Here is information on the premises on which the Conversare enterprise is based, together with an indication of the skills and passions of the founder, Alan Stewart, PhD.

Who notes:

My passion is holding space for conversations that have heart and meaning – as  these can change the world. My skill is to bring people together to converse about questions that matter to them. In groups of any size.

By conversing I mean to engage with each other in a spirit of ‘We are in this together and here to treat each other well.’ For this is at the root of enjoyable, enriching, enlivening and energising experiencing.

On this simple and profound premise: Each and every moment  is sacred as we live it once, and only once.  When we meet, we talk, we listen, and when we leave, it is over. And it will never happen again.

The Conversare experiment is one variation of how this happens. It is about having deeply engaging and deeply satisfying social events in public places.

In this particular kind of hosted event there is nothing to be done by participants except to interact with each other in a spirit of curiosity and non judgment. The purpose is to experience closeness with strangers and to have fun together – and then to live with that knowing.

It arises from my sense of widespread yearning to experience wholesome connectivity in the midst of urbanised, technologically driven and fragmented ways of living. And from my knowing how to co-create with participants contexts in which good connecting happens.

The early ‘trial testing’ of Conversare took place in Hong Kong, where my wife Carmen and I lived happily from early 2005 to mid 2011.

This proved for us to be a place of wonderful friendships and opportunity to develop ideas and put them into practice. Well named as Asia’s World City, it is hub of lively spirits and of vital activity and innovation in which we were privileged and delighted to contribute.

We were previously in Adelaide in South Australia and have now returned to live here. Which in turn is proving to be a place of great vitality and opportunity.

Some credentials of the founder

I have a PhD in biological sciences from London University in the UK, have been a Senior Fulbright Scholar at Stanford University in California and a consultant on a project funded by the World Bank in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

I took an early retirement in 1994 from a senior lecturer position in a medical school to develop a career as a facilitator of conversational processes.  In these participants are invited to contribute what they feel passionately about and are prepared to take responsibility for.

Two of these processes are Open Space Technology and the World Café . I have had much experience with these, am a longstanding member of the Open Space Institute of Australia and have been named a World Café Pioneer.

I am also a facilitator of the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium of the Pachamama Alliance.

I have written several books. The most recent and most relevant here is now the much admired:

Time to converse – at the heart of human warmth 

This is essentially an elaboration of the idea that ‘whenever we treat each other well good things happen.’

A bit of personal history

I hail originally from southern Africa, mainly in what is now Zimbabwe.  My forebear Stewarts were 1820 settlers in the Eastern Cape.

It ‘happens’ that I have had the wonderful privilege of travelling widely around our little planet, 3rd from the sun. This started in 1967 when I spent five months on the move mainly in Asia, the USA and the UK. Since then I have been back to these regions many times to conferences and as a consultant.

In the course of this journeying I have encountered many remarkable people among whom I would call great friends and mentors. People whose ideas and ways of being I have found most inspiring.

Here is a nice story of one such meeting. This was with Pete Seeger, the much admired and much respected folk singer who was also a longstanding social and environmental activist.

I am now drawing on all this background and gifts to introduce the new kind of facilitation called Conversare. This is one way in which I give back – pay it forward – to our global community.