Namaste from India! A lot has happened since my last blog post, things have picked up the speed as the ‘Capacity-Building Workshop for Educators on Prevention of Violent Extremism’ is just around the corner. Everyone is on their toes preparing the list of resources for the workshop, country reports to know different forms of extremism that exist in all the participating nations, doing budgeting and a lot more. We are visiting the hotel to ensure everything is in place and, above all, eagerly waiting to hear from the participants about the status of their visa application.
The Institute jointly with the UNESCO Headquarters is organizing this workshop as a follow-up activity to the international conference on the Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education: Taking Action held in September 2016 in New Delhi. Ten nations—Australia, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Finland, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Zambia—are going to be a part of this event.
The workshop aims to engage the participating nations in a three-year pilot study and to train and empower educators in applying innovative and evidence-based pedagogies to address violent extremism through education, including increasing empathy and compassion in students and educators.
Last month, on July 4, at 3rd Asia Pacific Meeting on Education 2030 (APMED III) in Bangkok, UNESCO MGIEP and UNICEF brought together more than 200 participants, from education ministries, INGOs, NGOs and civil society organizations. This meeting was focused on Sustainable Development Goal 4 target 7 and was aimed to clarify the key elements of SDG 4.7 for the Member States as well as enhance their capacity to mainstream the target at all levels of education and into their national policies, plans, curricula, teaching and learning practices and assessment. At this meeting, UNESCO MGIEP launched ‘Textbooks for Sustainable Development: A Guide to Embedding’, an international guidebook on embedding concepts of peace, sustainable development and global citizenship that offers concrete guidance for authors of mathematics, science, language and geography textbooks on how to ‘embed’ these issues in the textbook content.
What is exciting about UNESCO MGIEP is that it not just focuses on issues at the policy and governmental level but also realizes that a lot can be done by introducing changes at the school level. The Transformative Learning Labs programme launched by the Institute connects students from varied social, cultural and economic backgrounds and help them engage in dialogue with school children from other parts of the world while allowing them to share ideas and drive their own learning on issues related to peace and sustainable development. On July 16, the second phase of the program involved 10 students from 5 countries (India, Malaysia, Norway, South Africa and the US) who met each other for the first time after interacting online to come together and share their experiences and learning from the program. It was interesting to see the students create a film named ‘Candy Chaos’ that highlights the oneness of humankind and similarities despite differences.
Currently, the world has the largest youth population ever before (and the number is expected to increase), MGIEP’s YESPeace network is working to involve youth in the process of peace-building on the International Youth Day (August 12). The UN Youth Envoy is going to visit the Institute next week to talk about how we can empower youth to make difference.
Despite the heat, it is getting exciting in New Delhi and I am enjoying the work and some breaks from work! This month, this was all that UNESCO MGIEP had to offer and next month, I will update you all with the pictures and outcome of the ‘Capacity-Building Workshop on Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education’ in my next blog post. Thank you for following our blog!