Influencer Durwin Lynch
In this week’s blog (26th of June till the 2nd of July 2023) we had an interview with Durwin Lynch. We will
invite you to our next MYM Book presentation on Thursday, the 20th of July. We will share some
short videos This week we will share some short videos on ‘Trauma from Gabor Mate and the Dutch Slavery history’. We will upload one of these videos every day on our facebook.com/share2uplift page.
Could you share with us some information about your family life?
First, thank you so much for reaching out to me for this interview on this amazing platform. My name is Durwin Lynch, and I was born in the beautiful country of Surinam. I come from mixed roots, with partial Indian, Chinese, and Afro-Surinamese heritage. When I was 3 years old, my mom and I moved to the island of Curaçao. My mother has always been incredibly supportive and protective of me. As her only child, she raised me on her own, and throughout our journey, we were fortunate to have the support of many earthly and heavenly angels. My mother worked as a nurse at SEHOS and later CMC. In her last 2.5 decades of service, she led the NICU Unit as a Teamleader, providing care to the most vulnerable premature babies. Her commitment to truth and her sensitivity has always been a great inspiration to me. Recently, she retired after nearly 50 years of working in her field, and she continues to reside on Curaçao. While she prefers to remain private, I want to share that she is a loving woman and a beautiful inspiration to me. I am also fortunate to have a supportive family spread across Suriname, Aruba, and The Netherlands. Thanks to technology, we are able to stay in close contact. On my father’s side, I have at least nine half-brothers and sisters. Growing up, I had limited contact with my father and half-siblings. Interestingly, all my siblings have either an Indigenous or Javanese Surinamese mother. I take great pride in the diverse ethnic lineages that run through my family. Following my father’s passing in 2008, I had the opportunity to connect with more of his family, and I am grateful for the bonds that have developed since then. I am not (planning to get) married and I do not have any children (yet).
Could you share something about your educational background and your experience?
As an educator myself, there is so much I want to share. Let me begin by expressing that my childhood dream was always to become a commercial airplane pilot. I have fond memories of me spending hours at Mirador (Hato Airport), watching airplanes take-off and land, dreaming of one day flying a Boeing 747 myself. This childhood dream always fueled me with positivity. I attended Coromoto College for primary school and MIL for secondary school, both located in Otrobanda. I was young when I discovered my fear of blood. Although I felt an attraction to the health and life sciences field, especially through courses like Biology and Chemistry, I did not see myself working with blood or in a laboratory. Back then, I was less aware of other health-related studies beyond Medicine, Pharmacy, and Biomedical Sciences. Initially, I was inclined to study Pharmacy, which was only offered in Utrecht or Groningen. I ultimately chose Utrecht, and my mom supported my decision by arranging for me to spend a day as an intern at the Pharmacy department of SEHOS. While I found it interesting and learned a lot, I also remained open to other possibilities. Just a few months before the start of the academic year, I discovered the bachelor’s program “Natuurwetenschap & Innovatiemanagement” (Science and Innovation Management) and decided to pursue it at Utrecht University. It was my mother’s wise advice to first obtain my university BSc. degree and then pursue a career in the aviation industry. She believed it was important to have a backup plan due to the uncertainties of the aviation industry, and I am truly grateful for that advice. During my bachelor’s program, I delved deeper into “innovations” and “systems thinking” in the health and life sciences field, which laid the foundation for what was to come in the following years. After completing my bachelor’s degree, I attempted to enter the aviation world through the KLM Flight Academy. I made it to phase two of the pilot selection procedure but was then confronted with the results of a personality test. These indicated that I had difficulties making decisions and it was suggested that I should grow a bit more before reapplying in two years. It was disappointing, and I chose not to try again. However, I am satisfied knowing that I at least gave it a shot and followed my heart in pursuing my childhood dream. Life, however, had different plans for me.
I came across the two-year MSc. program “Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Life and Health Sciences” (MPA) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, which expanded my perception of my own potential. Upon graduating, I began working at the Athena Institute (VU) as a Junior Lecturer/Researcher. This is when I truly discovered academia and became the pilot of my own intellectual journey. Eventually, this led me to my PhD trajectory titled “Public Engagement in Science,” with case studies focusing on “waste management,” “bioeconomy,” and “knowledge integration between academic and non-academic stakeholders.” In addition to my research, I am heavily involved in teaching, which I thoroughly enjoy.
