helpful in writing this chapter. I hope you’ll check it out.
Resources for Chapter 5: FACTS
John Cook and Stephen Lewendowski remind us how an effort to debunk misinformation can inadvertently reinforce the very myth one seeks to correct. In their The Debunking Handbook, 2012, they say, “To avoid these “backfire effects,” an effective debunking requires three major elements. This free pdf download is nine pages long and is available from Skeptical Science.com
Ijeoma Oluo’s bestseller, So You Want To Talk About Race, offers a number of scripts, suggestions, and background on the important topic of racism. Seal Press, 2018.
The classic text on cognitive dissonance is When Prophecy Fails by Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schacter (Simon & Schuster, 1959). I described this book and others in “Blame it on the Oxytocin” at janetgivens.com on August 3, 2016.
Resources for Chapter 6: RESPECT
The Fetzer Institute offers a wealth of information on a variety of topics. I highly recommend their Essays on Deepening the American Dream, written in 2001 andavailable at fetzer.org, specifically David M. Abshire’s “The Grace and Power of Civility: Commitment and Tolerance in the American Experience.”
Resources for Chapter 7: OBSERVATION
For some background on those belly breaths, see Christopher Bergland. “Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises and Your Vagus Nerve.” Psychology Today, May 16, 2017.
I was so pleased to see Rosie Greer’s “It’s Alright to Cry” song on the Free To Be, You and Me album referred to often as I researched this chapter. I had to hear it once again and found it here on YouTube.
Charlotte Kasl was one of the three psychotherapists with Buddhist leanings that I read in my runup to my Peace Corps years and mentioned in my memoir. Two of her books that helped me then and once again spoke to me in writing this chapter are A Home for the Heart: Creating Intimacy with Loved Ones, Neighbors, and Friends (Harper Collins, 1997) and If the Buddha Married: Creating Enduring Relationships on a Spiritual Path, Part Seven: Making Friends with Conflict (Penguin Books, 2001).
My training at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland (Ohio), particularly faculty members Ellen Hoffman and Heidi Abrams, gave me a solid introduction to the idea of seeing observations separately from the meaning we attach to them.
Resources for Chapter 8: GRATITUDE
Melanie Greenberg writes much on gratitude. For this chapter, I pulled a bit from her article “How Gratitude Leads to a Happier Life” inPsychology Today, November 2, 2015.
Jennifer Hofmann’s weekly Action List on her “Americans of Conscience Checklist” is available online at jenniferhofmann.com.
Hema Pokharna, PhD. “Living With The Power of Gratitude.” Audio presentation from NVCtraining.org (available to subscribers only).
Want more? Good for you.
AllSides.com offers media reports on a range of current topics, but always choosing three sources, “Left, Center, and Right.” It’s been somewhat fascinating to me to widen my reading, though I will admit I often find their categorization scheme challenging my biases.
BraverAngels.org is “a bipartisan network of leaders and organizations whose vision is to reunite America. Our method is to improve our society’s approaches to conflict. We seek an America with less uninformed animosity between left and right, less separation of upscale America from the rest of America, and fewer good reasons for the governed to hold the governing in contempt. To work for these changes, we bring people together from across the divides to rethink currently polarized issues, show why reducing polarization is an urgent priority, conduct citizen education and leadership training, and recommend policy reforms that will permit progress and compromise to be substituted for impasse and frustration.
Originally called Better Angels, their mission remains the same: “a citizens’ organization uniting red and blue Americans in a working alliance to depolarize America. We try to understand the other side’s point of view, even if we don’t agree with it. We engage those we disagree with, looking for common ground and ways to work together. We support principles that bring us together rather than divide us.
They took their name originally from Abraham Lincoln, who, in 1861, said: We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory … will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
ConversationCafe.org From their website: “Conversation Cafés are open, hosted conversations in cafés as well as conferences and classrooms—anywhere people gather to make sense of our world. At a Conversation Café there is nothing to join, no homework, no agenda, just a simple process that helps to shift us from small talk to BIG talk, conversations that matter.”
