‘We saw each other’s humanity’

Caux Peace and Leadership Programme 2018

Oana Dinea


Oana Dinea is a concert pianist from Romania, currently based in Geneva. She took part in the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme 2018.

Caux is about relationships. About people. About how you can relate and learn from people of approximately 40 nationalities. And what is so surprising is that these people unlock doors in yourself. Your new friends can be also the ones that you didn’t see around you in your own community. A sense of presence almost like a natural revelation arrives slowly in your life.

For example, every September, at the beginning of the academic year, I organize a private meeting for the parents of my students at the Conservatory of Music in Geneva, where I teach piano.

This year, to my surprise, I didn’t want to have another official meeting, focused on organization, where the parents take notes and write down the dates of the exams and auditions. Although these things are important, this time I wanted to do something different: to share my story, my childhood in Romania and the choices that have led me to this life of mine.

So, I talked about my parents, my culture, my teachers and so many things that they didn’t know about me. I have never felt so connected to the parents of my students as in that instant. We saw each other’s humanity. And, after having this bond, they delivered themselves. They shared their stories and their fears regarding the education of their children. The fulfillment that we all felt was pure joy!

The idea of telling my story came after being at Caux. I had never before thought of sharing something meaningful with the parents of my students. It had never occurred to me that a small action could have this impact. Since that moment, our relationship has changed. The confidence that came from listening to each others’ stories will define the way their children come to the Conservatory each week, the way they see music, work and give priority to their time at the piano. I don’t feel any more that I have to convince them or that we are in battle camp. I feel that we share the same desire for progress.

At Caux I learnt something which is still very difficult for me. Planting a seed is not always about telling people what to do, but having the patience to trust their own process.

People don’t act because you tell them to; they act when your actions inspire them. When they admire you and feel that you trust them, they feel empowered. It can be very easy with some people and difficult with others. But I am confident that I am always learning new skills of communication.

Because of my job, self-discipline and setting priorities have always been part of my life. I realize that one of my priorities has changed: I give more time to people around me –not only to my friends, but to people in general. A big part of that has to do with listening and smiling.

I realize that our loneliness comes from our common addiction to media. So my next priority is to take one day per week when I am off social media and even call people. At the beginning it is very difficult. But after a while you use your creativity and sometimes you do what children do: play and wonder. Our great tool is the imagination. When you allow yourself to create your life, rather than just allowing habit to control your actions, then you feel that you are not only existing – you are living!

My concerts are related to humans and art. All the things described above – the sense of presence, sharing stories, inspiring with confidence and trusting the process, setting priorities – make me more aware of the oportunities I have to connect people and ideas. My actions are focused on creating a bridge between my work and the need that I see in the world.


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