In 2019, I was appointed as the Program Coordinator of the MPA program following the sudden passing of my dear friend and colleague, Anna van Luijn. This opened an entirely new world within academia for me. Accreditations, student evaluations, admissions, PR, exam board cases, and many other elements related to academic education became part of my daily work. Managing a program with approximately 300 students spread over two years, over 25 courses and many teaching and coaching lecturers involved – through the pandemic – has been a learning trajectory on its own. Yet, I’m blessed with my amazing and inspiring colleagues and students. At the Athena Institute our research and education aims to connect with society, bringing together different perspectives. We seek for common ground and alliances between the university, industry, policymakers, and societal stakeholders like grass root organizations, NGOs and citizens. We are geared toward taking responsible actions and transforming societies, together. Through working at Athena, I have learned to cater to the most marginalized in our society. Last year, I celebrated my 10-year anniversary at the Athena Institute, and I look forward to welcoming more Dutch Caribbean students to our MPA program in the near future.
It seems like a “best practice”?
I am indeed exploring what works well– refining participatory and transdisciplinary methodologies- but I don’t know yet if this is best practice. I do appreciate connecting education with real, rather than fictional, cases. Since 2017 I am the coordinator of the 8-week course “Research Methods for Analyzing Complex Problems” and each year we host have about 150-200 master students in the course. We work with real commissioners who are addressing complex problems in the health and life sciences – and allow our students to engage in that process as well. Our students learn to explore partnerships and strive to get alignments by bringing conflicting partners together in a meaningful and effective way. Working with students is very inspiring to me. I learn so much from their curiosity. This reminds me of the universal principle that “each of us can be the other’s teacher – but the real Guru is within”. Teaching is a two-way stream, and lucky me that I get to work with students from all over the world. Wherever I go, whoever I meet, I never forget where I came from. Having attended non-elite public schools like Coromoto College and MIL on Curaçao, I understand that one’s socioeconomic background does not determine their future trajectory. I believe that anyone can rise above their circumstances, regardless of their upbringing. I do acknowledge that this can be a demanding journey for some, especially in today’s polarizing societies. Yet, the only requirement is a willingness to trust the process and walk the talk. That for me is a “best practice”.
You are now a Junior Professor at Athena, a research and Education Institute at VU and offering classes and doing research. How did you got involved in subject matters like Trauma?
A “Junior Professor” – haha – that’s not an official position. I guess I am somewhere in between. I feel more comfortable just being Durwin Lynch, working at the Athena Institute. Now, how did I get into the subject of trauma? In the past three years, many events helped to bring “Trauma” to the national agenda in the Netherlands, such as the global Black Lives Matter movement, the “Zwarte Piet” discussion, and, of course, the pandemic. During this time, my own personal healing journey began as I underwent a transformation and developed myself spiritually, while letting go of impulsive behaviors like shopping, overeating, and smoking. I realized I was not alone in this struggle. Numbing oneself through external sources – whether it be food, alcohol, relationships, gambling, sex, shopping, working, etc. – is a common coping strategy in our communities.During this period, I started attending spiritual meetings and became open to trauma and inner-child healing. In my spiritual online community, I was introduced to the work of Dr. Gabor Maté. One night at 3:00 am, I attended an online screening of the documentary “The Wisdom of Trauma,” and the sharing that followed had a profound impact on me. Soon after, I decided to make trauma-informed education a cornerstone of my work – having discussions with colleagues and students around this. To me, this means challenging “big pharma” and “colonial systems” to explore healing possibilities beyond Western Biomedical medicine.Coincidentally, this aligned with my “hobby” research, which I started a few years ago out of curiosity and partly based on my own inner healing process. I became deeply interested in traditional healing approaches within the Dutch Caribbean and Surinamese communities. I questioned why “brua” had such a negative connotation and why certain individuals sought relief in Winti Spirituality. I also wondered why these practices were condemned by Western Medicine and the Roman Catholic religion. This curiosity led me to explore further, and I received a small grant from the dr. Silvia de Groot Fonds to study “the co-existence of traditional healing alongside Western biomedical medicine/healing on contemporary Curaçao”.