CNVC.org is the website for the Center for Non-Violent Communication, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing Nonviolent Communication (NVC) around the world. From their website: “NVC is about connecting with ourselves and others from the heart. It’s about seeing the humanity in all of us. It’s about recognizing our commonalities and differences and finding ways to make life wonderful for all of us.” Their focus on honesty and empathy fits in nicely with the principles here with LEAPFROG. Their call to “connect before correct” and their emphasis on honesty and empathy wove their way into my third edition.
Greater Good in Action’s Active Listeningwebsite is based at the University of California at Berkeley. The site offers a step-by-step summary of active listening and a quiz to assess your level of empathy. For a variety of quizzes from them, see this page.
HiFromtheOtherSide.com will match you with someone “from the other side.” Here’s how they introduce themselves on their website: Since the election, many of us talked about getting out of our echo chambers to talk to someone who supported another candidate. Not to convince, but to understand. … Once we find a match, we’ll shoot you two an email introducing you for a one-on-one conversation.
Krista Tippett, OnBeing.org: Krista offers a “Living the Questions” series and, in 2018, offered one on What does civility actually mean and is it enough?
ListenFirstProject.org “mends our frayed social fabric by building relationships and bridging divides. We combat the universally felt crisis of distance, division, and dehumanization across differences with conversations that prioritize understanding. To maximize impact, we catalyze the #ListenFirst movement powered by 300 partner organizations, thousands of individuals, National Conversation Project, businesses, schools, cultural influencers, and local chapters around the world.”
LivingRoomConversations.org is “a recognized leader in the bridge-building movement with expertise in crafting effective and accessible tools for dialogue. Since 2010, we have been working to heal society by connecting people across the divides – politics, age, gender, race, nationality, and more – through guided conversations proven to build understanding and transform communities.
We offer a range of resources to help individuals and communities engage in conversations. Our core offering is our library of conversation guides on over 150 topics that are timely and responsive to local needs. These are regularly used by communities of practice across the country.”
MakeAmericaDinnerAgain.com partners with Living Room Conversations offering conversation guides on politics, race, COVID-19, and others. For four years beginning in 2016, they hosted nationwide, small group conversations bridging the divide. Now online or across your dinner table. They also run an active Facebook Group.
MoreInCommon.com is an international initiative, set up in 2017 to build communities and societies that are stronger, more united and more resilient to the increasing threats of polarization and social division.
NationalCivicLeague.org was founded in 1894 to advance civic engagement to create equitable, thriving communities.
NIOT.org is the website for Not In Our Town, “a movement to stop hate, racism and bullying, and build safe, inclusive communities for all.”
RC.org is the website for Re-evaluation Counseling, a movement in interpersonal relationships that’s been growing since 1950. From their website: Re-evaluation Counseling is a process for freeing humans and society as a whole from distress patterns so that we may resume fully intelligent functioning. Re-evaluation Counseling is practiced in pairs, by people listening to each other and assisting each other to release painful emotions.
WhatIsEssential.org is the website for Essential Partners. “Build a community strengthened by differences, connected by trust.” Founded in 1989, EP works with communities, businesses, schools, colleges, civic groups, and faith institutions across the globe to equip people “live and work better together in community by building trust and understanding across differences … by navigating the values, beliefs, and identities that are essential to them.”
Additional Books that support the LEAPFROG acronym:
Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald. Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. Bantam, 2016.
Susan Clark and Woden Teachout. SlowDemocracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012. Includes an extensive resource list of additional supportive organizations including the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD.org).
Antonio Damasio. Self Comes to Mind: Creating the Conscious Brain. Vintage Press, 2010
Victor Frankl. Man’s Search for Meaning. Beacon Press, 1946.
Jonathan Haidt writes about the different values of liberals and conservatives in the Psychology Today blog. See also The Righteous Mind (2012), The Coddling of the American Mind (2018), and Why Do They Vote (2018).
