Ethics Education Newsletter - October 2014

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Ethics Education for Children

Enhancing children's innate ability to make positive contributions

Issue Nº 5 - October 2014  
Dear friends,

Welcome to the October edition of the Arigatou International - Ethics Education Newsletter.  In this issue Arigatou International Geneva is pleased to share with you news from the last four months, ranging from training workshops, new good practices, video of the Learning to Live Together, updates from the field and from our Interfaith Council.

During the last months, the Arigatou International Geneva office focused on delivering training workshops in new locations where the Learning to Live Together Programme had not yet reached. The first South East Asia Regional workshop took place in August bringing participants from Bhutan, Indonesia, Lao, Japan, Myanmar, the Phillippines and Thailand, and developing collaborations with several organizations from these countries to initiate systematic implementations of ethics education programs to support violence prevention in the region. Workshops in Mauritius, Chile, Brazil also took place reaching to new audiences and promoting interfaith learning and action.

During this period an important collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Kenya and the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, was initiated to bring the Learning to Live Together Programme to areas affected by violence and tribal clashes in the country.  A Train the Trainers course was organized with officers of the Ministry of Education, followed by a training of teachers in the Tana River county.  Arigatou International Geneva is excited about this collaboration that supports our efforts to work in areas affected by violence and make inroads in formal education.  In our next newsletter edition we will be sharing more information about this collaboration.  

As violent conflicts, violence and diseases continue to affect the lives of children and youth around the world, we invite you to join us in prayer, reflection, meditation and action, particularly in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Central African Republic, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestine, Israel, and Central America, to accompany, support and work with those most in need.  

Let us work together to continue our efforts to prevent violence, protect and empower our children and youth and making a difference in their lives. 

In peace,

Maria Lucia Uribe
Director Arigatou International - Geneva
Inside this issue
Peacebuilding through Learning to Live Together

In a speech given in New York in 2012 for the Peace Islands Institute, Mrs. Agneta Ucko, former Director of Arigatou International and current Vice-Chair of the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children, discusses the value of education in peace building.

The theme of the event was “Peace as a Shared Ideal of the International Community.” Mrs. Ucko underlines the impact communities have on the individual and how education could be used as a tool to help build a peaceful society where we must learn to live together. The excerpt below gives a brief overview of her speech.

“Today we can say that every society is a multi-cultural society, or pluralistic. We have people from different cultures, beliefs, affiliated to different religious or secular value systems. It is in these communities that we form our society. It is from these people that we draw the ideals and visions for how we should live together, how to make peace, what we shouldn’t and should do to the other to make the place where we live a better world. I think that is where the community becomes an underlying factor where peace becomes a shared ideal for us living together.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, gives us a directive for peace and understanding. Stating that ‘Education shall be directed to the full development of the personality and to strengthening the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Education should promote understating, respect and friendship among all nations and religious groups. This becomes the fundamental principle to ensure a quality education that can help developing children abilities to live peacefully together with others and embrace diversity.’”

To listen to the whole video please click here
New Publication - Learning to Play Together
The Learning to Play Together good practice booklet has officially been launched and is now available in English, Greek and Spanish.  

The booklet showcases the adaptation and use of the Learning to Live Together Programme in physical education in a multicultural school in Athens.  The Learning to Play Together programme was developed in Greece in 2011 by Dr Angeliki Aroni, Physical Education teacher, official trainer of Arigatou International and expert on intercultural education. 

This is an excellent tool for those interested in using games and sports to promote mutual understanding and respect as well as fostering ethical values in children through play, critical reflections, collaboration and action.

The main objectives of Learning to Play Together are to: foster self-esteem and empowerment; facilitate interethnic contact and social cohesion; promote respect by challenging gender and ethnic stereotypes; and promote a culture of peace and coexistence.

Continue reading...

Interfaith Council
Interfaith Council Meeting in Athens, Greece

The second Interfaith Council meeting took place from 3 to 5 June 2014 in Athens, Greece.

The Interfaith Council members provided several recommendations for the strategic development of the Ethics Education Initiative, particularly related to improve the pool of Learning to Live Together trainers to widen the language and geographical scope; the use of technology to support training and provide remote support to facilitators; and partner with other organizations working on similar topics to create a higher impact.  

