|In This Issue – May 2015||
Issue Number Fifty-two
Youth Essay Contest on Unlimited Love!The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love is sponsoring an Unlimited Love Youth Essay Contest. To be eligible for the first US$500 award cycle, young people must submit their essay by October 1, 2015. For details, please go to: " target="_new">"http://unlimitedloveinstitute.org/unlimited-love-youth-essay-contest-and-awards" target="_new">
As Living Values Education enters its 20th year, the call for a reunion to celebrate the growth and richness in diversity of our worldwide family of living values with one another is being answered with a proposed world conference in South East Asia towards the end of 2016. Please watch this space for upcoming details of the conference to which you are all invited.
May I also invite you to read the excellent contributions to Living Values Education by our members from around the world through their country pages, current newsletters and full conference proceedings notably the last European Conference with over 100 pages of practical strategies that you are most welcome to adopt/ adapt to your context.
At our recent Annual General Assembly, we warmly welcomed three new members to our Board. Serving for a 3 year term will be Kana Gopal from Singapore, Dhruba Prasad Ghimire from Nepal and Patricia Ndikum from Cameroon. Congratulations, too, to Oasis Life Skills Training Services, Oman for achieving Associate Status and Duaa Mansour for being voted as Focal Point for LVE in Kuwait. We wish them, and all of our serving Focal Points, Associates, Trainers and members, every future success.
This year, Living Values Education is continuing to focus on sharing best practices and both supporting and training educators around the world to enhance to quality of teaching, learning and life through values.
As I write this newsletter, I'm reminded about our global appeal for the good people of Nepal who have much to share with us about how they are living their altruistic values when times are very difficult. Let us wish our Nepalese Living Values team, who are working very hard 'on the ground', every continuing best wish as they reach out to help those affected by the devastating earthquake in this noble country.
May I, once again, congratulate everyone for your continuing love and dedication for Living Values Education. It is very much appreciated in the knowledge that your individual and collective endeavors are bringing hope, joy, creativity and positive character development programs to so many in so many different places.
Over 70 delegates, from near and far, gathered on the beautiful island of Zakynthos to share their best practices. The 100+ page proceedings echo the excellent Living Values Education creativity, learning and research that uplifts our understanding of 'Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times'. Special congratulations are well deserved to Xanthie, Anda and the organizing committee who welcomed and hosted everyone so well.
Ten International Living Values trainers from Europe and further afield were also in attendance to
Helen Sayers from Oman who shared methods of how to get to know one another in very creative ways, how to sustain alertness through the 'Rain Dance' and how Ubuntu is being very well received.
Cecile Lecomte from Reunion Island shared how the program on the island had reduced negative behaviors to positive behaviors to such an extent that the French government has recognized the outcomes as very good practice on their website. The creation of a 'Values ruler' indicating the degree to which student's learning is understood was very well received.
Marlies Ludding Van Loon from the Netherlands shared how Living Values Education is growing particularly in Primary Schools and Marjo shared how Living Values Education is helping refugees and the good people in Holland to strengthen their dignity and presence through her 'One Melody' program that also features pictures of the Zakynthos conference on their website.
Frances Burkhalter from Switzerland shared her enthusiastic program called 'Onions and Diamonds' with practical techniques of how to help transform character with the help of energetic warm up and confidence building techniques; and Patricia Tamburrino, also from Switzerland, added to the august occasion by sharing practical techniques and success stories to uplift us all.
A particular highlight of the conference was an evening session at Zakynthos Library that houses many values stories and conducts evening programs for students who wish to know more about values.
Since the 2014 European gathering, Living Values Education continues to grow from strength to strength in Greece and within Europe. You are most welcome to read the proceedings and to use/ adapt them to your own setting, to contact our International colleagues directly – and, of course – share your own stories with the Living Values Education family.1st International Conference Values in Education in Zakynthos-Proceedings-last
On May 8th, the LVE team in Cambodia did a half-day session with the Department of School Health of the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports of Cambodia. The presentation included an introduction to LVE, two experiential games on cooperation and humility, and personal values. There were 20 participants from the department and two participants from IMPACT Cambodia.Chamroeun Chim
Anda Katsaitou, an LVE teacher on the island of Zante, shared some of the activities she has been doing with her kindergarten class. Ms. Katsaitou keeps a folder for values work at school. She wrote, via a translation by Areti Foufopoulou, “Every time that the students complete activities for each value, we gather children’s work in one smaller folder for each value in preparation for a presentation during programmed parents’ meetings.
