Living to Maximize Connection with Each Other and Earth in The Citizens’ Century

by Elizabeth “Libby” Traubman, B.A., M.S.W. & Lionel “Len” Traubman, D.D.S., M.S.D

Our 50 years of marriage has included three decades of helping diverse people — sometimes entrenched enemies — sit down face-to-face and finally connect in successful, authentic Dialogue.

This listening-to-learn often does magic, with courageous participants experiencing that “an enemy is one whose story we have not heard.”

As elders (we’re told), in this citizen-drive “public peace process” we’re learning and in awe of the power of Internet social media technology and distance-facilitated Dialogue to accomplish similar heart connections that humanize and equalize one another.

One example we experience is the ongoing global gathering by Zoom video technology facilitated by the New Andaluz Centre for Authentic Dialogue —

We two describe our motive to take part in these live video circles in the words of theologian and visionary Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955):

“Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being.”

 Teilhard also had words for what happens inside of us — and seemingly in others — who return to one another in this online connectivity:

“The day will come when,  after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”

So what do we recommend to another – young or old – to keep a fire one’s life worth living and giving?  It’s best described in the closing minutes of our 2017 commencement address at Notre Dame de Namur University here in California:

Now About Your Life

(Len)  2017 graduates, this next epoch of your adult life means less dependency and more initiating; taking less and more giving.  But giving what?  We’ve illustrated what you already know ­ what strengthens families and ends war: Everyone has a story that needs, even cries, to be listened to.  Unheard and disregarded, very good, loving women, men, and youth can become hopeless, desperate, even violent, even terrorists.  This is preventable and curable ­ by you ­ if today you can choose to become a great listener.  As the first one in the room to listen, you have the power to change the relationship. 

The Wisdom Keepers Have Had It Right

(Libby)  Days ago Pope Francis said in his surprise TED Talk that the only future worth building includes everyone.

Fifty years of marriage and meeting people have shown us that the indigenous traditions and most religions at their roots have had it right:  we are one ­ totally interconnected and interdependent with all people and with Earth herself.  There is no individual survival.

Abraham, Sarah, and the Hebrews had it right.  The creator is one and we the created are one ­ family forever.

The Prophets of Judaism had it right that we are meant to go up the mountain to become our best selves ­ together.

Jesus of Nazareth had it right, to love in every situation and to include everyone, excluding no one.

And Islam has it right.  The Persian poet, Hafiz-e Shirazi, reminds us that “fear is the cheapest room in the house.”  Do not be manipulated by fear or swayed from helping to create global community.

The Muslim Sufi Jalal ad-Din Rumi says:  “Out beyond right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field.  I’ll meet you there.”  He was inviting everyone.

The Invitation:  So now Len and I invite you to say “yes” to inevitable opportunities that will come to you. 

•Yes, to dedicate yourselves to bringing people together. 

•Yes, to moving into experience ­ creating safe places of listening that dignify everyone.

•Yes, to create your great, new Culture of Connection ­ no less than a Renaissance of Communication across America and around Earth. 

Class of 2017, I have this final question for you ­ your final pop-quiz. Can you do this?  Can you become the artisans of communication, the great listeners humankind is waiting for?  Can you?

Thank you.       Thank you for listening!

 Libby & Len Traubman live in San Mateo, California USA, and are co-founders of the 25-year-old Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue preparing for it 299th meeting and still learning and initiating together.

The video and full text of their commencement address is at

More about the deep roots of the Dialogue is at

They get e-mail at

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