The Interfaith Council will also be focusing its work on two important strategies:  Strenghening Family Systems and Global Citizenship.  Two working groups have been created on these topics to develop the framework of each program and provide recommendations for the Secretariat to design strategic actions during the coming year.   

Two side events were also organized to complement the meeting:  A panel discussion on “Interfaith Education in Predominant Mono-religious Societies – the Case of Greece”  with representatives of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and teachers.  The panel provided reflections on the importance of the topic, the challenges and the efforts made by the Ministry to ensure freedom of religion and the inclusion of religious minorities in the country.  Reflections were also held about  the current financial crisis and the climate of xenophobia and discrimination against minority groups and immigrants. 
A guided tour on Ethics in Old Greece was also organized. 

Special thanks to Dr Angelos Vallianatos for hosting the meeting. 

The next Interfaith Council meeting will be held in Tokyo, Japan in June 2015.
In focus
Learning to Live Together Training for Teachers in Romania

Since September 2014 more than 100 teachers in Bucharest have been trained on how to use the Learning to Live Together Programme to develop skills to design and implement ethics education programs. Some of the teachers have already begun using the Learning to Live Together approach, methodologies and activities in their classes. Special emphasis has been given to implementation in schools with a high level of violence or discrimination of Roma and disadvantaged children. 

Four schools in Bucharest are now committed to implementing the programme in a systematic way: in each school at least three teachers will coordinate and run ethics education programs. Children from primary and secondary school will be actively involved in sessions organized two to four times in a monthly basis. 
The main thematic areas the public schools' programs will tackle are child rights, values, violence and discrimination of children with disabilities. 
The Learning to Live Together Facilitator Training Workshop in Mauritius 
Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean rich in diversity with a fusion of Indian, African, European and Chinese cultures, and the presence of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and several other faith groups. It is in this context that the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), in collaboration with the Arigatou International Geneva office, organized a workshop in Port Louis, Mauritius from 12 - 14 August for representatives of faith groups, education institutes and NGOs to be introduced to the Learning to Live Together Ethics Education programme for children.  
First South Asia Regional Workshop on the Learning to Live Together Programme

From 2 - 5 August, the first South East Asia Regional workshop on the Learning to Live Together Programme was held in Bangkok for 25 participants from Bhutan, Indonesia, Japan, Lao, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand. 

The workshop was held in Bangkok in collaboration with the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies of Mahidol University.  The objectives of the workshop were to introduce the participants to the educational framework and approach of the Learning to Live Together Programme, develop skills to conduct ethics education activities with children and youth, and design concrete plans to develop a systematic implementation back in their countries.  The workshop was the first regional workshop in South East Asia and aimed to bring the Learning to Live Together to new locations and promote interfaith collaboration for violence prevention. 
GNRC-Chile Ethics Education Programme expands to four cities  

The city of Concepción in Chile was the host of a workshop on Ethics Education between the 14 and 19 of July 2014. This was part of a series of workshops in Latin America and the Caribbean that promote “building a culture of peace in the family, school and community.” 

Participants from Santiago, Concepción, Tome and Valdivia got committed to the GNRC mission and were trained in the conceptual and pedagogical approaches of Learning to Live Together. The training provided opportunities for discussions about the challenges children and youth face, the violence that affects them, as well as created spaces for interreligious dialogue with emphasis on spirituality.
Fourth GNRC Workshop on Ethics Education in Brazil hosted in Salvador, State of Bahia

The fourth GNRC Learning to Live Together (LTLT) workshop in Brazil took place in Salvador, in the state of Bahia, from 4 to 8 June 2014. Seven institutions coming from different religious backgrounds participated in the workshop . The objective was to develop knowledge and skills in the participants to systematically implement the programme with children and youth and for those organizations working with families, to design ethics education programs with parents and caregivers.  

The seven institutions participating stated: “We are an inter-institutional group for the education of children and youth. Our aim is to help nurture and develop individuals to become key players in contributing to the promotion of citizenship, human rights and faith building; at the same time respecting each others' religion and cultural backgrounds.” 
Stories from the field
Learning to Live Together Projects Taking off in India

This time stories from the field shares the inspiring ethics education projects taking off in India after a Facilitator Training Workshop on the Learning to Live Together (LTLT) programme that was hosted by our partner Shanti Ashram from Coimbatore on 27 – 30 June.  

