For a third consecutive year, Arigatou International Geneva participated at the Geneva Peace Week, which has held online from 2 to 6 November 2020. This year’s theme was “Rebuilding trust after disruption: Pathways to reset international cooperation” with the aim of galvanizing leadership, building trust, and working towards international collaboration in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like many events during these past months, the initiative was forced to be moved online but that didn’t deter participants from taking active roles in forging ahead. This year’s event commenced on the 2nd of November and would touch upon a range of themes including harnessing the economy for peace, peacebuilding beyond COVID-19, building a culture of peace and the role of digital technology in securing peace. Arigatou International Geneva was honored to be invited to participate in these dialogues and hosted a workshop on 2 November 2020 entitled “Learning to Live Together – How educators can create safe, inclusive and empowering learning environments that foster social cohesion, a sense of belonging to a larger community and interconnectedness among learners”.
The workshop was moderated by Ms. Maria Lucia Uribe, Executive Director of Arigatou International Geneva, and included speakers such as Mr. Mark Manns, Associate Programme Specialist, UNESCO Bangkok, Ms. Mary Kangethe, Director of Education Programs, Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, Mr. Suchith Abeyewickreme, Ethics Education Program Coordinator, Arigatou International Geneva, and Ms. Vera Leal, Ethics Education Senior Program Officer, Arigatou International Geneva.
The workshop consisted of an interactive activity where participants explored how the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the interconnectedness of the world affecting people both on a global and local level. The aim was to ask participants to reflect on pre-existing social inequalities and how they have been exacerbated given the current pandemic. Using these reflections as a jumping-off point a discussion was then held regarding the role that education can play in fostering social cohesion, as well as a sense of belonging, and interconnectedness.
During these discussions, participants were familiarized with several tools including the Learning to Live Together Programme, and the Happy Schools Framework for Learner Well-Being that are at the forefront of a transformative pedagogy that can foster children’s socio-emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
The goal of the workshop was to highlight to the participants the positive role that education should play in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people through the creation of spaces that foster a sense of inclusivity, empathy, and solidarity. In creating these spaces children are provided meaningful opportunities to participate and collaborate achieving a greater sense of agency and an arena in which they can put this agency into practice.
We would like to thank all those who participated in the workshop, including our speakers and moderators. We would also like to thank the Geneva Peace Building Platform, without whom none of this would have been possible, for inviting Arigatou International to be part of this inspiring week. We hope to continue our collaboration next year and look forward to another week of learning and knowledge exchange.