|In This Issue – August 2010||
Issue Number Thirty Eight
ALIVE President's Message: The LVE International Community Meeting, a new Board of Directors, and exploring the way forward.
Australia: Living Values – A Baby Boomer’s Dream Come True?
Australia: The Man in the Mirror – A Parent’s Perspective
Paraguay: New Partnerships Allow LVE to Reach More Children, Parents and Communities at Risk
Saudi Arabia: LVE Introduced to Leaders in Education Field
Vietnam: LVE Teams with World Vision – A Role-Play of Children at Camp in Hai PhongVietnam: LVE To Be Integrated Into Secondary Schools in 63 Provinces of Vietnam
Welcome to the thirty-eighth issue of Living Values e-News, the electronic newsletter of the Association for Living Values Education International.
ALIVE – Our LVE International Community Meeting, a new Board of Directors, and exploring the way forward.
Loving greetings to all.
2010 has been a busy year for ALIVE as you will see from the news that different groups have provided for this newsletter. It is wonderful to see that Living Values Education is being introduced to so many in different parts of the world.
The annual LVE International Community Meeting, this year hosted by Bond zonder Naam (BzN) in Antwerp, Belgium,13-16 April, was exceptional. Anniek Gavriilakis and her LVE colleague at BzN, Patrik Somers, along with BzN Directors Patrick Hanjoul and Marleen Dejonckheere, arranged a conference that was beautifully organized, creative and full of love, intellectual stimulation and happiness. It was complete with not only wonderful speeches, world-café dialogues and the opportunity to dialogue with 27 LVE representatives from 19 countries around the world, but the chance to meet with teachers and leaders from Belgium, Dr. Terry Lovat from Australia, and children that have been doing LVE on skates with red balloons. An example of the exceptionality displayed by the BzN team were three huge thumbprints painted on different windows, composed of values words in 14 different languages!
BzN, the Movement without a Name, has been in existence for 50 years and works to build values in many sectors of society in Belgium. It was Marleen and Patrick who came to the LVE International Community Meeting in Switzerland several years ago and selected LVE as the program to pilot in seven schools. They spearhead values work throughout Belgium, involving communities in values dialogues.
Pictures of the conference can be found at:
The ALIVE board meeting and General Assembly also went very well. We believe a smooth and cooperative plan for transition was achieved as eight of the directors stepped down because of term limits. At the General Assembly, five board members who were stepping down were asked to become members of the International Advisory Committee, Chris Drake, Neil Hawkes, Rula Kahil, Pilar Quera, and Diane Tillman. This creates a way for them to continue to help, as requested by the board, and to aid the transition to the new board of directors. The G.A. also approved the three people nominated to the board: Miriam Fozan from the United Arab Emirates, Roger (Raj) Miles from Australia and Shelagh Moore from the U.K. Marcus Moses from South Africa, who has been a member of the ALIVE board of directors for two years, was selected as the new president of ALIVE at a board meeting following the G.A. on 16 April.
In the last few months, the new board members are busy getting to know each other and the ALIVE Associates and Focal Points for LVE, as we start to develop plans for moving ALIVE forward to the next stage of its development. We will need the contributions of colleagues in all countries and will be sending out questions, ideas to you for your comments and feedback. We are also working out the different areas Board members can support so watch this space!
The current ALIVE Board Directors:
Markus Moses – email@example.com – ALIVE’s new President, is based in South Africa. He is looking at ways to develop ALIVE so that we have a model to take us through the next ten years in order to ensure our growth as an independent and active international group of Living Values Educators in the broadest sense. LVE has a lot to offer the education in both formal and non-formal settings, parents, communities and the business world.
Shelagh Moore – firstname.lastname@example.org – based in the UK, Europe, is starting to look after the website, interactive communication and the sharing and development of resources, supported by Gudrun Howard and guided by Diane Tillman.