The workshop brought together 30 young volunteers and teachers from 14 institutions, coming from different educational backgrounds and from Christian, Hindu and Muslim religious communities. While majority of the participants were from Coimbatore, there were also participants from several other cities in India including Chennai, Kochi and Delhi.

After the training, several projects have been initiated by the participants, including the development of support activities using the Learning to Live Together Programme for a project titled Solutions Exchange from Shanti Ashram that aims to strengthen children's capacity to propose and develop poverty solutions and intitiatives to tackle violence.  Additionally projects to empower parents and strengthen family systems have also been created in Coimbatore and Chennai. 
Read more in our archive section
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  Did you know?
Did you know that a new video about the Learning to Live Together Programme is now available online?

It explains in a friendly and simple way what the programme is about, the approach, objectives and use.  

In a time when conflicts are increasingly fuelled by religious fundamentalism, lack of mutual understanding and respect, negative prejudices and stereotypes, learning to live together becomes not only a need but a priority in our societies.

Click here to see and share the video.
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  Forthcoming events

Introductory Workshop on the Learning to Live Together to be held in New York City - 17 November

Arigatou International in collaboration with Hartford Seminary is organising a one day meeting on Ethics Education - The Missing Piece in Interfaith Education and Peacebuilding Efforts. The meeting will host a panel with Dr Heidi Hadsell, President Hartford Seminary, Ms Agneta Ucko, Vice-Chair Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children; Ms Jane Rechtman, Board member at the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education, and Dr Ilham Nasser, Associate Professor George Mason University, Virginia.

The Learning to Live Together Programme of Arigatou International, developed in close collaboration with UNESCO and UNICEF, will be presented, and discussions about its educational approach, examples and impact will be discussed as well.

Click here for more information and RSVP by 12 November at 
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  Past Events

The Learning to Live Together Programme making inroads in formal education in Kenya
Arigatou International Geneva has initiated a collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Kenya and the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa to bring the Learning to Live Together Programme to schools in Kenya located in areas affected by violence and tribal clashes.  A series of training workshops were held in September for officers of the Ministry and teachers from the Tana River county.  
Launch of the Learning to Live Togeher in Romanian
The launch was organized by Sol Mentis Foundation in collaboration with the Romanian National Commission for UNESCO and Arigatou International Geneva.  More than 40 guests, including representatives of the National Ministry of Education, NGOs, schools and religious institutions participated in the launch.
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  Voices of Children and Youth

Students from Amalina Islamic School in Banten, Indonesia
"I've learned from this workshop how we work together and how to communicate with people we just met. This workshop is so much fun, every activity that was included in the workshop was so meaningful. What I've learned from living in peace is joyful and life gets so much better when peace is around. I really hope that everyone understands why peace is really important..."
Anisa Rafi D.
"I felt excited, because I now know a lot of things about ethics and values, and I know what is to be blind because you only depend on people near you. If the people don’t care about you then you will feel desperate. For me, peace is not just a word because if you can't keep peace, there will be destruction and riots."

Kenzie Mafazi A.
"I was very excited to join this workshop because I learned a lot of things to live together with other people who have different religion, faith, culture and race. If we can make peace with other people, we can live in harmony and peace environment."
M. Nawal Mumtaz
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  Arigatou International - Geneva Team Welcomes New Staff Members

Mr. Valter Hugo Muniz, Communications Consultant. Mr.Muniz is in charge of the development of communication strategies. Particularly he will be coordinating the production of a video on violence against children as part of our work with the NGO Working Group on Children and Violence and as a follow-up of the High Level Panel on the topic that took place in Geneva during the 27th session of the Human Rights Council.
Ms. Ola Kasneci, new Communications Intern. Ms Kasneci will be in charge of the development of the Newsletter in English and Spanish, attending meetings at the UN during the Human Rights Council, supporting the coordination of the Working Group on Children and Violence and providing any other support in the development of communication strategies. 

Ms. Ornella Barros, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator for our Ethics Education Programme, as part of a fellowship program of Arigatou International that aims to provide opportunities for talented young people to develop further skills and knowledge on a concrete area of interest while contributing to the development of strategic areas for our office. Ms Barros will be coordinating the monitoring and evaluation of ethics education programs in 12 locations and providing technical support to our partners. 

Click here to meet the team
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