In November, we talked about peace as there is a national celebration devoted on the struggle against the Greek dictatorship in 1973. We read the book ‘Mrs Democracy’, and listened to the poem ‘Peace’ by Yannis Ritsos while painting and looking for the meaning of the word. We got acquainted with Pablo Picasso’s work ‘Guernica’ and painted our own Guernicas. At the end of our unit of peace, we dramatized ‘Peace’, a work by Aristophanes, the ancient Greek poet and comedy writer. We put all the work in the folder of Peace and our colleague Sofia Livaditi from Skyros made a video on Peace which was sent to us and various other schools.”
In December, Anda and the children explored Unity and Love. For Unity, “we examined what it means to be all together in class working for a common goal, what we can achieve together, and how to make the big tasks seem small and easy! We made a cake together and sang a circular song. We all made our Christmas bread, a Zante custom, with a grandmother who is also a teacher. We made a Christmas wreath and sang the song, ‘If all the children on earth’. We wrote down the word ‘unity’ and painted what we could imagined. Then we discussed animal unity, after becoming inspired by animal stories about birds, elephants and dolphins.”
For Love, “we talked about love after reading a book by Angeliki Varela, ‘Give love’. Love means to share, to care, to be gentle…. From a religious point of view, we talked about Christ’s love for people, and also about Saint Denise, the protector of our island Zante and the Saint of forgiveness. As a team, we printed ‘I am loveable because ____.’ We danced with our hearts in our arms, hearts that we made of paper and coloured. We offered it to a dear friend, we found the various types of heart that exist, such as sad, sensitive, bad, good, happy and cruel. We wrote the word LOVE and painted what came to mind. For our Christmas celebration we dramatized the fairy tale ‘Fricadella the witch who hated carols’ by Eugene Trivizas. Then, we put the heart that our friend gave us in the folder of love along with a painting from the fairy tale, ‘Give love’ and the team work ‘I am loveable because _____’.”
In January we explored respect. “We started with the question, ‘What is respect?’ Respect is too listen to others carefully. We played a game with a microphone. Each student took turns singing his or her favourite song and the others applauded or did not listen at all…. What were the feelings of the singer? Respect is to treat people, friends and animals well. Respect is to know that each one is unique and important, to appreciate ourselves and to help our friends at school. While listening to soft music, we showed what we could do with our hands: caress, play an instrument, greet others, paint, embrace and send a kiss. Then, we all painted as a team ‘I make good things with my little hands’ and each child shared his/her idea after forming his/her palm on the paper. We also read the fairy tale ‘Elmer the colorful elephant’ and pointed out that each one is unique, so afterwards each child painted the self who was different from the others. Next, after discussing everyone’s strong points/qualities, we placed them on a necklace. Students went on to work in pairs and say a good word for their partners. We wrote down the word ‘respect’ and painted it.
We have formed a corner of values in the classroom where we add one more value every time we deal with it. We also made a values calendar for the new year and each child was offered a copy for their family.
For more additional values activities, please see the Greece Country Report page.
“Eight years ago, we started an LVE Newsletter in Hungary” reported Sophie Fried, President of the Hungarian Association for Living Values (B.É.K.E.= PEACE). “At that time we were thinking about how to give sustenance to teachers and parents who attended LVE programmes. Because they were living in different parts of the country, it would have been difficult to come together. Yet we wanted to learn from each other and share our experiences. Since then, the function of the newsletters has become broader. Every newsletter has a structure in which everyone can find something relevant. Usually we put some news about our activities, our partners’ activities or our mutual activities. There is another part about new trainings and workshops. Then there are sharings from Hungary, LVE activities around the world and news about our LVE Association. Between each section there are slogans about values.
Some of the benefits: Definitely those of us who use LVE know much more about each other than before. Our sharing allows us to grow and we feel that we are not alone. Through the newsletters people can be encouraged to start or do more with LVE. When someone is interested in knowing more about LVE methods or programmes, the newsletter can help them learn – and it creates a connection for the future. Teachers are proud when their writing is published; many send it to their colleagues and friends. All the newsletters are posted on the international website, on our Hungary Country Report page. The newsletter is also a very good tool to introduce LVE activities here and worldwide, and to spread the importance of values in all of our lives.
An additional benefit: From time to time, teachers in Hungary have to put together a portfolio about their professional life and take exams. Last year a teacher who is a member of the Living Values Association in Hungary used her contributions to the newsletters as part of her portfolio. Now she is followed by other teachers. So our newsletters have been useful as a record for what they have done on the field of values. I’m sure that in the future the significance of our newsletters will increase.”