Ester Khavous – email@example.com – based in Israel, is a continuing member of the board who is providing a continuity of experience and guidance. She has a great deal of expertise implementing LVE in schools, in health settings and in communities.
Miriam Fozen – firstname.lastname@example.org – based in the United Arab Emirates, is a new member of the board. She is currently implementing LVE in Kindergartens. She can be contacted for advice if you are in the Middle East.
Mirian Ginzo – email@example.com – based in Peru in South America, has forged active partnerships with media, the Ministry of Education and various agencies and universities to serve not only students in schools but children in difficult circumstances (street children).
Roger (Raj) Miles – firstname.lastname@example.org – based in Australia, enjoys conducting LVE workshops and developing ideas about making values more relevant to adults. He would like to attract more funding to LVE as he sees values education as an important means of building a better world for all. If you have any thoughts about this area, please contact him.
Rokhaya Diawara – based in Senegal, is a continuing member of the board who provides continuity and experience for the newer members. She has focused on providing LVE to early childhood educators and street educators.
ALIVE is at a point in its development that is both exciting and a little daunting. Having developed into an international movement of educators, with excellent resource materials and professional development courses, we now have to plan for the next decade. How do we move forward to a model that gives us a secure base from which to reach out to others, to build partnerships and set in place programmes that help our communities and foster international understanding and support? Ideas welcome!
Please do not hesitate to contact the Board members with your thoughts and ideas. A community that weighs ideas, discusses them and decides which way to go provides the basis for a healthy and positive ALIVE movement.
May I thank the previous Board members for all their achievements in developing and handing on ALIVE. Their contribution to LVE cannot be underestimated, the good they have done never be thanked enough.
With best wishes to you all and wishing you success in all your work with LVE.
Markus and Shelagh
When baby boomer, Norid Kraus, recently found herself wishing to give back to her community, she wondered how to proceed. There were so many needs – in the community, in her own region, in the country – from the very small needs for blankets and food among the people down the road, to the very large needs for houses and infrastructure at the latest site of devastation from a tsunami or an earthquake. As Kraus pondered where to begin, she writes, the solution was “right in our own heads and hearts! Who’d have thought? It’s called Living Values Education.”
Kraus first read about LVE in Living Now magazine and was intrigued to learn more. As a result, she signed up for a workshop and spent the weekend learning about this program. Krause enthuses, “The world is full of the most amazing things and this certainly has to be one of them. What is even more amazing is that I can be part of this education program, and the way I see it, this is a tiny (but giant) step towards world peace. You know the saying, ‘give a person a fish and they’ll eat for one day, but teach a person how to fish and they can provide for themselves for ever’. Well, to me, this Living Values Education is in the same footy field.”
She explains further, “If harmony prevails in a country or a region, then war cannot flourish. If harmony prevails in a community then infrastructure can be built by, rather than for, that community. If harmony prevails in a school, bullying simply drops away – no need for stern measures or punishment, itself a form of bullying.”
“I believe that we attract what we focus on – and if the focus is on selfishness and disrespect – then we have wars, arguments, boundary disputes with our neighbours and so on. Equally, if the focus is on respect, tolerance, freedom, cooperation, responsibility then we can ultimately live in harmony because fear and all its horrible relatives have been shown the door. We don’t mean to focus on disrespect etc., it just happens in our society – but these Values will bring about a change in focus,” continues Kraus.
“The great thing about this course is that it does not impose anything on the participants – it seeks simply to reveal what is already inside us, giving us tools to access the loveliness that is in us all. The course invites us to consider which feels better, assisting someone, or hating, slandering, or hurting someone? Unfortunately, we often give in to our baser instincts and while it may feel powerful and exhilarating for a moment, this quickly gives way to a feeling of emotional indigestion. The Living Values course works on the personal level first, and then enables participants, if desired, to move to the wider community and involve others in this truly human way of being and thinking.”