I did have a decolonial talk organized by Aralez on YouTube on this subject.
Through this research, I realized that my academic voice could be fueled by my own inner child healing process. I presented my research findings at the 2021 NWO Dutch Caribbean research week and was honored with the best poster award. This recognition confirmed that my research is appreciated by our community, which motivated me to become even more vocal about healing. I also started screening Gabor Maté’s “The Wisdom of Trauma” at the VU, during my own course, summer school, and for two consecutive years during the VU Health and Wellbeing Week. After the screenings, I facilitated discussions where deep sharing took place. The event was open not only to students and teachers but also to anyone of society. In the first year, after the screening, a mother who was a victim of the “Toeslagenaffaire” spoke up. She pleaded for help and asked what therapy she should use to heal her heavily traumatized 13-year-old son. I was speechless, witnessing the power that drove her to attend our event and share her story. It seems that Dutch Caribbean and Surinamese families were the most affected by the toeslagenaffaire. Ironically, those who are the afterlives of Dutch colonialism – carrying traces of that brutal past in their DNA and indoctrinated by systems that stripped them of their true identity – were mostly impacted by this scandal. Yet, there is so much shame and guilt surrounding it, and it is rarely discussed.. I feel called to address healing among those affected. I started a podcast episode discussing this topic. Initially, it was meant as an experimental episode for family and friends, but it is now available for anyone interested to listen to.
In addition to this, we recently received funding of NWA for our project: Re/Presenting Europe: Popular Representations of Diversity and Belonging. At the Athena Institute we will be focusing on “Healing the Afterlives of Colonialism“. Over the next four years, I will be working on this research project.
We have taken notice that you have also co-organized workshops for first-year Dutch Caribbean students in The Netherlands, why is that important?
Well, I’m a Dutch Caribbean student in The Netherlands myself. I know that trajectory can be a bumpy ride, and I am always willing to support those pursuing that path. I guess it started during my time as a coach and mentor for SSC students in Utrecht between 2006-2013. This element of “being of service to others” was always present in me. I grew up in a very supportive environment at home – thanks to my mother. In addition to that, I was blessed with a very supportive social network consisting of neighbors, colleagues, friends, and relatives. The neighbors around us in Buena Vista, De Savaan, and Klein St. Michiel were great. I have acquired multiple grandmothers, aunties, uncles, and cousins through this upbringing. Ubuntu, a we-culture, is what I am referring to here. That is so fundamentally installed in me. In The Netherlands, I have always remained connected to Dutch Caribbean student communities. Those students of Dutch Caribbean descent are the “crème de la crème” from our islands who come to The Netherlands to further develop themselves. Sadly, many of them encounter significant struggles on their path. It seems more difficult to talk about emotions. In 2020, the Dutch National Ombudsman published a report titled ” report Concerns of Dutch Caribbean Students in The Netherlands.” It concerns me that many Dutch Caribbean students here in The Netherlands face numerous obstacles during their studies, which negatively influences their study success. Why are there so many switchers, dropouts, and, sadly, burnouts? These students from the Dutch Caribbean, the supposedly “crème de la crème,” face such a harsh time overall. It doesn’t apply to all, but still, a large part of the group. The ombudsman highly recommended taking actions to deal with this issue. This is when I decided to team up with Tanja Fraai and Mike Ho-Sam-Sooi of “Stichting WeConnect” to address this issue. I have very close ties with people from the Dutch Caribbean; my biggest group of friends comes from there. I still mentor and coach students, and my mom still lives in Curaçao. The report initially made me very sad, and we decided to turn this around into concrete actions.
During a one-year project, we involved students in a two-phased approach to identify how students can regulate their emotions in a healthy way, without numbing or repressing them. In the first phase, interviews were conducted with counselors, psychologists, mentors and other relevant people that work with Dutch Caribbean students. In the second phase, we identified the competencies that we needed to work on, especially for incoming students, to be prepared in knowing how to deal with emotions in a society like The Netherlands which can be very harsh. We also focused on identifying student change agents who can have conversations within their own campus and communities. We presented our research at the 2022 Dutch Caribbean Research week.