“A two-day workshop in late January was held at Inventure Academy, a prestigious school in Bangalore, with 25 primary school teachers,” reported Uma Sridhar, the Focal Point for LVE in India. “It was great fun and a creative learning experience. Rekindling the dream exercises brought out some fantastic imaginative dream schools with very good sharing on best teaching practices. Active listening was an eye opener for many and was very well received. The participants reflected honestly about their own listening skills and were determined to work on it. The teachers were also keen on creating a kindness culture in the classrooms and school after a session conducted on bullying. The school is contemplating including values sessions in its curriculum.”
Another LVE Workshop was held the 11th and 12th of April at Bala Vinayaka Vidhyaniketan in Gadag, Karnataka State. Mrs. Sridhar reported, “The workshop was at a small upcoming school with very enthusiastic teachers intent on learning how to create a loving and nurturing learning environment. The teachers started off a bit inhibited to speak due to being unfamiliar with expressing themselves in English, but soon overcame this by combining English with Kannada, the local language, once a fun, encouraging and non-judgmental atmosphere was established.
Games were played, stories and experiences were shared followed by reflections. What really impressed me was the beautiful and convincing way value activities were undertaken by the participants. Each group came up with historical stories to enact a value. New skills and insights were the take away. The workshop days were two happy, fun-filled learning days with the teachers determined to make their classroom learning a joyful experience.”
A creative four-hour workshop with the theme "Empowering Ourselves to Empower the Youth” was organised on the 11th of April for TAABAR with the support of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation in Jaipur. Ms Shahina Parveen, the Project Director of TAABAR, spoke of the work of the organization in the field of effective child care services. Participants from the organization included teachers who teach at Day Care Centres being run for deprived children in various urban and suburban areas of Jaipur, counsellors and day wardens who are engaged in institutional care services for children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law and project officers and project coordinators who shoulder responsibilities of implementing and managing the project as well as human resource. Facilitated by Helen Sayers, an LVE International Trainer, and Indu Gupta, an LVE Facilitator in India, they engaged participants in an introduction to LVE, a value awareness session, and an active listening skill-building session as a precursor to conflict resolution. Participants were also asked to reflect on one of the key constructs of LVE’s Theoretical Model, that is, when we create an environment in which each young person is loved, respected, valued, understood and safe, we are empowering them to move toward their potential. Thank you TAABAR and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for your work for young people and your love for values.
“This April we put together a few concepts and activities to celebrate and help spread awareness to Recycling, Reducing and Reusing,” reported Duaa Mansour, the Focal Point for LVE in Kuwait. “On Earth week we had a Recycling Fashion Show Event that took place at the Kuwait American School. It was an evening in which the students created a wardrobe of outfits using Recycled materials. Also, during this week the elementary department managed to put together an assembly showcasing sculptures and 3D models of recycled materials they brought from home and created in Art class. During Art and Science classes the students talked about the importance of recycling, reducing and reusing materials usually thrown out.
There is a variety of reasons to go green, but most come back to supply and demand. We have a limited amount of resources available and more and more people using them up. If we want our future generations to enjoy the same standard of living we've experienced, we need to take action.
Don’t you want to make the world a better place? Implementing green practices into your classroom, home and office can help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, improve both air and water quality, and protect our ecosystems.
In order to conserve a clean beautiful earth to live in it is how we begin teaching students at a young age the importance of recycling. Students are like sponges and observe information well if they learn about it starting with early childhood education and continuing throughout their school years. They should be aware of the importance of recycling, and therefore I strongly believe each school should implement into their lesson plans a lesson of recycling in order for the students to begin recycling themselves. Students should learn about the causes and effects of recycling and from there teach their families of the importance of it if their families don’t contribute to recycling themselves. They need to know why recycling will conserve a better earth to live in.
