Speaker: Ulrike Reinhard

Skateboard Parks and the Power of Relationship

Ulrike Reinhard is a German publisher, author, futurist, and a catalyst for global development efforts.  As the woman behind the Barefoot Skateboarders of Janwar, a skateboard park in rural India that is upending notions of caste and gender barriers and empowering a community economically, she is re-defining the principles of traditional development aid while living in Madhya Pradesh, India.  She knows a thing or two about such efforts, as she set up a project in 2008 called WEbenin, aiming to help people in one of the poorest countries in West Africa to empower themselves, and avoiding the paradigm of rich NGOs giving goods to poor aid recipients.

Ulrike previously was based in the Bay Area and was part of The Well (one of the earliest online communities).  Drawn to the notion of decentralized and distributed power via networked relationships long before the Internet, she intuitively connects people across sectors, disciplines and continents.  She has traveled to more than 100 countries interviewing Nobel Laureates, politicians, visionary thinkers, entrepreneurs, critics, activists and field practitioners -- and has published these interviews on her youtube channel.  These conversations are also the core of many of the we-magazines that she co-founded in 2007 and that look at the impact the Internet on a specific ecosystem.

As she describes her work:  "I kickstart co-creation processes in companies and rural villages which truly drive change long-term. Through these processes flat network structured peer-to-peer groups come together and collaborate on a specific task or project and then separate again – they are the most agile and powerful teams ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century working and living environment. I constantly push my client’s boundaries and initiate cultural change. Being disruptive is my job."

Ulrike is currently writing a book about the Transformative Power of WE . Here's an excerpt about her (more info on her site):

"Ulrike is a catalyst for collective intelligence and a network enabler who forges direct links that connect people. She’s a virtuoso across the whole repertoire of modern communication technologies who would still be adding more reality to the WE in this world if she had to use smoke signals and pigeon post to do so. Ulrike is an impassioned maverick with an astonishing faith in her ability to find her way even in new and uncharted territory. She seldom follows a steady straight line but always shows an unflappable sense of direction. Like the path she’s carved through life, Ulrike is never boring and always good for a surprise!”

Join us in conversation with this dynamic and visionary do-er!

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