Creating The Landmark Forum in Dubai (Part 2 of 2)

December 2, 2019

This article is Part Two of our story on what it took to create The Landmark Forum in Dubai. To begin at the beginning, including learning more about Asim and Pam and the city of Dubai itself, read Creating The Landmark Forum in Dubai (Part 1 of 2).

Leadership in London

“It felt like we were the ragtag baseball team that didn’t know what we were doing and some wise and caring soul comes in and says ‘I’ll help you.’ For us, it was the London Center manager coming in and saying he would be our source person.”

Per Holmgren (first row, third from the left) and Burcu Holmgren (first row, fifth from the left) pose with graduates at the Monday evening completion session.

Per Holmgren is the London Center Manager, and together with his wife, Burcu Holmgren, Per was a major component of the successful realization of the possibility for Dubai. Burcu is the Landmark Forum Leader who lead for Dubai; she also leads for Turkey and other regions. About the duo, Pam says:

“Burcu and Per were very generous and very committed, and they stood for us and our possibility even when we were sitting down. So Asim and Per created a powerful partnership to make this happen. Per put the corporate resources behind us and gambled on us…They were extraordinarily generous and also bold in their vision. Burcu’s stand is that there is peace in the Middle East–not like a cliché, but as an actual, real, palpable experience. And she is causing that in Turkey. She is the source of tremendous growth in that which now has The Landmark Forum several times per year. So for her to be the leading force to bring the work farther east and south to Dubai was also a huge breakthrough. It’s an important and critical element of our story, because she is really fulfilling on her commitment that there be peace in the Middle East.”

Being and believing and beating the odds
A display of flag cards representing the many countries of the assisting body of the Dubai Landmark Forum.

Asim and Pam didn’t have the normal training for putting together a Landmark Forum on the ground. They and many other amazing graduate volunteers were trained on the go to make this Forum possible. And even though they stumbled and had regular breakdowns in integrity, they kept going. “It was really just such a remarkable experience,” Pam says. “We kept having to be with what’s so, keep creating, keep putting ourselves in the world of performance and give up make wrong all of the time. We had to be with not having met our measures and targets, and really be with who we were in the matter, and who we were not.” And their results were, in a word, extraordinary.

When the event began, Dubai’s first Landmark Forum was small, and there was no commitment for another Forum in Dubai. But regardless of size, Dubai’s Forum was incredibly transformative, and the evening session was so successful that before the end of the last night of The Landmark Forum, Per Holmgren stood for what was possible and called World Headquarters to make a request that they cause another Forum in Dubai. And they aligned with his request; in April 2020, there will be a second Forum in Dubai.

“I don’t know how we did it – I mean, I do know how we did it [laughs]. It’s the perfect example of standing for a possibility in the face of no agreement.”

Remarkable conversations
Clyde Terry, an Introduction Leader from Los Angeles, holds a poster on the Already Always Listening

Before our conversation ended, Pam wanted to share one more story about a husband and wife who attended The Landmark Forum in Dubai, what they created for their marriage, and what she saw as possible from their experience:

Dubai’s Forum event ran Thursday through Saturday, with the final evening on Monday night. On Saturday evening, Pam had a conversation with a man whose wife wanted to attend a further course in London, despite his not knowing if he could accompany her:

“There is a cultural-religious belief that a Muslim woman doesn’t travel but with certain family members. And they were having a conversation about her wanting to do the Advanced Course and him not being sure the appropriate male could accompany her to London to do the Advance Course. And she was very committed, and you could tell that right in that moment, there was an opportunity to either be at war with her husband or find a way to peace. Would he be willing to stand for the possibility or not? And would it occur as a compromise or a stalemate? Would there be resentment that would linger and harm the marriage?”

Pam doesn’t know what occurred for the couple between Saturday and Monday night, but that young husband found her on Monday night, and his mindset had clearly transformed – “He said, ‘I want you to know that I will use the distinctions of the Landmark Forum not to go to war with my wife. I’m clear that I could spend the next ten years at war with my wife over these kinds of choices–small, silent resentments that will build walls between us and have us pretending to be loving and committed when we are really angry and hurt.’”

For Pam, that moment crystallized the entire event for her: “I just got in that moment where wars start. The judgement, the criticism, the unwillingness to move or compromise or back down. And it was the one thing that got me clear about what peace in the Middle East would look like… one conversation at a time, one couple at a time, standing for possibility and using the technology of transformation to create and empower rather than destroy and divide. So thank you for letting me share it.”

If you or someone you know would like to register for the April 2, 2020, Landmark Forum in Dubai, you can register online. Choose ‘Landmark Forum’ as the program, ‘United Arab Emirates’ as the country, and ‘Dubai’ as the city.

Landmark Graduates are up to some amazing things in the world. Want to read more inspiring SELP stories? Check out the main Landmark Forum News page for transformative tales from Landmark Graduates worldwide.

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