After a series of cross-cultural briefs and extensive planning meetings, a delegation a first-ever LYNC’s women delegation traveled more than twenty four hours from Miami to Nur-Sultan (former Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan) on April 5th, 2019. Over the next week, the delegation toured the capital with their new friends, shared intimate testimonies, shared meals featuring local dishes, visited a memorial of the Communist’s concentration camp outside the city, and more.
Landing in Nur-Sultan, the delegation had pre-determined their objective: to use a relationship-based approach to uncover the common ground with the hosted party. While only one of the women in the American delegation had previous experience in and knowledge of general knowledge of Kazakh culture, it was an eye-opening experience as noted by one of the American women: “I really had ‘none to little’ perspective of Kazakhstan before the trip. It was completely new to me, and I was taking it all in.”
A lack of cultural knowledge did not thwart enthusiasm and the passion for connecting cross-culturally! As this was a pioneer mission, american women leaned in to listen to the heart needs of the kazakhstani women, to initiate relationships, and to find a way forward.
Each day, the women had vibrant, new experiences that reached beyond what any planning could do. The women of Nur-Sultan were eager to share their city with their new American friends. Together, they walked the streets, explored restaurants and visited key religious sites. The delegation also took the opportunity to visit a prominent mosque in the city.