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360 Degrees Around the World.....and Back!

Updated on May 31, 2015

360HUB Lighthouse

When we started off the idea of 360HUB Lighthouse, it was the circular shape of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt that hit the start button. With the mythical revival of the Ancient Library at the turn of the century - as an icon of learning, dialogue and peace - it has inspires people from all over the world...

A digital lighthouse of the 21st Century

...and a digital library to guide travellers in the
...and a digital library to guide travellers in the
A circular idea
A circular idea

Blue planet - ice is melting!

The picture was used inside the conference folder at BA, July 2002
The picture was used inside the conference folder at BA, July 2002

360Hub Event

Photo of participants at 360Hub Event, 2002
Photo of participants at 360Hub Event, 2002

The Wall of Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The water surrounds the whole building. The wall with its symbols and letters from some 120 languages.
The water surrounds the whole building. The wall with its symbols and letters from some 120 languages.

The Library

The sun disc echoes in Ancient Egyptian mythology - as a rising sun!
The sun disc echoes in Ancient Egyptian mythology - as a rising sun!
A child running up the steps. The scale of the building is about 160 m in circumference.
A child running up the steps. The scale of the building is about 160 m in circumference.

City of Alexandria

City of Alexandria
City of Alexandria

The Foundation for a Multicultural City

Alexander the great was never to see the City of is a small anecdote how the city became one of the first multicultural cities of the world.

"...they call it Pharos. [1] .

..When he saw that the site was eminently suitable (it is a strip of land similar to a fairly broad isthmus, running between a large lagoon and the sea which terminates in a great harbor), he exclaimed that Homer was admirable in other respects and was also an excellent architect, and ordered the plan of the city to be drawn in conformity with the terrain.

Since there was no chalk available, they used barley-meal to describe a rounded area on the dark soil, to whose inner arc straight lines succeeded, starting from what might be called the skirts of the area and narrowing the breadth uniformly, so as to produce the figure of a mantle. The king was delighted with the plan, when suddenly a vast multitude of birds of every kind and size flew from the river and the lagoon on to the site like clouds; nothing was left of the barley-meal and even Alexander was much troubled by the omen. But his seers advised him there was nothing to fear (in their view the city he was founding would abound in resources and would sustain men from every nation); he therefore instructed his overseers to press on with the work.

Note 1:

Homer, Odyssey 4.354-355.

...a Shared Dream Awakning from the Dustbin!

I have decided to write on this hub with my personal voice and to share a dream of the past, that has vanished in the dust of information overload of ones and zeros. It is a story about meeting people, who touch the same ideas.

It is 10 years since a small group in Norway startet to talk about the Digital Lighthouse of Alexandria and how we in Norway could co-create intercultural.- and educational projects with the Egyptians. For me it started as a sparkle of inspiration from a social gathering with Kjetil Thorsen at Snøhetta, and our brief talk about the iconic qualities of Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. At a time a student of media and new technology at University of Oslo, and with project experience at the Norwegian Peace Institute and Human Information Decision Center(HURIDOCS), Oslo, and Council of Europe, Strasbourg, I experienced intuitively the importance of the new library and the city of Alexandria as a bridge between civilisations and cultures - a place for mankind, both virtually and fysically, to meet with its creative capacity to innovate the future in a sustainable way.

In 1996 towards 2000 - the years of the dotcom - it kick-off with workshops in Oslo at the Oslo Innovation Center with the Chief Librarian at the time Bendik Rugaas. This was also the occation where I met Hans Kristian Simensen for the first time. I met very early with Cordula Mohr from the Snøhetta Team and Richard Holmquist from UNESCO to explore and to get advices on how to unite forces. The project evolved into a work relationship with the creative brain of Torgeir Aune, and we set a focus on sustainability and interactive, learning communities - "knowldege for the future". At this stage TELENOR was also quite interested, but they decided not to sign up as a partner in the project. Still we moved on, quite convinced that the world would need the project.

Dialogues through diplomatic channels and visits to Egypt. I even gave a lecture at the Information Decision Center in Cairo (IDSC) and presentet the outline at the Regional Information Technology and Softwear Engineering Center (RITSEC) in Cairo. All this in order to manifest the idea, that the Bibliotheca Alexandrina embodies - like a dream for many people, from all corners of the world through the network of friends.

I was a learner, supporter and a member of the Olaf Berggren`s fan club in his process of the book Scripts, documenting letter and symbols from the 120 alphabets randomly placed on 6300 square meters of the hand carved stone wall.