What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be who you are right now? And why is it that you want to find ways and means to contribute?
I represent both the indoctrinated and enlightened product of Dutch Colonialism. I am very inspired by the Spirits of legends such as Tula and Anton de Kom. Through my work, I strive for social justice for my communities. At this moment, I have a strong urge to contribute to carving, in our generation and the generations after us, a higher degree of compassion and caring towards fellow human beings. To give them the tools to be able to be compassionate and caring to the most important person in their lives: themselves. That is my BIG WHY.
What are your plans for the coming years for the coming 5 years from now?
Even though I remind myself continuously not to attach to any specific outcome, I am willing to put in the work to achieve the following in the next 5 years:
(1) Deepen my research on healing the afterlives of colonialism – establish stronger ties with many grassroots organizations and acquire more funding to expand staff and activities;
(2) become an assistant professor – this means that I have completed my PhD by then, which according to a “palm reader” I met recently is scheduled for this year – Yay!;
(3) become a licensed prayer practitioner – I already started my training in 2022; and (4) become a father so I can pass on wisdom to the generation beneath me.
What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
I have no problem living my Spiritual Self. What is more challenging for me is handling my egoic mind. My mind tends to be perfectionistic, which often leads to self-criticism. It has been a journey for me to recognize and establish my boundaries, and to not seek external validation. I understand that everything has the meaning I give to it, so I actively work on addressing my challenges at the level of the mind. Prayer is an essential part of my healing process. I Partner Up, I Listen, and I also Follow Spirit. Through prayer, I practice self-forgiveness. Additionally, I find solace and release through walks in nature, creative writing, and spoken word. I have a deep connection to water, the sea, and oceans. Watching sunsets at Scheveningen reminds me of the sunsets in Curaçao, and it strengthens my sense of connection.
Do you use your inner voice to evaluate when dilemmas show up? How does that work for you?
Is my inner voice comparable with my intuition? Yes, right? I use my inner voice/intuition to connect with my Spirit and I deliberately choose the loving Source. I am so grateful for this.
How are you trying also to keep up with your knowledge and skill levels?
Ever heard of the school of life? I Trust that all I need is already pre-installed within me. It is up to me to remove those layers of all that does not serve me. All my learnings come together at the right moment. I learn through other people. One of my many spiritual teachers, Jennifer Hadley thaught me that “we are all each other’s teachers, but the real guru is within”. I love this. Other than that, I read a lot.
What are your strengths?
My willingness to practice self-forgiveness to all judgments, attacks, criticisms, and condemnations that arise in me. I have a strong compass geared toward love as the healer. I am aware that I am a spiritual being having a human experience. I strive to go further and deeper, to tap into the Source of unlimited possibilities, and to share the benefits of this with everyone – because we are one.
Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
I enjoy cooking for others, especially for my friends. It’s so indulging to watch them eat my soul food. I also love reading and watch documentaries. I express myself through writing poetry, short stories, and practice spoken word in front of the mirror. I discovered this creative part of me during high school when I participated at the “Arte di Palabra” literary contest. In total I participated with 7 original poems/stories, and I also served as an MC twice. “Arte di Palabra” opened many doors for me. Many doors in society, but also many internal chambers of darkness. Life is Ying Yang – two sides of the same coin. It’s an art to dance your way through this.
If you Durwin would meet a stranger on the bus (let’s say in New York or Medellin Colombia) and they would ask you to introduce yourself, what would you answer?
If this stranger speaks English (New York) or Spanish (Medellin), I will proudly say that I come from a tropical environment: Surinamese born and Yu di Kòrsou by heart. If they are unaware of these countries, I would explain a bit more of them. If I don’t speak their language, I will just smile – with my hand on my heart. A smile is a universal language of love.
How would you describe Durwin in one word or one sentence?
I am love.
