Local, Barbara Trotman Shares Her Memories Of Being A Student Of The Late Edward De Bono.
As part of our GITH Woman Series, we spoke with Barbara Trotman, a Bachelor Of Communications who lives in Nadur with her dog Teddy. As well as forming an NGO to help Gozitan residents with underprivileged backgrounds improve their English she has too quite the background. At a chance encounter at Zeppi’s in Qala, she was giving a personal obituary to the late, great Edward De Bono on the day of his funeral. Totally touched by her words and the story we asked her to share this with us and she kindly obliged.
A Beautiful Funeral
Way back in 1997 when I was reading my Bachelor of Communication Studies at the University of Malta, I noticed a flyer in the student’s office about a course in Creativity & Innovation and thought it looked really inspiring. Some years later after I’d returned to Malta after working in the rat race in London for 2 years, I came back in 2004 and started my Master of Arts at the Edward de Bono Institute for the Design and Development of Thinking at the University of Malta. I have to say that I really enjoyed every moment of the course in Malta but didn’t realize before applying that it was actually the pilot course for this particular M.A.
We had brilliant lecturers and our head of the institute at the time, Dr. Sandra Dingli, in addition to being an excellent teacher, was also the editor of many of Edward de Bono’s books on Creative Thinking. She became more like a friend to me and most of my fellow students at that time. We had Visiting Lecturers from across the globe and they helped us find books that weren’t easily available in Malta back then. But the key moment was when Edward de Bono himself lectured us.
My memories of Edward
Edward was the most incredible man. He had a fondness for brightly coloured ties and socks and always looked well-groomed but when he spoke to us he was absolutely fascinating. In addition to lecturing us several times he also joined us at social gatherings and was always amusing and charming. I’ve been trying hard to find photos of a special evening when we all met at a wine bar in Valletta but sadly, haven’t been lucky so far.
During that two-year course, I was awarded an Erasmus scholarship. and I went to East Germany to an area called Brandenburg to write a comparative study of customer care which focussed on the comparison between there and Malta. It was a tough time as my grant didn’t arrive until after I returned 4 months later (in spite of Malta-based friends phoning the fund office and telling them I was starving!). But I met some great people and I’m still in touch with them nearly 15 years later.
My fantastic mentor, Professor Brenda Murphy kept me sane while I was homesick, and made me laugh while I was there as I was getting homesick and the two months of snow drove me absolutely crazy. When I returned to Malta, just before Christmas, I was over the moon to be home and I soon started writing my M. A. dissertation which is entitled: Retail Therapy? The Importance of Creativity in Customer Service in a Competitive Market. A Qualitative Study.
his legacy will continue
I last saw Edward alive at a cinema in Qawra. He was accompanied by a Gozitan lady called Justyne who cared for him at his home in Rabat, Malta until he died.
But just a month or so ago, I was talking to a very bright twelve-year-old called Akim. He lives near me in Nadur. He was asking lots of questions and wanted to know where he could study in the future. We spoke about the famous Edward de Bono and that he had written over 100 books that had been translated into 43 languages. I lent my young friend a copy of Edward’s book ‘Simplicity’ and an hour later I heard the sad news that this brilliant man had died.
I still get shivers now, thinking how coincidental that was. That evening I was helping out my friend Sonia in Zeppi’s bar in Qala as it was her opening night after the long Covid shut down and she was super busy. She allowed me to pay a short tribute to Edward de Bono and many people after told me they were proud to be Maltese. One young lady from Hanoi who is currently studying Design in Austria said she was actually even interested in taking the M.A. course at Malta University.
When I heard that I had been invited to Edward’s funeral in Mdina Cathedral on Saturday 19th June, I felt incredibly privileged. Only one hundred people were invited and although it was very sad, the service was a celebration of his life and his magnificent achievements. It was a beautiful, bittersweet ceremony. In addition to family members, Leonie, who is now head of the Institute of Thinking and a real superstar, bravely spoke about this great man. In my opinion, Edward was the greatest thinker of his era and will never be forgotten. It was an honour to be one of his students.
Words: Barbara Trotman | Editor: GITH
About Edward De Bono
‘Dr. Edward de Bono, the originator of the term Lateral Thinking, dedicated his life to inspiring, encouraging, and enabling us to be better and more creative thinkers. He created The Six Thinking Hats® method to enable individuals and teams to be more receptive to new ideas and to develop them constructively.
The de Bono methods are a means of breaking old patterns and creating new ones. We don’t tell you what to think but we show you how to think for yourself, both creatively and inclusively. debono.com