In spring 1997 Hans Kristian Simensen worked and lived both in Oslo and Gothenburg, and we join forces under a mandate from Snøhetta to continue to map out the different initiative. At the early stage we also took part in meetings with Mette Newth at Noregian P.E.N., and we were present at the official occasion at the University of Oslo where the Norwegian Government took an official stand to give the Beacon for Freedom of Expression as a gift to Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Then the Swedes entered the stage and things started to move faster. The first thing that happened was that Hans Kristian Simensen met Prof. Annica Dahlström on the plane to Chicago October 1998, he got in contact with the Swedish Friends of Alexandria situated in Gothenburg. Ambassador Magdy Hefny and First Secretary Hatem Tag El-Din, at the Egyptian Embassy in Oslo, were of great help to establish the Scandinavian Committee (ScanComm) for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina arranging various meetings and receptions for us. Great help came also from the Egyptian Ambassador in Sweden, HE Sameh Derar, attending many of the meetings arranged in Stockholm and, of course, Snöhetta - and for sure, Madam Laila Dowidar and Dr Mohsen Zahran at the Library of Alexandria.

The Executive members of ScanCom BibAlex consists of 2 persons from Norway and 3 from Sweden, and Mr.Hans Kristian Simensen with a foot in each country. The other members are Prof.Annica Dahlstrom, .Ulf Tebelius, Steinar Brenden and myself. On a request from HE Madam Suzanne Mubarak to the Scandinavian Committee, the Nobel Section was created and ready on the opening of the Bibliotheca Alexandria. It was financed by the Tetra Pak and the Söderberg Foundation and thanks to the help of Leif Hjarre. Ulf Tebelius has personally collected over 2500 books of Nobel laureates for the Nobel Section over the years. The Nobel Section is officially approved by the scientific academies in Sweden and Norway, and of course, by the Nobel Foundation and the Nobel Institute. The ScanCom BibAlex also helped financing the opening programme of the Bibliotheca.

In the process towards the Official Opening of the Library, Mr.Hans Kristian Simensen worked with a longtime dedication since 1993 with Palle Mikkelborg. He also introduced the team behind the opening of the Olympic Games at Lillehammer thanks to Ms.Kristine Berggren and Ms.Tina Vaagard Stang, and had the mandate to contact the producer from the Olympics by Mme Suzanne Mubarak. I will underline that he did this without being put on anyone's accounts. Even Per Gynt was present at this stage, among other conceptual outline presented to Mr.Hans Kristian Simensen and myself. Indeed, may good intention still to be fulfilled.


Part of my learning journey was still very high-tech, and with a strong focus on the revolution that happened with personal computers and internet. I explorde the high-tech tools of the internet and did random e-networking with people around the world, of specially importance was it to get in touch with Brewster Kahle behind Alexa, The Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine. I promoted the ideas of the Digital Lighthouse of Alexandria in all directions of the world. Physically I travelled the journey of the knowledge gap, from Norway to Zimbabwe, with stop-overs in Egypt. This due to the fact that I have family in Zimbabwe. Part of this learning journey was also to take partn in in TeleCom conference in South Africa, and to meet with Librarians in Zimbabwe and other educational institutions. Without any doubt, my reality was anchored in my pregnancy and I gave birth to my daughter summer 1998.

Through the encounter with Steinar Brenden and the Learning Network of Norway and the international Society for Organizational Learning, I was introduced to the work of excellent thinkers as Peter Senge and others involved in the "dance of change" on a global level. All this happened in fun, joyful and energetic path, with a deep dedication and trust of a future success.

Even surer of the success in building a sustainable enterprise was to be found in the destiny of agreening with Göran Gennvi and Magdy Hefny, when we founded 360hub Lighthouse Incorporated Society August 16, 2001, Stockholm. As the private founding partner of this cooperative we extended our network to a few dedicated corporate partners, like Mounir Neamatalla (Environmental Quality International, Egypt), Bo Gyllenpalm (SOL Sweden), Thomas Palmer (Scanworld Sweden) and Steinar Brenden (Foresight/ SOL Norway). The artist Alex Flett from Scottland was also very supportive in the work, and still is. As a cooperative the juridical structures were welcoming the best of two world - earning money on co-creating of ideas and a way of taking a joint copyright on the the products manifested.

Here is the draft outline of the webpage from that time: - 20002

In July 2002 we organized the 360HUB Lighthouse event at Bibliotheca Alexandrina, as one of the first activities within the new complex. The conference was small, but indeed important for the youth that participated and kicked-off a process that lead up to the launch of Youth Employment Summit (YES) Campaign and the Earth Summit in Johannesburg.

