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AoH Training 2023 – Day 1

Seeds on the Winds of Change

AoH Training 2023 – Day 1
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Seeds on the Winds of Change is the first day of the AoH Istanbul Training, where we start to plant the seeds from which we can reap the harvest at the end of our three-day journey of change and begin to accept the change itself.


AoH Training 2023 – Day 1


Story of Day I

Flow of Day 1


On our first day at AoH, we met with our participants at 9:30 am on September 28th at Levent Han Spaces, one of the central locations of Istanbul, where the three-day AoH event will take place. Before meeting the participants and getting to know them face to face, we started the day early with the AoH Istanbul hosting team and organizing team to review both the three-day process and our first day program.

According to our schedule, we gathered around the circle with all AoH Participatory Leadership participants at 9:30 a.m. After we gathered around the circle, general information about the program was given and the hosting and organizing team members were introduced. Afterwards, we discussed what to do on the first day of the program.

Teaching Foundations

Before we started the teaching foundations practice, we did a check-in to get to know each other a little bit better. We got to know each other a bit better by writing down our name, where we came to this event from and one of our superpowers.

After getting to know each other a little more in the check-in section, in the Foundations section, we focused on Chamos, Chaos, Order and Control, which are the 4 intertwined circles of the Chaordic Path. We talked about the fact that our life, which is suitable for living in the management section, which is more located between control and order, is not actually fixed in any of these cycles, that it changes according to the conditions we are in, and that chaos, which finds itself in development and innovation, is not an area to be feared so much. From here we took the sentence “Some say ‘chaos’, We call it ‘home’ ” into our saddlebags.




A few meaningful lyrics accompanied us as we tried to find our way through the rings of the Chaordic Path and figure out where we stand.

“Some say ‘chaos’. We call it ‘home’.”

“Anyone can host a meaningful conversation!”

Also words and phrases about inspiration, meeting new people and finding courage came to the fore at the end of this practice.

World Cafe

After the Chaordic Path, we moved towards the World Cafe approach, which we realized in three rounds. Through the questions Where am I experiencing the winds of uncertainty?, When facing uncertainty, What conversations matter? and What could help us to face uncertainty together? We shared our thoughts on how to deal with uncertainties in this period when we are facing them. One of the parts that impressed us the most here is that life is inherently uncertain and we received the messages that we should embrace this and that we can deal with them through collective conversation environments.

Before lunch, in the sign-up matrix, where we opened space for the participants, we created an environment where they will take steps to host the sessions they are interested in both for the day and for the next two days with the training, support and guidance of the facilitators.




During the 3 rounds of the World Cafe session, which took place around the axis of uncertainty as our main focus, many points were brought to the forefront by the participants. The importance of sharing in times of uncertainty, the indispensability of feedback in order to develop, grow, find our direction and strengthen connections, that we need to unlearn a little bit, that we need to be able to set foot on new grounds while remembering our roots, that we should be able to make the request for help not only when we are stuck but also as a part of life and that accepting uncertainty is a part of life were emphasized by the participants.

“Finding a language beyond right & wrong.”

Fourfold Practice

The Four-Fold practice is central to the Art of Hosting conversations that matter. It emphasizes being a mindful host, listener, and speaker, fostering authentic engagement while being in a learners mindset, having learning as a tool and a facilitator in transition between the four states of the practice, while being the sensei and the steward of the practice you are in. 

The practice involves hosting oneself to be fully present, participating actively, hosting conversations skillfully, and co-creating with others. These practices are interconnected, with effective participation relying on presence, hosting conversations building on active participation, and co-creation drawing from all preceding practices.

Participants found themselves on the harvesting.




Through sharing their experiences about where they feel the most comfortable standing in and the least comfortable standing in through writing post-it notes about it, participants saw how they stand within the group. How these strengths and growth points contradicts and also supports each other as a community. Participants had revelations about their current state and their needs to be better participatory leaders in their own practices regarding the four states.

For some participants, it was an intense emotional process. Hosting yourself was a segment where most individuals began self-reflection. Emotions and thoughts highlighted included hope, fear, and awareness.

Nature is the present all the time!

Story Trios & Circle

The storytelling trios and the circle following was about providing a space for us to hold a space for each other while experiencing the roles of storytelling, harvesting and witnessing, therefore experience a space to be heard fully, listen and pay attention of the experience that has been sharing with us and be there for each other, in trusting and presence. The following circle focused on participants sharing what they have experienced within the trio experience, how it was to hear the stories and what will we be carrying in our minds and hearts from the stories we have listened. 

During the storytelling trios and the subsequent circle, participants engaged in an enriching experience focused on holding space for one another. The sessions provided an opportunity to fully express, listen, and attentively witness each other’s stories, fostering an environment of trust and presence. In the trios, participants shared stories of overcoming challenges, reflecting on the conditions that enabled success and the strategies employed. Harvesting questions guided the exploration of the essence of each story, capturing the strategies and practices applied. The subsequent circle delved into deeper reflections, prompting participants to explore the profound learnings they were opening up to. Despite diverse experiences in different trios, common strategies and perspectives emerged in tackling challenges, offering inspiring insights that participants carried with them.




In story trios we have shared a story about a time when life challenged us with complexity or uncertainty and we have met the challenge and succeeded. What did we learn then stays with us now? While sharing these, we shared about our perceptions, our approaches in tackling and overcoming challenges and therefore shared precious learnings about ourselves and our journeys. While sharing, for each storyteller, the questions of “What are the conditions that enabled the storyteller to meet the challenge? What strategies or practices do you hear in the story?” was our harvesting questions which we defined as a statement that truly expressed the essence of the story within the perspective of the strategies and practices that may have been applied.

Then we came together within a circle to share our reflections with the harvesting question: “What deeper learnings am I opening up to that I might want to explore further?” and within the share out session, we have realized that even though we experienced different story trios with various storytellers, we shared some strategies and perspectives in tackling challenges that might inspire us which we will be carrying in our minds.

“Sometimes not trying to solve the problem is the solution.”

Vibes of the Day


Glimpses of Interviews

“What is in my backpack is the feeling of fullness, where everything can be held in a bigger container, the old roots and this new growth zone and the words that stayed with me are “What is mine to do?” I took a lot of things home with me, I would mention the top 3 of them: inspiration, courage and trust.”


“I think what makes the Art of Hosting special for me is that practitioner communities that work together are very rare and I personally was looking for something that was different than just another method as a facilitator or being a facilitator now for quite a long time. So when I met the art of hosting I knew all of the methods that we often work with but there was something interesting, somehow there was this glue and I thought that I was going to find out what that is. It is the focus on continuing to learn. So the four fold practice, the basis of our practice is in fact, a way that you stay a practitioner and it makes the difference to meeting the world consciously, instead of just reacting to whatever happens or being disturbed when your plan isn’t working, or diversity or difference comes in and suddenly everything starts to be sparky.”

Mary Alice

“The most resonating color for my vibe is the color green, because of the harvesting, a very fresh green, positive vibe, and energy of the youth. I feel a part of a great community and I am practicing my moderation skills in the last 20 years so I have also updated my backpack.”


“If AoH were to be a person, I think it would be a psychological guidance teacher because my teachers used to open up spaces for us and they would not make it very obvious, we would be having those conversations without being told so but also there would be a light structure for us to go move forwards in our struggles and challenges. and they were also compassionate with love. Art of Hosting taps into the collective intelligence in a very soft compassionate way which is also very real. The second thing is its capacity to touch on the power structures. We are more or less equal in the same space and the activities we pursue give equal weight to the ideas of the people.”


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AoH Istanbul 2023