In Quebec, Canada, the first residential Trustbuilding Training (TBT) took place from 6-8 of March, just before the COVID-19 crisis prohibited in-person meetings. The cohort was formed of 14 people from different backgrounds, origins and faith, with another 10 persons who showed interest in the training without being able to participate this time. Since lockdown on March 13, the team have organized several online complementary activities for the TBT group, as they prepare for the second part of the Trustbuilding Training.
The first training weekend
During the weekend of 6-8 March, a diverse group of 14 people came together to discuss and start the collaboration process of bridging Quebec’s identified divides: racial, colonial, as well as the disparity between French and English. Language is a sensitive topic in Quebec, where relations between French and English have always been marked by a rivalry, whose origins are of a historical nature. This was also reflected amongst the participants, some of whom were French speaking and some English speaking, but everyone in the cohort was mostly bilingual. As translation services are costly, the team translated some of the contents during the training to make sure everyone would comprehend the depths of the concepts presented. The bilingual aspect is always a challenge for the Canadian team, as translations in both languages are needed to have a deeper understanding of the topics discussed.
The group of participants consisted of people from very diverse background; Euro Québécois people, a recent Muslim Moroccan immigrant, an Innu woman, a pastor of a Seventh Day Adventist Church who is originally from Democratic Republic of Congo, a Muslim non-binary person of Turkmen origin who wears the veil, a Jewish Israeli woman, a black gay man, a woman of Vietnamese origin, a woman originally from Mexico, someone of Jewish and Polish descent and a Moroccan student of law who works in Indigenous rights for Amazigh peoples. Such diverse groups, composed of representatives of all sectors coming together, to create a wholeness that incorporates diversity is the most effective force for change. Failure to build a genuinely diverse network of trust weakens many worthy initiatives, so the team have been focused on inclusivity and diversity.