Steven Hawkins et al. Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Political Landscape. 2018. Available online at hiddentribes.us.
Celeste Headley. We Need To Talk: How to have Conversations that Matter. Harper-Wave, 2017
Jay Heinrichs. Thank you for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion. 3rd. Edition. Three Rivers Press, 2017.
George Lakoff. Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. University of Chicago Press, 2002.
Jon Meacham. The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels. Random House, 2018.
Frances Moore Lappé. You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear. TarcherPerigree, 2005.
Lillianna Mason. Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity. University of Chicago Press, 2018.
Parker Palmer. Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit. Jossey-Bass, 2011.
Steve Pinker. Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. Viking Penguin Random House, 2018.
Timothy Shaffer et al. A Crisis of Civility?: Political Discourse and Its Discontents. Routledge, 2019.
John Welwood. Toward a Psychology of Awakening. University of Chicago Press, 2000
Resources for the Academically Inclined
Brockler, Hermann, Trautwern, Holmes, and Singer. “Know Thy Selves: Learning to Understand Oneself Increases the Ability to Understand Others.” Journal of Cognitive Enhancement 1(2): 197-209, 2017.
Bruneau, Emile G. & Rebecca Saxe. “The Power of Being Heard: The benefits of perspective-giving in the context of intergroup conflict.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48(4): 855-866, 2012.
Corcoran, Kevin. “Happiness on the Brain: The Neuroscience of Happiness, Part 1” Center for Christian Thought, 2015. Available at cct.biola.edu.
Dillon, Robin S. “Respect.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2018. Available online at plato.stanford.edu.
Emmons, Robert and Michael McCullough. “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84(2):377-389, 2003.
Gal, David and Derek Rucker. “When in Doubt, Shout! Paradoxical Influences of Doubt on Proselytizing.” Psychological Science 21(11): 1701-1707, 2010. Available online at journals.sagepub.com.
Johnson, David W. “Cooperativeness and Social Perspective Taking.”Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 31(2): 241-244, 1975.
Keohane, Joe. “How Facts Backfire. Researchers discover a surprising threat to democracy: our brains.” The Boston Globe, July 11, 2010.
Kuklinski, James. “Misinformation and the Currency of Democratic Citizenship”. Journal of Politics 62(3): 790-816, 2000.
Max Plank Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. “Empathy and perspective-taking: How social skills are built.” Science Daily, November 20, 2020.
Nyhan, Brendan and Jason Reifler. “When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions.” Political Behavior 32(2): 303-330, 2010.
Redlawsk, David. “Hot Cognition or Cool Consideration? Testing the Effects of Motivated Reasoning on Political Decision Making.” The Journal of Politics, 64(4): 1021-1044, 2003. Available at onlinelibrary.wiley.com.
Reifler, Jason and Brendan Nyhan. “Opening the Political Mind? The effects of self-affirmation and graphical information on factual misperceptions.” Available at brendon-nyhan.com/blog.
Tjosvold, Dean & David W. Johnson. “Effects of Controversy on Cognitive Perspective Taking.” Journal of Educational Psychology 69(6): 679-685, 1977.
Wang, Y. A. & Andrew R. Todd. “Evaluation of Empathizers Depend on Target of Empathy.” Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, Science Daily,October 27, 2020.
I went in as a grandmother and came home realizing that age is an artificial barrier to friendship. My fellow teachers—each younger than either of my two sons—had become my closest friends.
I ate boiled meat and noodles with my fingers and loved it. I learned to squat over a never-quite-large-enough hole in the floor. And I learned how to make “herring under fur.”
On a higher plane, I began to understand anew the values I hold dear. Visiting different cultures, particularly living among and working beside the local people, can be life-changing.
I speak to these things and more on my Facebook Author Page.
For additional information see David A Gershaw, Person Perception: East vs. West.
Here’s a fascinating article on How Diversity Makes Us Smarter from Scientific American.