Who are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
First, I must acknowledge that many people have inspired me. My mother, a courageous woman with a golden heart, has been a constant source of inspiration. My Chinese grandfather, Edmund, who married my Afro-Surinamese grandmother, Suzanne, taught me that love transcends any expressions of our diverse pigments and conditionings. Academically, I have immense respect for Dr. Barbara Regeer, a colleague, mentor, and dear friend who always believed in me and has been a great source of inspiration. I am also deeply inspired by Prof. Dr. Rose Mary Allen, the first female professor of Curaçao, for her dedication and precision in exploring and sharing about the lives of our communities after the abolition of slavery. She possesses a kind heart and wisdom that I greatly admire. Richenel Ansano, with his cultural and healing work, is another source of inspiration for me. He represents a spirit that resonates deeply with me, and I am moved by his eloquent approach to addressing traditional healing in contemporary Curaçao. Furthermore, the many students I work with inspire me as I continuously learn from each and every one of them. The spirit of Tula and Anton de Kom also deeply resonate with me, and I believe their stories must be told repeatedly.
The list of inspirations is long, but I would like to mention a few other living legends who have had a profound impact on me. Artists like Felix de Rooy and Kevin Osepa, activists like Mitchell Esajas and Quincy Gario, and scholars like Emeritus Prof. Dr. Gloria Wekker and Dr. Francio Guadeloupe. Seeing my reflection in their work and spirit inspires me, as they are all manifestations of the afterlives of Dutch Colonialism. I hold their work and spirit in high regard and honor them.
What is a trait that is still a work in progress?
- Taking things personally
- Letting go of “perfectionism”.
- And also, just the practice of “letting go”. I am human – I must not forget that.
What was a defining moment in your life?
Oef… so many moments in my life were defining. Grateful for so much that happens in the invisible. What stands out for me is the passing of my father and grandfather. Dead is a transition; it is not the end. I developed an even deeper bond with my grandfather – Opa Edje – after his transition in 2007. He is my human symbol of unconditional love. A few months later, my own father passed away. My search for unanswered questions I had, has also defined the course of my life. It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters, and circumstances are helpful. This is deep…
What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends, and others to say about you let’s say 20 years from now?
If they can recognize that “I am Love,” it means that they are Love too. That is what I want them to embrace and express. Love has countless ways of manifesting itself. I aspire to find inner peace and acceptance of who I am in each moment, irrespective of how others perceive me.
What makes you stay optimistic about the future?
Great people like you, this platform, all influencers on it, and all light workers in the world doing this amazing work. The trust I have in God, through Spirit. All is perfect exactly as it is. Prayer is needed at times to release me from thinking differently. I am optimistic about the “world of illusion” out there.
Connect and/or follow:
More info on NWA Healing research: Re/Presenting Europe.
One of the 250 Influencers
Durwin Lynch is a driven, curious, self-forgiving, coach, mentor, bridge builder, scholar, and lecturer at the Athena Institute (VU). At the Athena Institute, the research and education aim to connect with society, bringing together different perspectives. Seeking for common ground and alliances between the university, industry, policymakers, and societal stakeholders like grass root organizations, NGOs, and citizens, they are geared toward taking responsible actions and transforming societies among, at times, conflicting groups. Working at Athena he has taught him to cater to the most marginalized in our society and he is teaching him to explore the boundaries of forms of collaboration that are new. Being fully aware of the many mental blocks that are hampering human beings to collaborate, but considering it the way to solve different complex challenges in the Dutch and other societies are confronted with. Being from mixed cultural roots himself gives him an almost perfect profile to explore diversity and bring together different perspectives.
In the coming 5 years for example a research request focusing on “The afterlife of colonialism” was approved by NWA. This research will contribute to the must-needed healing in the formerly colonized territories and Holland.
Having grown through his own personal transformation, he became a spiritual and connected person who describes himself as “I am Love”. His transformation made him let trauma-informed education, become the cornerstone of his work. In that, he is helping others to be more open to accepting less Big Pharma and more other healing possibilities. Durwin is also involved, in exploring what is needed to have incoming students from the Dutch Caribbean especially, to be better prepared in knowing how to deal with emotions in a society in Holland that is very harsh. Identifying change agents that can have conversations within their campus and communities and by doing this, increase their success rates.
For all these reasons and his drive to make a difference in the Dutch Caribbean, Suriname, and Holland, we consider Durwin Lynch one of the 250 Influencers of the Dutch Caribbean & Holland, representing the Educational Sector. Look at the list of the Influencers we have interviewed or reported on, up to now.
