A Tale of 10 Euros

Christine Longé and I visited La Bergerie at Colle sur Loup, the venue of our SIETAR Europa 2005 Congress. On the way home the three of us (her little son Marc came along) stopped at François, our favorite pizza house for a bite of lunch. Since the pizza and a drink cost 1000, I handed the counter man a 2000 bill. He apologized for not having smaller notes to make change and handed me five 200 coins. While waiting for the pizza to be served, I glanced at the coins. I was amazed to see in the same handful that each coin was from a different country...Spain, Germany, Portugal, France and Italy.

Perhaps like many of you much of my attention over the past year has been focused on what was not going quite right in the world, and rightfully so, as the political atmosphere seems to be as tense again as it was during the Cold War and there seems no end in sight to the provocations of fear and violence. Like you, I suspect, I held great hopes for the new Millennium, hopes that are certainly under siege each day. Endless wars and streams of refugees, constant threats and counter threats, rampant poverty and a withering ecology. There is so much to do…

The ten euros reminded me of something that something was going right, a perhaps small but not insignificant symbol of international, intercultural collaboration, a chance for human togetherness. The holiday season many of us celebrate with the transition to a new year and for us on the northern half, the gradual return of the light provides a moment of reflection a time to connect with each other, to restore our vision and to steady ourselves for what is yet to come.

Please accept my best wishes for you and those you love, for success and the fulfillment of your hopes in 2005 and for renewed inspiration on the part of all of us to pull together to create a more sustainable future for ourselves, our children and future generations.

© 2008 George Simons


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There are no elements so diverse that they cannot be joined in the heart of a man. - Jean Giraudoux

George Simons is a US specialist in intercultural and gender communication who hangs out in Mandelieu - la Napoule, France, as well as in Santa Cruz, CA. In the 1980’s he was one of the founders of the Hidden Valley Center for Men and the Cyberguys network. He is currently the treasurer on the board of The National Men's Resource Center™. He is on the faculty of Management Centre Europe, where he consults on virtual global teamwork. He has written over a dozen books on culture and gender including  Working Together:  How to Become More Effective in a Multicultural Organization and with Deborah G. Weissman, Men & Women:  Partners at Work. (Crisp Foundation) and is the creator of the award-winning Diversophy® game. or E-Mail.

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