Friendship is a recurring theme in my memoir, At Home on the Kazakh Steppe. The friends I made there helped me feel a part of a community, they brought laughter back into my life, and they taught me much.
Here are some questions on friendship that still intrigue me after thirty years.
How important is similarity in friendship?
Does this sentence from researchers Michael Doyle and Mark Smith, that “Our friends are those who are most like ourselves” resonate with you? (Friendship. The encyclopaedia of informal education. 2002. Retrieved September 12, 2010, from http://www. infed.org/biblio/friendship.htm).
How important is it that your friends agree with you? That you share the same values? Like the same food? Watch the same movies? Read the same books? How many of your friends are NOT of your age, your gender, your culture, or do not share the same political affiliation or religion?
Do you share similar views on the hot topics of today? If you discovered a life-long friend differed from you on gun control (vs. Second Ammendment Rights), freedom of choice (vs. pro-Life), or single-payer health care (vs. No socialized medicine), how would it affect your relationship? Notice how the words used to describe each stand differ depending upon one’s position.
Another way to look at the salience of similarity is to look at how much attention these differences between friends are actually given. Does a particular difference (cultural, political, physical, etc.) fade into the background as friendship progresses?
Do you define your friendships by how much time you spend together?
Is your best friend one whom you may not see very often, but when you do, you pick right up where you left off, as though no time at all has transpired because you share a special bond? Or is your best friend someone you see regularly, knowing your life just wouldn’t be the same without her (or him)?
Another aspect of time in relation to friendship is in the amount of time that can elapse with the friendship out of balance. There are some relationships that wouldn’t survive if it felt unequal; and there are those that can survive an extended period of inequity and remain vibrant.
Do your friendships vary across age, gender, or culture?
Can men and women be “just” friends? Can a young person really be friends with one of those of “more mature” years? Can two people from diametrically different cultures be true friends? How about two friends with widely divergent IQs?
Can you have too many best friends?
How many is too many? Someone once wrote that one should not have more than three best friends. “You can’t go to the wall for more than three at a time,” she wrote. I wish I could remember who she was.
Do we choose our friends; do they choose us? Or is it a matter of chemistry, a common history, or a shared task? What binds you to your friends? What keeps you together?
Is maintenance of the friendship equal? Who does more initiating of contact? What is the role of favors in a friendship? How long a period can there be with the relationship out of balance? (Favors returned) Is there negotiation involved?
These are only some of the myriad questions I’ve asked over the years. I find the exploration of them fascinating. And I’m interested in your views on any of them too.
Here is a list of songs about friendship:
- Stand By Me, Ben E King
- He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother, The Hollies
- I’ll Stand By You, The Pretenders
- My One True Friend, Better Midler
- Thank You for Being A friend, Andrew Gold
- With A Little Help from my Friends, The Beatles
- Whenever I call you Friend, Kenny Loggins
- You Got a Friend, James Taylor
- You’ve Got a Friend, Carole King
- That’s What Friends Are For, Dionne Warwick et al
Please feel free to write me with additions to this list.
Here is a list of movies about friendship:
I’ve pulled from
to add to my own list.
- A Little Princess
- American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973)
- Au revoir les enfants
- The Big Chill
- Boys on the Side
- The Big Chill (Lawrence Kasdan, 1983)
- The Boy in Striped Pajamas
- Boyz n the Hood (John Singleton, 1991)
- The Bridge to Terabithia
- Circle of Friends
- The Color Purple
- The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino, 1978)
- Dil Chahta Hai
- Diner (Barry Levinson, 1982)
- Enchanted April
- Entre Nous
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
- The First Wives Club
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Ghost World
- Good Will Hunting (Gus Van Sant, 1997)
- Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood, 2008)
- Grumpy Old Men (Donald Petrie, 1993)
- How To Make an American Quilt
- Ice Age
- Keeping the Faith (Edward Norton, 2000)
- Liberty Heights (Barry Levinson, 1999)
- The Lion King
- Lord of the Rings
- Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger, 1969)
- Midnight Run
- Miss You Already
- Motorcycle Diaries
- My Best Friend’s Wedding
- My Girl
- Now and Then
- Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone, 1984)
- Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion
- The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994)
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
- Soldaat Van Oranje (Paul Verhoeven, 1977)
- Stand by Me (Rob Reiner, 1986)
- Steel Magnolias
- Stuff and Dough (Cristi Puiu, 2001)
- The Sweetest Thing
- Thelma and Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991)
- The Ya Ya Sisterhood
Again, feel free to write me with additions.