The theme of the 360HUB Event 2002 - "Blue Planet, Green Footprint; man's peace process with nature".

On our webpage we stated:

";...there is a place between the past and the future, where people meet. They are interested in lessons learned from the past and what kind of wisdom will sustain into the future. This meeting point is called 360hub. People gather on this hub to share knowledge, learn and get inspiration to be creative and innovative for betterment for all of them.

This 360hub is like a lighthouse, stretching itself from earth towards the sky, and sending sparkles to far away places. The land of the past is like universal library containing all the wisdom of man and the universe. It is a place where man can see a fragment of the cosmos, both in the small cells of dust both on the Earth and on Mars. On this edge on the land of the past, from the top of the lighthouse, they see both the alarming red sign of sharks, sunken rocks and the green lights for possible paths to follow.

They search and collect for learning journeys to store in the universal library, but nothing is more important than to look ahead and to see all the way as seven generation ahead. What are the gifts they would like to give to their children's children? This is not an easy answer, because humankind is very diverse and challenges are complex, but they are looking for the guidance of the green light to find a way to make the green footprint on the land of the past";

Here is the link to the invitation:

360Hub Event

I was so happy and thrilled at the time, and accepted with joy the offer from Mounir Neamatalla to work at Environmental Quality International in Cairo. My daughter and I moved October 2002 to Cairo with deep and keen dedication to continue, and nourish the seeds of 360HUB Lighthouse.

The "digital lighthouse" manifested itself in this way: 2003

With dedication a beta-site for "people connect" was established, accessible in English and Arabic. At that time in 2002 and 2003, and still is, we know how important it is to encourage the dialogues of understanding between "the west and the rest".

Here is the link to the "blogging community" created in Cairo, 360hub people connect.

I went back to Norway, Molde, for December with the dedication to get back to Cairo in January. I did not! My batteries went flat!

However, I still continued to work from Norway and took part in initiating video conferences where Chief Oren Lyon talked with dedication on "Climate Change" and "technology for 7 generations":

Video Webcast

Naturakademin. and Marratech was essential in that process. So was also my emerging partnership with Else Marie Gulseth, whom I established the company Gull & Sten DA. Magdy Hefny was also with us in Molde, and supported us in the work of creating different projects and products - "sustainable and green innovation".

The cooperative 360Hub Lighthouse suffered due to lack of resources and any commercial leverage. By 12 December 2003 the work collapsed totally. No money to keep the 360hub website running, it turned into a porn site over the night(!)

In chock, I still continued to work. A last effort to create "new digital lighthouse" came as a version of a dot-coop on the internet. The word hub went away, and emerged as the new website. Still, I would say only looked upon by myself and invisible for everyone that once shared the same vision.

In our in doing a projectpartnership with Global Environmental Youth Convention (GEYC) in 2004 in the city of Alexandria, we even failed to take part or even to be recognized in building the momentum of the event. Sorry to admit, I have not even been in touch with Carl Foung or Birgitta Norden from the the International Institute of Industrial Environmental Economics since then.

Doing a google research on the internet today, May 2007, this story about the digital lighthouse of Alexandria is gone. However, as an idea still vibrant and with hubpages it has a potential to build its momentum again - to rise from the ashes again like a phoenix - and to promote diverse initiatives of learning, projects and enterprising as part of the roads to meet our common challenges of climate change and sustainable living on Earth - to nourish life in our duty to respect the laws of nature.

One of the world`s best sustainable hubs in its 360 degrees journey around the world you access it from these two website:



Let me also express a thank you to the Internet Archive, and indirectly Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Without its capacity to store the historical record of old websites, all the digital documentation of 360hub Lighthouse initiative would be gone. To ensure you, I do have all the work documented in a paperbased archive together with videos and photos, but the digital backups are more or less non existing.

The highest leverage of this learning journey of 10 years, for good and bad, is to be found in the change within me and my own process of lifelong learning.

At a profound level a hub is like a fireplace, where we come together with our friends and family to talk and laugh. A lifestyle of health and sustainability starts in our backyard - it starts with ourselves.

I am thankful for the hupbages initiative. I will be able to tell the stories, show photos and videos - and to build stone by stone, project by project, and manifest a vision: to initiate a peace initiative orchestrated by ordinary people. The hubpage stories from 360hub will come from all paths of life, connecting hubs around the world - and in its essens connect people that live, breath, strive to cultivate a culture of peace.

Today I work 99% in the creative industry of International Fashion and Retailing - as part of a global popular culture that also work for sustainable develoment in its process of transformation from the inside.

Molde, 27 May 2007, Inger-Mette Stenseth


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