“Living Values Education is for individuals and communities at all levels. It benefits local schools, businesses, individuals or entire populations from the people of Indonesia to war torn citizens.” As Kraus states, “This is world peace, one person at a time – from the ground up.”
For baby boomers like Norid Krause who have the time and resources to follow their dream of “giving back”, becoming involved in Living Values may be an answer.
The implementation of Living Values Education is facilitated by the Association for Living Values Education International (ALIVE), a non-profit-making association of organizations around the world concerned with values education. Drawing on a strong volunteer base, the advancement and implementation of Living Values Education is supported by UNESCO and a host of other organizations, agencies, governmental bodies, foundations, community groups and individuals. It is part of the global movement for a culture of peace in the framework of the United Nations International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.
I’m starting with the man in the mirror,
I’m asking him to change his ways,
and no message could have been any clearer,
IF YOU WANT TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE,
TAKE A LOOK AT YOURSELF AND MAKE THE CHANGE!
“It’s no wonder that Living Values Education found me through my favorite song!,” noted Laura Re. “The message is not only clear, it’s true, and has been said again and again … ‘Be the change you want to see in the world!’ So why aren’t we getting it? We hear it, we all nod and say, ‘Yes, that sounds and feels true’ but how many of us still look outside of ourselves and seek change ‘out there’? Maybe the message is clear, but the ‘how to’ is not. How can we ‘Be the change?’ What if the ‘how to?’ was as clear as the message itself?
When I first immersed myself in Living Values in a back-to-back workshop marathon, I never imagined I would have such fun, experience such freedom of expression and engage in joyful activities of self-exploration and be radically transformed at the same time! I was used to personal development workshops being serious business.
The pearls of wisdom weaved throughout the entire program and the realisations sparked permanent change within myself. I was awakened to the power of simplicity, the beauty of unity and the grace of humility. The core values of peace, respect and honesty are not discussed as definitions or intellectual ideas, but are lived through experiential activities, games and creative reflection tools. You are really living them, not just talking about them.
When I arrived home after having been immersed in the workshop for a week, I instantly noticed a shift in the way I communicated with my two girls, aged 6 and 2. I felt an intimate connection with them as if we were on the same level. I had always regarded them as little people, but never truly saw the world through their eyes. I became aware of all the subtleties of what it must feel like to be that height, that age and have that quality of innocence and newness in everything they experience. I knew what they longed for most and knew exactly what they needed in order to communicate and interact with the world. It was remarkably strange but incredibly beautiful to truly feel, from their perspective, the non-verbal ways we can either nurture our little ones or rob them of experiencing the fullest in every moment. Remarkably, a year after the workshop and this initial shift in perception, I am still finding that I am in that free, innocent and connected place with my girls!
We all want to see a peaceful world, we all want to see our leaders and politicians hold honesty and integrity, and we all want our loved ones to be happy. We cannot see, though, that we are expecting peace, honesty, integrity and happiness to be reflected back to us, instead of simply being concerned with how we reflect these values into the world. Are we truly at peace when we are running late for work and stuck in traffic? Are we able to be honest right now about how we live in integrity each day? Do we wake up each day and feel the quality of happiness that we are living in our authenticity and following our heart’s desires? If we feel frustration, limitation, impatience, and intolerance with ourselves, how do we expect to see it ‘out there’?
Living Values calls us to be radically honest with ourselves and how we respond to everyday situations. It is as if the values are rekindled within, providing the keys enabling us to face and overcome the challenges of daily life. The workshops provide such a deep infusion of how to respond with values at the heart of every decision, that it is undeniably noticeable when they are temporarily absent. It is really feeling the difference in the body and state of being when we choose arrogance over humility, conflict over peace, disrespect over respect, complexity over simplicity and inauthenticity over honesty. We come to see that the choice really is ours and how it feels not to respond in a loving way. It is as if time slows down and we can see the path one is choosing. Therefore, when we stand at a crossroad of life, we have the power to choose which road to take – the one that leads us to love and loving experiences or the opposing path of hardship and pain. Through the teachings of Living Values, we learn that this choice can be both empowering and incredibly profound.