And here are a few books and other readings on friendship:
- Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
- Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
- Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg
- The Friendship by Mildred D. Taylor
- Sula by Toni Morrison
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- Finding True Friends Later In Life by Nancy A Shenkar (a blog post)
Please feel free to add to the list
What is Gestalt? I’m asked this so often, I thought I’d take a stab.
Gestalt psychology (Gestalt theory) came out of research on perception in the early 1920s.
The theory holds that in our quest for explanation, humans make a “whole” from the individual parts we experience. We fill in the blanks, literally, using information from previous experiences, assumptions, and even wishful thinking. The trick is to know we are doing it at the time.
Gestalt theorists use terms like figure and ground; introjection, confluence, retroflection, deflection, proflection, egotism, projection, and polarities. Gestalt psychotherapists try not to.
Gestalt psychotherapy pulls from this research and uses exploration, experiment, and experience in our work.
We EXPERIMENT with a let’s “try” this and see if it fits approach.
There is no right and wrong, only useful and not so. Each experiment gives us information, adds to our growing body of awareness.
These experiments may include
An empty chair, monodramas, a dialogue with another part of you (we’ll talk about polarities later), Left-hand right-hand journaling, Identifying and pushing the edges of your comfort zone
We talk TO rather than ABOUT
We welcome resistance and work with each one as an opportunity to learn
We are more interested in questions than in answers
We EXPERIENCE opportunities to heal.
Just as experience was fundamental to our injury, trauma, or trouble, so too do we heal through different experiences that may include awareness exercises, dream work, self-support (integration of parts), contact, and the paradoxical theory of change. These experiences originate in our body through breath work, mindfulness exercises, our five senses, and movement. This is how we stay in the here and now, even as we examine past events.
We use the Cycle of Experience. This model has five stages: Sensation, Awareness, Contact, Reception, and Retreat (an openness to a new sensation).
GESTALT PSYCHOTHERAPY believes in homeostasis: the individual body’s ability to know what it needs.
GESTALT PSYCHOTHERAPY is humanistic. It focuses on the individual’s unique nature, rather than as a set of symptoms that place you in a category.
GESTALT PSYCHOTHERAPY is holistic. It seeks balance among the various systems of the individual –- physical, intellectual, emotional, social, environmental, and spiritual (mind, body, and soul) -– and sees each part as affecting each of the others. Hence the catch phrase, “The whole is greater than the parts.”
In our work together, we’ll slow down and explore what’s important to you today.
An Ever-Growing List of Readable Gestalt Books
You’ve stumbled upon my current work in progress. Please come back soon to “learn more”.
To learn more about this fascinating country, its history, its politics, its culture, and the people who live there visit any of these useful resources:
Sources from within Kazakhstan
The Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Information about the consulate, diplomats and country including its history and geography, people and culture, education, business and government.
The Astana Times
The newspaper from Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana
The Tengri News (in English)
This is the link to the Tengrinews.kz English language news website in Kazakhstan. It covers the latest news and events in Kazakhstan and in the world.
Sources from outside Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan’s City of Gold
An October 2013 article by Sheila Fitzpatrick in The Monthly, a monthly periodical out of Australia
Wikipedia Entry on Kazakhstan
Entymology, History, Politics, Government, Geography, and more.
CIA World Fact Book
Lists population, government, military, and economic information for nations recognized by the United States.
