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Editor's note: This article belongs to our Impact Stories series in which scholars, activists, artists, policymakers, and everyday people share their experiences putting OBI's research and principles into action in their communities.


The global pause allowed me to lean into OBI Director john a. powell's talks virtually and I found myself nodding and smiling throughout interviews and panel discussions. I originally found john through library-land (through my previous community collaboration and engagement position pre-Covid). I was fortunate to catch various interviews with john online where he spoke as a guest or added his insights as he did in the featured interview for Race: The Power of an Illusion, a film series that my colleagues and I used to host community screenings and discussions over the last several years in Chicagoland. I also accessed talks and an online 2021 summit provided by OBI learning that you generously shared with us during the pandemic.

Danielle Henson headshot
Danielle Henson

As a Spiritual Director, collaborator and a pro bono Facilitator for International Cities of Peace (ICP), I am using my listening skills to hear beyond what is said, and supporting a virtual sense of belonging in private sessions and for global community-building. It is important in Spiritual Direction to be present and informed to create a sense of comfort and belonging, OBI helps me build the skills to sit with anyone, and know when my style is not the most effective for an individual's unique journey. As a volunteer, I support requests (or unspoken needs) that will help us develop free peacebuilding resources with a list of tools that will empower communities around the world.

Othering & Belonging research has added to my overall understanding as I listen-in to a group of leaders who have varied barriers and challenges, as well as their unique abundance of community talents and resources. Many are in need of resources that will empower peace for their specific communities and evolve their peacebuilding leadership skills. As we continue to listen closely and curate content, we strive to create and facilitate spaces and resources that are appropriate, wide, and freely accessible. OBI is on my list of resources to reference and share with all of my professional and volunteer networks.

I feel that ICP, like OBI, is welcoming, encouraging and supportive without "teaching only one way" which is very important. Listening to needs, and finding ways to capture learning, inspiring one another with ideas and successes, and accessing support that people find relevant to our 369+ cities who are meeting many challenges is critical. Rethinking areas of belonging and barriers to peace is an important global goal for us all.

Danielle Henson is a trained listener and community collaborator engaged in projects that weave resources into the resiliency fabric of communities, organizations and individual lives.