When one door closes another one opens, or so the saying goes. And so it is with SERES training center. While we sadly say goodbye to the SERES Embassy – which has been home to so many and has trained over 100 youth in the last two years – we turn our sights to SERES’ new Communiversity Center for Sustainable Leadership and Learning!
As you can imagine, it came as something of a shock to us all when we were told a few months ago that SERES needed to move out of our home. Our headquarters – also known as the SERES Embassy – is a living demonstration of sustainability in a peri-urban Guatemalan context that for many of SERES young leaders is a second home.
For more than 2 years now, the SERES Embassy has provided a demonstration and learning center around sustainable living, as well as a safe space that many of our youth leaders – and SERES staff and Fellows – call home. Built out of bamboo, with every nook and cranny a productive part of our little ecosystem, the SERES Embassy was a (successful) experiment in finding out how important having our own training center would be. As we think back over the many, many lessons learned – a true experiential learning experience – there are two main lessons that stand out to us as we look forward to what’s next:
- That demand was bigger than we estimated: we quickly outgrew capacity after just the first two trainings that we housed in the Embassy, and had to look outside for additional sleeping and training areas to supplement the space.
- That place is essential for transformation: we aren’t just talking about the physical transformation of the space itself – which has been significant indeed. We had originally imagined that the space would provide a real-life example to inspire people to live more sustainably, which it did. However, what has been the most touching and significant impact of the space was witnessing the physical and emotional transformations that occurred, just by allowing our youth to be in a safe and nurturing space where they could grow.
It has been hard coming to terms with the idea of leaving this wonderful, creative and innovative space that bit-by-bit we have built together. And yet, as the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens!
And that door opens onto a spectacular, 25-acre property that has been purchased for SERES to allow us to build the center of our dreams!
You may have already heard about SERES dreams to build a Communiversity – a sustainability leadership center and learning village for training the next generation of transformational leaders. Well, that dream is now one step closer to becoming a reality. Over the last few months, we have been finalising contracts and agreements, and the land is now ready for us to begin!
Over the next few months, the design team will be getting ready for Phase I of the design and build process (making sure that this time we build it big enough!). We are working with an amazing international team of designers and architects, all of whom are donating their time to this incredible project, and we are very excited. Our goal for Phase I is to get the property ready as quickly as possible so that we can have our youth there, building, transforming and once again creating a new home for transformation and learning.
We will also be turning to you – our community – to ask for your support in whatever way you can to make this possible.
This is such an exciting time, and we are grateful for all who have been and continue to be a part of this journey with us.
- If you’d like to learn more about the SERES Embassy, you can visit this page.
- If you’d like to see more photos of the SERES land, and learn more about the Communiversity, you can visit this page.