Living Values has not only transformed my internal world, but it has directly impacted my whole family, my partner, my children, my extended family and the friends around me. It has been them seeing the change in me that has sparked their curiosity and affected the choices they are making. ‘HOW TO BE?’ the change that you want to see in the world is now loud and clear, available and attainable, and it’s as simple as starting with The Man in the Mirror.”Laura Re, Melbourne 2010
In addition to the LVE Educator Trainings, the LVE national team in Paraguay is working on a comprehensive training program with direct intervention agents (social workers and public educators) in order to increase Living Values Education programs for children and teenagers in situations of vulnerability and risk. Miriam Ginzo, the President of the LVE national association reports, “By the end of November, LVE projects will be implemented for communities in danger and for shelter centers by 80 professionals from Dirección de Niñez en Riesgo (Organization for Children at Risk) and Ministerio de Educación y Cultura – MEC (Department of Education and Culture).
Other new developments include an expansion of the focus of the pedagogic supervisors from MEC who have been working with family and community components for four years in the city of Yaguarón. They are currently developing an innovative experience, “Padres referentes comunitarios” (Community Referent Parents). This consists of training parents chosen by the community for their spirit of service and honesty. These “Community Referent Parents” will train families of their companies in rural districts. Supervisors are documenting the experience with the goal of assisting teachers in rural areas.
In addition, during the last two years, LVE has also been involved with an Interfaith Forum from religious and philosophical communities in Paraguay who requested representation from the civil society and Living Values Education.”
At the invitation of Mr. Yusef Shafy, Chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, an introduction to Living Values Education was presented to a distinguished group of leading educators, owners of private schools, heads of education ministries and leaders of education training institutions from across Saudi Arabia at Ta’ef in May 2010. Gentlemen sat in one part of the conference room and ladies respectfully participated from behind a screen. The seminar highlighted the birth of LVE, its purpose, what are values and the challenges that face education leaders in putting values education into effective use.
Highlights from the warmhearted gathering included:
Rich in participation and engagement, a special emphasis was given to paradoxes of education – head vs heart, holistic curriculum vs subject centered, learning organically vs learning with set outcomes, and learning to be a human being vs learning to be a human doing. With the help of the Living Values Education awareness program and metaphors of stars and diamonds, everyone present agreed that these values are ‘Our Values’ and not values from ‘out there’ – the universal values – that binds humanity as one.
The value of storytelling was shared through a practical application of a short story entitled ‘To be a man or a king?’ The story was related of two Grade 8 students who were stopped from fighting. They both believed that, in order to solve a disagreement, they had to fight to be seen to be a man. A man will fight a man to be a man – yet a king will see both sides and choose peace. When asked whether they wished to be a man or a king – they chose a king. Peace prevailed.
At the close of the session, each member was invited to write their favourite value onto a balloon and pass the balloon to a colleague to share what this value meant to them. This lighthearted activity invited respectful playfulness and simple truth.
Summing up the LVE Introduction, the Head of Education in Ta’ef stated the essence as follows:
‘Living Values Education is not about education nor is it about curriculum. It is about something else that is so important. We know what it is. Our world is falling and this program brings hope’.
As an outcome, it was agreed to pursue further training programs and to invite Saudi Arabian educators and interested parties elsewhere in the Arab World to bring their own values to the global program.
Peter Williams, who led the training with Wajeeha Al Habib from Kuwait, concluded:
‘We are each like a grain of sand, each with our part to play. Somewhere in the Middle East or somewhere in Saudi Arabia or in this room or within the heart of a student within one of your schools, there is someone who will be that single grain of sand who will tip the scales and set the direction to help make our world the kind of world we wish it to be – with all those other grains of sand who are seeking hope and peace. Perhaps the way forward is in this room right now? The strength of this gathering is in its humility, wisdom and truth. It is a truth that our world will welcome.’
