Advocating for Ethics Education for Children and the Right to Quality Education

In the period under review, we were invited to share expertise at nine different international events and co-organized five panel discussions and workshops.

Through these interventions, we reached more than 2,700 stakeholders, including representatives of United Nations agencies and Permanent Missions in Geneva, as well as representatives of governments, ministries of education, civil society and faith-based organizations, members of academia, educators, children and youth.

Geneva Peace Week 2022: Prevention of Violence Against Children in the School Environment

Arigatou International – Geneva has been participating in the Geneva Peace Week since 2018, organizing different workshops and panel discussions to bring up reflections and collect ideas and good practices on key topics related to ethics education and children’s rights.

This year, together with Safe to Learn, we organized the workshop, “Prevention of Violence Against Children in the School Environment,” to raise awareness of the impact of violence in school settings.

The workshop took place on November 1, 2021 with 50 participants from over 20 countries. The session highlighted the importance of safe learning environments for children’s development and well-being.  

Arigatou International presented its Ethics Education framework and described how it can be used to support the social, emotional and spiritual development of children. The framework can help to address violence in schools, challenge bullying, discrimination and xenophobia, and strengthen teachers’ capacity to create dialogue and use inclusive and participatory methodologies. 

Participants helped brainstorm practical and innovative solutions to respond and prevent violence in schools, and learned about ways they can help advocate for violence-free schools in their communities and with their governments

Bespoke Peacebuilding Training: Advancing Peaceful Co-existence in Nigeria

Over 250 Rotarians and peace advocates from across Nigeria gathered at the Bespoke Peacebuilding Training for Rotarians and Peace Advocates in Nigeria, held online on February 14–24, 2022.

The workshop aims to institutionalize Rotary peacebuilding methods and enable development experts to innovate, implement and monitor intervention programs that would advance peaceful co-existence and establish peace infrastructures in rural and urban communities.

The Bespoke Peacebuilding Training was organized in liaison with the four Rotary International Districts in Nigeria, UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), Institute for Economy and Peace (IEP) and Arigatou International – Geneva in partnership with the African Union.

Strengthening Children’s Voices: A Collaboration with End Child Poverty

In June 2021, we carried out a training workshop for 23 teachers in Khartoum, Sudan. The workshop aimed at building capacities to establish Peace Clubs for children, with the overarching goal of strengthening social cohesion and advance the freedom of religion and belief. 

The workshop was held in the framework of a collaboration between Arigatou International’s End Child Poverty initiative, Sudan Council of Churches, Sudan Interreligious Council and the Regional Peace Programme (RPP) nested partners.

Inclusive Education for Migrants and Refugees: A Side Event at the 47th Session of the Human Rights Council

The panel discussion “Inclusive Education for Migrants and Refugees” was organized by Arigatou International – Geneva, the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies, KAICIID International Dialogue Centre, and the Government of Cyprus, with representatives of UNHCR, UNESCO, UNICEF, the governments of Lebanon and Greece, and World Vision International.

The panel was held online on June 14, 2021, gathering more than 130 people from 45 countries.

The distinguished group of panelists reflected on the challenges to and opportunities for supporting the implementation of educational policies and programs that foster inclusive education as a central response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. They identified good practices of how education can foster learning to live together in societies amid the increasing distrust, xenophobia and discrimination affecting migrants and refugees, and shared successful policies and programs.

The panelists analyzed the key factors in implementing inclusive education for migrants and refugees. They highlighted financing and system strengthening, recognizing the cultural background of refugees as part of education, and including teacher remuneration and training costs in the education sector plan and budgeting.

The discussion revealed a collective aspiration to provide education that is inclusive of migrant and refugee children. It also evidenced the pressing need to work in partnership to match the pace and scale of the challenge.

“We need to think on how to protect the right of education, include these groups into the national education system, tailor programs for their needs, and prepare the teachers to deal with the different needs, and to address the diversity and the hardship of the refugees.”

Dr. Fadi Yarak,
Director General of Education, Ministry of Education & Higher Education, Lebanon

“Education is key for economic, social and cultural integration for refugees and migrants and hosts community. Ultimately, in UNICEF we believe it’s the most important investment for a better life.”

Afshan Khan,
UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe

Faith and Child Safeguarding Summit

Arigatou International supported the organization of the Faith and Child Safeguarding Summit, a platform for religious institutions, faith-based organizations, academics, and religious leaders to come together, and exchange insights, experiences, challenges and best practices on child safeguarding in religious and faith-based contexts.

Spread over four days, with 93 international speakers, and nearly 2,000 attendees, this summit took place on November 8–11, 2021 and was specifically designed to help give faith organizations a platform to demonstrate their commitment to child safeguarding.

Maria Lucia Uribe, Executive Director, Arigatou International – Geneva, moderated an interfaith panel entitled, “Faith, Spirituality and Child Safeguarding: An Interfaith Conversation around Preventing Spiritual Abuse,” on November 8, 2021.

“There is a critical need to protect children who are victims of spiritual abuse, and therefore to create mechanisms or systems to ensure their protection. We also need to empower children to speak up to protect others and to develop their resilience,” she said in her opening remarks.

An interfaith panel moderated by Silvia Mazzarelli, GNRC Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Vera Leal, Head of Programs, Arigatou International – Geneva, was held on November 11, 2021. The session was entitled, “Enhancing Child Safeguarding in Faith Communities through Child Participation: Multi-faith Perspectives Across Regions,” and it looked at child participation as a central pillar of child safeguarding.

Members and partners of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia shared their experiences on the practical application of child participation and implications for violence prevention and response in Buddhist, Christian and Muslim communities.

A voice from our team:

One of our main objectives is to start conversations, raise awareness and help people in important positions take the right decision for children. Working towards advocating for children’s rights and ethics education has always been a personal goal and I look forward to seeing the results of our work.

Vedika Shukla,
Advocacy and External Relations Officer,
Arigatou International — Geneva

We were invited to speak at various international events:

Intercultural Mindfulness as a Core Value in Inclusive Education

May 19, 2021

Organized by: AISA and SIETAR Switzerland

2021 ISPCAN Milan Virtual Congress: The Role of Faith Communities in Preventing Violence in Child Upbringing

June 8, 2021

Organized by: ISPCAN

Launch of Art Therapy Program

June 22, 2021

Organized by: Shanti Ashram

Second Asia Regional Conference on Ending Violence Against Children During COVID-19 and Beyond

November 1–5, 2021

Organized by: UNICEF, End Violence Partnership, and World Health Organization

Act Now for Children​

November 16, 2021

Organized by: World Vision Middle East and Eastern Europe

Postgraduate Workshop: Methodologies for Peace Building for Children, Adolescents and Youth – Learning to Live Together and Prevention of Child Abuse​

November 4, 2021

Organized by: Subsecretary of Religious Affairs, Mexico, in collaboration with the Institute José María Luis Mora

Lecture on Child Rights

November 4, 2021

Organized by: World Council of Churches

Colloquium: The Convergence of Science and Theology​

February 16, 2022

Organized by: University of Notre Dame’s Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child