The goal of the core group of Share2Uplift for 2023
The goal of the Share2Uplift movement is to: “Identify 250 leaders from all walks of life to connect, align and create impactful changes in all walks of life, which includes intergenerational collaboration by the end of 2022.” We will use interviewing Influencers, meet-and-greet events, “train-the-trainers”-programs on “Emotional Mastery” and “Intentionality “as national intervention strategies, to reach this goal on top of our goal to scale up the possibilities to connect, align and create impact via a virtual platform. We believe that by collaborating with Miguel Goede on the virtual Vision 2030 platform, we will accelerate the possibilities to connect the diaspora and others elsewhere in the world and on the island willing to constructively create impactful changes in Curaçao, to join.
As Share2Uplift, we are fully trying to align with this thinking of Center for Curriculum Redesign to promote this agenda in our educational systems and workplace. So, in that sense, we fully support any initiative to make our educational system 21st-century proof.
Share2Uplift aligners are those that:
– Create an inspiring vision of the future;
– Motivate and inspire people to engage with that vision;
– Manage the delivery of the vision;
– Coach and build a team, so that it is more effective at achieving the vision. These criteria are now being polished.
We also consider these 5 values the most important ones for Share2Uplift aligners. They are:
• Peace from within;
As we will progress towards this goal, we will update you on the progress.
Our next MYM-platform session will be on Thursday the 20th of July via Zoom from 7 – 9 pm, where we will present two books on High performances: High Performance Habits, by Brendon Bruchard and The Compound effect, by Darren Hardy.
High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way
These six habits will make you extraordinary
After extensive original research and a decade as the world’s highest-paid performance coach, Brendon Burchard finally reveals the most effective habits for reaching long-term success. Based on one of the largest surveys ever conducted on high performers, it turns out that just six habits move the needle the most in helping you succeed. Adopt these six habits, and you win. Neglect them, and life is a never-ending struggle.
We all want to be high performing in every area of our lives. But how? Which habits can help you achieve long-term success and vibrant well-being no matter your age, career, strengths, or personality? To become a high performer, you must seek clarity, generate energy, raise necessity, increase productivity, develop influence, and demonstrate courage. This book is about the art and science of how to practice these proven habits.
If you do adopt any new habits to succeed faster, choose the habits in this book. Anyone can practice these habits and, when they do, extraordinary things happen in their lives, relationships, and careers.
Whether you want to get more done, lead others better, develop skill faster, or dramatically increase your sense of joy and confidence, the habits in this book will help you achieve it. Each of the six habits is illustrated by powerful vignettes, cutting-edge science, thought-provoking exercises, and real-world daily practices you can implement right now. High Performance Habits is a science-backed, heart-centered plan to living a better quality of life. Best of all, you can measure your progress. A link to a professional assessment is included in the book for free. This book will be presented by Ivan Kuster.
The Compound effect
No gimmicks. No Hyperbole. No Magic Bullet. The Compound Effect is based on the principle that decisions shape your destiny. Little, everyday decisions will either take you to the life you desire or to disaster by default. Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine, presents The Compound Effect, a distillation of the fundamental principles that have guided the most phenomenal achievements in business, relationships, and beyond. This easy-to-use, step-by-step operating system allows you to multiply your success, chart your progress, and achieve any desire. If you’re serious about living an extraordinary life, use the power of The Compound Effect to create the success you want.
This book will be presented by Ivan Kuster.
Date: 20th of July
Time: 7.00 – 9.00 PM
Entrance fee: Free
Subscribe by emailing us: at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the Zoom link so that you can participate in our presentation of this book.
Personal Coaching Tip
This week we will share some short videos on ‘Trauma from Gabor Mate and the Dutch Slavery history’. We will upload one of these videos every day on our facebook.com/share2uplift page.
The Secret To Healing Trauma | Dr. Gabor Mate – YouTube
Re-presenting Dutch slavery history – YouTube
Dossier Geschiedenis – Slavernij – YouTube
The Biases Of Western Medicine | Dr. Gabor Mate – YouTube
Gabor Mate – Trauma Is Not What Happens to You, It Is What Happens Inside You – YouTube
The Wisdom of Trauma, Official Trailer – YouTube