Copies of the LVE Arabic edition were distributed to participants. Private questions from the ladies and gentlemen present focused on practicalities and examples of good practice around the world. The session ended naturally with a quiet call to prayer.
“Role-playing real situations, discussing and presenting about Living Values and life skills, and participating in a competition on children’s rights were the main activities of a big summer camp which took place July 5 – 7, 2010, in Hai Phong city, Do Son district. Present at the event were 160 children, who came from poor families, had lost their parents or had divorced parents,” shared Lê Thị Vân. The camp was organized by World Vision’s New Beginning for Children Project in cooperation with the local authority. Previously, World Vision opened a series of training courses on life values and skills for the children in late 2009.
Entitled “Living Values – Life Skills”, the camp encouraged the children to practise such skills as communication, group management, cooperation, listening, receiving and giving feedback, as well as improving their values of respect, love, peace and responsibility. They also enhanced their understanding of children’s rights. Through the activities, the children were expected to gain self-confidence and be stronger when facing obstacles in real life.
“I like the presentation about our life’s goals and ideals, especially the sharing of two persons who have overcome their extreme difficulties and obtained success in their life. The lessons will seed hope and aspiration in each of the children, encouraging them to triumph over their hard life,” said Nguyen Thi Lan, a teacher at Ngoc Son ward, Kien An district.
“At the camp, my friends and I could show our knowledge about living values and life skills that we learnt at World Vision organized courses,” said Ngoc Lan, a member of children’s clubs in Ngoc Son ward, Kien An district. “The activities were so interesting.”
“The children acted like professional artists, the master of ceremonies had perfect speaking skills and their interaction with the audience was good. If we can film their shows, we can use them as typical communications examples at training courses on living values and life skills,” said Le Thi Thuy Nga – a jurywoman and World Vision’s National Coordinator of HIV and AIDS.
Do Ngoc Khanh and Hao Vanle came back from Dalat, a flower city in the highland of South Vietnam feeling tired but happy. They had just finished a six-day long training course (3 days for LVEP, 3 days for life skills) from 2 – 7 August for about 150 lower (grades 6-9) and upper (grades 10-12) secondary schools from 31 provinces/cities in North Vietnam in Doson district, Haiphong city. Hao reports, “These 150 teachers, the majority of whom teach civic education in their schools, were divided into 4 groups. Khanh was in charge of one group and I worked with one group, another 2 trainers were in charge of the remaining 2 groups. A similar training with the same format took place in Dalat for 160 teachers coming from 32 provinces/cities in the South Vietnam from 9 – 14 August.
These two big nationwide trainings were organized by the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam (MOET) and implemented by School of Education, Hanoi National University. The aim of the workshops is to train teachers in LVEP and life skills so that they can train a group of selected teachers in their own provinces or cities. While moral degradation as it is called in Vietnam is a serious problem in general and in schools in particular (with all sort of emotional disorders and behavorial problems, increased crime rate among youth and so on), civic education and related subjects/activities are found boring and often neglected. This MOET-organized training is a solution to these problems. My understanding is LVEP will not be introduced in schools as a separate program but integrated into civic education, literature, history etc or informal, out of school activities.
Although a final evaluation report based on the completed questionnaire is being done by the School of Education, the feedback of the participants and their sharings/learnings at the circle sharing in Khanh's and my class show very positive results. Both LVEP activities and methods were highly appreciated. The teachers both in the North and South want to have Living Values activities for young people and for children ages 8 – 14. Khanh and I are pleased to be part of this first national level attempt/effort by MOET to introduce values education into secondary schools in Vietnam.”
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To contact the ALIVE Associate or Focal Point for LVE in your country, please refer to the LVE website’s Support Near You page.
For countries without ALIVE Associates or Focal Points for LVE, please email email@example.com to ask your questions or make comments about Living Values Education: