Summit at Sea
November 9-12, 2016

Six Degrees of Separation


The “other”: It’s the most convenient mechanism for enforcing separatism and inequality. It’s the insidious force underlying institutional racism, the growing economic divide, and so many “unsolvable” problems. It doesn’t have to be this way. Abundance and connectedness are not only possible, they are already in our hands if only we could reframe our understanding of value.

In Six Degrees of Separation, speakers ranging from displaced refugees to world-renowned economists will unpack the social and economic patterns that got us to where we are, present new approaches to value, and point to ideologies and technologies that can facilitate more inclusive policies and practices for humans around the world. Come prepared to walk in the shoes of your neighbor, to study how your own deep-seated relationship to money impacts those around you, and, ultimately, to face the “other” in you.

Snapshots of Select Six Degrees of Separation Sessions



America’s Least Wanted: Muslim Comedians and the Power of Laughter

The Cold War changed stand-up comedy. While the world slowly recovered from WWII, political fears in America grew to a fevered pitch. Then something funny happened: stand-up evolved from joke telling to truth telling. Jewish and black comedians showed that comedy could cut through public perception and expose the absurdity around fear directed at America's marginalized and misunderstood. This year, during an election cycle defined in part by Islamophobia, Muslim American comics Azhar Usman, Mo Amer, and Ramy Youssef used the power of laughter to expose some of America’s fears and hypocrisies. Join them for comedic sets and a conversation about Islam in America hosted by Hijabi Monologues co-founder Sahar Ullah.

Theater of Oppression: A Technique Workshop on Transforming Reality with Black Lives Matter Co-founder Patrisse Cullors and Umi Selah

The Theatre of the Oppressed originated as a set of techniques that Brazilian director Augusto Boal pioneered in the 1960s. Influenced by the work of educator and theorist Paulo Freire, Boal's approach uses theater as a means of promoting social and political change. The audience members become the actors, actively exploring, demonstrating, analyzing, and transforming the reality in which they are living. In this workshop, artist and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors and Umi Selah, co-founder of Miami-based justice organization the Dream Defenders, will lead participants through Theatre of the Oppressed activities to help them better recognize structural racism and learn to break thought patterns that perpetuate oppression. Games and conversations will be fun and fast-paced and will revolve around issues of allyship, intentionality and impact, and systems analysis on levels of racism.


Understanding Value in the Sharing Economy

With the rise of companies like Uber and Airbnb, the sharing economy has rapidly become significant part of the global marketplace. As new platforms and technologies emerge, it’s only getting bigger. But peer-to-peer exchanges of goods and services is hardly a new concept. The roots of today’s sharing economy go back some five decades to a practice called timebanking developed by President John F. Kennedy’s former counsel and speechwriter, Edgar Cahn, who wanted to encourage the kinds of giving and receiving that build and support families, neighborhoods, and communities. Today, timebanks have been established in 34 countries around the world. Cahn also co-authored an influential article in the Yale Law Review, "The War on Poverty: a Civilian Perspective," which formed the basis for the establishment of the Legal Services Corporation by the United States Congress. In this discussion, Cahn and his wife, Christine Gray, the former CEO of TimeBanks USA, will explore the past, present, and future of the sharing economy, as well as visioning real, sustainable possibilities for a new economy and a new currency where there are, as he says "no more throw away people."

Clemantine Wamariya.jpeg

Path of a Refugee: Personal Stories from a Global Crisis

We’ve seen the images: capsized boats on the Mediterranean; a toddler’s body washed up on Turkish shores; standoffs at European borders. But there’s so much we haven’t seen and so many personal stories we haven’t heard. To provide personal context, two leaders within the Summit community will share their experiences growing up as refugees and their journeys to—and through—America. Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when she and her older sister were forced to flee the Rwandan genocide, weaving through refugee camps in eight African nations and finally to the United States, where her life took a surreal turn on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Mo Amer, a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian who fled to Houston with his family during the first Gulf War, is now a stand-up comedian who regularly opens for Dave Chappelle and was the first Arab American refugee comic to perform for U.S. and coalition troops. Syrian American journalist Maytha Alhassen will moderate the conversation and offer her own perspective, which is informed by her work with refugee youth in Turkey and Greece.


Art for Freedom: A Conversation with Artist Hank Willis Thomas

Art and politics have always been uneasy bedfellows; both fields have considerable sway over culture and the formation of individual beliefs. Politicians and political movements continually manipulate art to influence and mobilize, tapping into cultural forms to move hearts and minds. The first artist-run SuperPAC, For Freedoms, reverses this by using art to directly influence modern politics through advertisements, banners, and other media forms. In this discussion, Hank Willis Thomas will talk about political artwork he created in collaboration with Summit that was displayed on a mobile billboard throughout Miami in the lead-up to the Nov. 8 general election.


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