An Interview with N4 Community Partner, Ann Diederich

This month, to celebrate International Women’s History Month, we’ve asked our staff to nominate some of the amazing women working within the Narrative 4 community, to uplift their work and express our sincere appreciation for their commitment to N4’s core beliefs. These women truly embody compassionate change-making in the world and are doing the work to build support and connection in their communities.

Anne Diederich is not only the Director of Partnerships and Programs and co-director of the Global Initiatives Program at Polytechnic School, she is also an educator at heart. Anne is a fierce believer in empathy building and perspective-taking as a means of developing students’ sense of global citizenship; her impressive commitment to building programs that foster exchanges across barriers and promote student innovation and agency has made our partnership with her a seamless one. Recently, Anne organized a Story Exchange for over 100 students participating in Polytechnic’s Global Travel Program, providing them the opportunity to emotionally and cognitively prepare for the immersive experiences they would encounter in their travel abroad.

In conversation with Ann

  1. What’s the most important thing we should know about you?

Connecting people and communities around the world through language and cultural dialogue is at the core of my work. I’ve seen so many enduring relationships come out of these exchanges that have transformed individuals and given the participants a sense of new possibility. 

2. What excites you about the work of Narrative 4? What drew you to this work? Why does it matter?

Narrative 4’s framework has helped to unify our school community and also engage more purposefully with our school partners. I originally started my work with Narrative 4 during the pandemic when I took part in a project called Different Ships, Same Storm, initiative by Master Practitioner Elizabeth Eagle. I experienced firsthand how story exchanges bring connection to all, broaden our perspectives and help us imagine the world differently. 

3. Can you share a brief story about a time when your work with N4 felt especially impactful? (i.e. an experience with an exemplary partner, a lesson learned, a favorite Story Exchange or Artist event, etc.)

When we first launched our first schoolwide story exchange, the whole organization rallied to make sure that it was a success. Lee and Alondra arranged for 36 of our students to participate in the skillful interventions workshop and made it possible for Ishmael Beah to kickstart our N4 efforts in our community. The enthusiasm generated by Ishmael and the student facilitators brought such a sacred space to our school during a time of disconnect and uncertainty.  I will always be grateful for all of the support that the N4 team has always provided me and my school community.

Read our interviews with other nominees and participate in our International Women’s History month campaign here!