THIS IS AMERICA Visits Kazakhstan
THIS IS AMERICA is a weekly public affairs television series hosted by Dennis Wholey. While on location in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Dennis Wholey speaks with U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Kenneth J. Fairfax and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yerzhan Kazykhanov to learn about the unique past and bright future of the young country in Central Asia.
This series includes Shows 1505, 1506, and 1507. Each is about 25 minutes.
RADIO FREE EUROPE/Radio Liberty
RADIO FREE EUROPE/Radio Liberty offers regular postings on Central Asia in general and Kazakhstan in particular.
Ways to Travel
A Few Great Starting Places
AIR BNB EXPLORE THE WORLD
Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet.
Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.
BROADS ABROAD A Travel Network by Women, for Women
Broads Abroad is a female-only online membership-based social network listing opportunities for members to stay free of charge with like-minded women around the world. Imagine being based for three days (recommended stay) at the home of a fellow member who can tell you about the best local haunts, and will provide you with a room, knowing that in your turn you will welcome a member into your own home. Broads Abroad is for independent female travellers who want a new and authentic travel experience.
COUCHSURFING STAY WITH LOCALS AND MAKE TRAVEL FRIENDS
We envision a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection. Couchsurfers share their lives with the people they encounter, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect.
Cross-Cultural Solutions is a nonprofit working to address critical global issues by providing meaningful and sustainable volunteer services to international communities, and contributing responsibly to local economies.
It’s time for a new way to travel – a volunteer vacation. Recharge your spirit by discovering a country through its people — immerse yourself in a culture different from your own while you volunteer your time, engage in hands-on cultural workshops, and connect with fascinating people.
Experience a country in a way that other tours can’t provide. You’ll see the sights, but also dive beneath the surface to truly understand life in a new land – and return home inspired.
The Discover Corps experience explores local people, indigenous culture, historical artifacts, and regional food. Journey to our featured countries and embark on roads less traveled — the ultimate adventure awaits you.
Global Volunteers is a private, non-profit tax-exempt organization working at the invitation and under the direction of local leaders to deliver services in hunger, health, and IQ to partner communities worldwide. From the beginning, Global Volunteers challenged traditional development models by honoring local problem solving and engaging “average” volunteers in direct community service.
At “the intersection of you and your world,” since 1968, Interexchange is committed to helping to build cultural understanding and global skills—one person at a time, one experience at a time.
OVER 50 AND OVERSEAS
For the Over 50 set, check out if you’re interested in paid and volunteer work abroad, living abroad, study abroad and cultural travel overseas.
Road Scholar educational adventures are created by Elderhostel, the not-for-profit world leader in lifelong learning since 1975.
Vaughan Town – where English natives and Spanish professionals lock horns in a fun language-learning experience. Their programs run from Sunday to Friday.
Participants from all over the world exchange conversation with Spaniards and in return for their time and their input, have their full board and lodging covered by the program. The Spaniards, meanwhile, get to improve their fluency in the quickest, most intensive manner possible on earth. Both groups prosper, exchanging culture, conversation, knowledge and friendship during a very special week.
VOLUNTEERS FOR PEACE (VPF)
Volunteers for Peace offers placement in international volunteer projects in more than 100 countries around the world including the USA.
VPF is for older volunteers too!
While the history of international voluntary service has been focused on opportunities for younger volunteers, there has been a recent shift towards multi-generational projects, available to people of all ages. There is a desire among older volunteers to travel with purpose, serving and engaging with communities around the world. Complementing this is a great need among many communities in developing countries for more experienced volunteers. Older volunteers add important diversity to projects, bringing with them years of professional and personal life experience, and greatly enriching the experiences of other volunteers and communities they serve.
THE PEACE CORPS
THE PEACE CORPS—the hardest job you’ll ever love.
Here are a few vintage video recordings on or from the Peace Corps and the Peace Corps current PR video: Life is Calling, How Far Will You Go?
Here’s the latest PC video, with a great song, Peace by O. A. R.
Here’s a link to other YouTube videos on the Peace Corps.