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Learning to Live Together Training Workshop

A training workshop on the use of the Learning to Live Together Manual took place on 25 – 28 April in Geneva, Switzerland to introduce the participants to the material and to equip them with practical skills and understanding of the concepts and methodologies in the Manual.  Among participants were teachers, educators and individuals working with youth in Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Read more... The objective of the training workshop was to deepen the knowledge of the pedagogical tool for intercultural and interfaith ethics education. Participants were re-introduced to the main concepts highlighted in the Manual and also deepened their listening, facilitation and other skills important for working with children.

On the first day of the workshop, participants learned more about the Learning to Live Together Manual and its use for ethics education, interfaith learning and building social cohesion in contemporary societies. They familiarized themselves with the methodologies and the learning process at the basis of the pedagogical material, set goals and expectations and discussed spirituality and other concepts and ideas as part of an engaging activity called ‘interfaith café’.

The next day started with a meditation, aimed at enhancing one's empathy and listening skills. Following the meditation, participants were led to work on the first module of the Manual and to internalize values and concepts highlighted in the 'kiosks' of Learning to Live Together. Activities related to ‘Acknowledge myself in relation to others’ allowed the participants to reflect on their own identity and interconnectedness with others. A session related to the kiosk ‘Putting myself in another’s shoes’ was developed to recognize ones own prejudices and emphatize with others.  ‘Can we just get along’, another of the Module’s kiosks, was explored to analyse discrimination in school in Europe due to religious or cultural backgrounds.  At the end of the day participants formed a ‘reflection circle’ and shared what they learned. 

The third day emphasized the differences between facilitation and teaching, and participants engaged in role-playing activities. They took part in ‘listening’ and ‘facilitation’ exercises and strengthened skills for listening to the needs, views and perspectives of children. The rest of the day was spent on preparing a group activity. The four groups came up with their original concepts of a learning session based on the Learning to Live Together Manual. Representing diverse cultural and religious beliefs, participants put into practice new skills and knowledge while capitalizing on their diversity. This exercise was followed by a special musical evening.
On the last day of the workshop, participants successfully delivered their own sessions that drew on resources proposed in the Manual as well as on their own ideas. Participants engaged in role-playing overcoming imaginary handicaps, story-telling, performances of traditional folktales, and discussions on respect, responsibility and reconciliation. 

Participants received feedback and shared observations. The discussions at the end of the workshop allowed each participant to focus on individual improvement and common projects ahead.  Ms. Marta Palma, GNRC Coordinator in Europe thanked the participants and facilitators for their motivation to contribute to the work of the GNRC and read a message from Rev. Miyamoto, Representative of the Arigatou Foundation, who thanked the participanta for their work and encouraged them to continue working for the well being of children. 

The venue provided a nurturing environment, with ability to be and learn outdoors, and participants left Geneva inspired to do more in their classrooms, communities and countries.