Ariel offers workshops on storytelling for social change, meditation, and planning the future of organizations and communities.

The Witness Workshop: Storytelling for Social Change

“A society is a group of people who tell each other’s stories.”

One of our most urgent tasks right now is to reweave the frayed bonds of civil society. When we are divided along policy and ideological lines, stories allow us to breathe, slow down, and connect to one another with empathy. Elie Wiesel said, “Listening to a witness makes you a witness”. As we seek solutions to our collective challenges, we must tell each other’s stories. Based on my book, Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, November 2018), I created the Witness Workshop to help heal our society’s brokenness through study and storytelling.

Who It’s For

  • Corporate executives and teams
  • Religious leaders and communities
  • Activist organizations
  • Teachers
  • Citizens who want to play a positive role

What to Expect

  • A warm environment hospitable to your questions
  • Intellectual stimulation and depth
  • Practical tools to use storytelling to build great cultures

How Long

  • 5 hours (lecture with some interactive exercises)
  • 3 hours (full storytelling workshop)
  • full-day professional development workshop (usually 10AM-4PM; fully interactive, deep dive into study of folktales, storytelling, and team exercises)
    • Travel expenses not included
    • Note: every participant gets a book (company buys for everyone there in addition to fee)

Program Outline

  • Collective reading a teaching tale from one of the great wisdom traditions.
  • Students divide into pairs, and share stories.
  • They switch, storyteller becomes listener, and vice versa.
  • Volunteers retell their partner’s stories to the group (with permission of the teller).

In learning to listen deeply to one another, and retell others’ stories, students exercise their empathy and compassion muscles, becoming witnesses to one another. Hidden diversities are revealed, bridges are created between people, sparking our imaginations – which is the first political act.

I believe a society can be defined as a group of people who tell one another’s stories. The Witness Workshop exists to help people tell their stories, to listen to others’ stories, and to become witnesses to one another. When we are willing to bear witness to one another, to take others’ pain and joy seriously, to listen deeply, with full attention, to tell other’s stories over, we reweave the bonds of civil society.

Schedule Workshop with Ariel

To schedule the Witness Workshop, please fill out the form below, and he will get back to you.