First of all we need to educate on why we need to recycle. It is very important to help our earth by recycling and letting our children know there are several reasons why we should recycle versus why we should not recycle. One reason to recycle would be different products that we use take years to decompose when we just simply throw them away in our trash cans. We can help our world by recycling and sorting the items out properly which will result in us re-using it instead of waiting years for it to decompose in a landfill. The more we recycle the more we help out. By recycling we can reduce the prices of products because it lowers the cost of making new products each time they are wasted. Recycling reduces our dependence of landfills. The more we recycle the less we have to use the landfills to decompose materials or products. The less land we are harming results in the more land we are conserving by recycling products. Another reason to recycle would be it protects our earth and our own health. We might ask ourselves how recycling protects our health but indeed it does. Harmful substances are decomposed and we inhale all of their remains. It is not healthy to inhale these dangerous substances and by recycling such products we can prevent this from occurring. Recycling also conserves our natural resources. It decreases the need for raw substances. Many have thought that if we don’t recycle we will run out of room to put all of our trash. Just imagine how many people there are on earth and how much trash each citizen produces. Eventually if we continue to not recycle we will indeed run out of spaces to put all of our trash. One of the main reasons we should teach our students to recycle is to reduce global warming. Reducing global warming will help us conserve our precious earth. Schools can help us teach our students about recycling. Students can learn about recycling by actually taking part of it both at school and at home.
From a rapidly greening Kuwait, we invite you to join hands to help our Earth. Go Green!”
Living Values Education was introduced in Lebanon in 1999 at the UNESCO Conference on the “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World”. Among the attendance was Rula Kahil, a former teacher at the American Community School at Beirut. In the summer of the same year, Rula attended LVE “Train the Trainer” (TTT) in Oxford shire resulting in coordinating LVE in Lebanon afterwards. For about a decade and with the help of interested educators, many of whom attended LVE TTT, LVE’s philosophy, activities, skills, and teachers’ training expanded. Many schools and organization in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, and the North adopted and used many of the modules and skills needed for values based education. This is a list of some of the schools and organizations that got involved in the program; The American Community School at Beirut, International College at Beirut, Some of the Palestinian Camps’ schools in Beirut, Brumana High school, Beirut Modern School, Saint Coeur schools in Beirut and the North, and some government schools in the northern part of Lebanon. In addition to the educational institutions and through a local TV program called “Aailaty,” my family, LVE stretched to the larger Lebanese community. Once a week, a short segment was allocated for sharing an LVE skill and/or value with viewers and participating parents. Some of the shared skills were on active listening, conflict resolution, and suggestions on values-based parenting and communication.
LVE’s work in Lebanon continues to expand through the work of Jenny Gebara, an LVE trainer. Jenny attended the LVE TTT training in Oxford shire in July 2001, and introduced and supervised the LVE program at Brummana High School for three years. In the past couple of years, she introduced LVE to “Tahaddi”, a Lebanese NGO and education center (TEC) located in Beirut. The center provides educational opportunities for at-risk children in a very poor area in Beirut. In July 2013, Jenny held a two days teachers’ training for the center’s 25 educators. The implementation of LVE started in September 2013 for students five through twelve years old.
Since its inception at the TEC, LVE has made a difference in the lives of children there. Teachers continuously report changes they witness in their students. LVEP lessons provide students with a safe space where they get the chance to express their feelings, fears, and hopes. They assert that LVE implementation provides their students a values-based environment where they feel valued, loved, and respected. Lessons and discussions are taught in the Arabic language with sensitivity and consideration of the students’ cultural background. In the past two years, the following values were covered: peace, love, respect, responsibility, and happiness. A new age group, youth group, has been introduced to LVE this year, and accordingly, Jenny will be holding a new training for new teachers in September 2015.
Some feedback from the teachers:
The students enjoyed every session of LVE. They needed someone to listen to them.
Ms Dalia, Grade 3 teacher
I was impressed by the students’ feedback and their own understanding of happiness, and the feelings they get when they feel loved.
Ms Nour, Kg 3 teacher
Living values has given the children a space and time to express their feelings freely, and to feel loved and valued.
Ms Noura, Kg 2 teacher
Students wait eagerly for the Living Values session and they respond in a passionate way! They love to draw, sing, dance and express their feelings.
Ms Najwa, Grade 1 teacher
Our children adore the Living Values sessions. They always ask about when are we going to talk about peace and happiness. It’s a free and safe time for them to express what they feel deep inside and escape the tough reality they have to face every day. It’s an opportunity to live in a peaceful and happy world where they dream to be.
Ms Saria, Grace 3 teacher
During the assembly held at the end of every value, students present a song, dance or art work they have done! They are so proud of their work and so hopeful of a better future.
By Rula Kahil and Jenny Gebara
Hand in Hand, the ALIVE Associate in the Maldives, led by Aminath Ismail and Rizna Ibrahim, continue to powerfully implement LVE in a variety of ways. They have two established two LVE-based preschools, Living Values Education Preschool and Glow Preschool. Both schools use have a values-based atmosphere, use Living Values Activities for children 3 to 7 and conduct Living Values Based Parenting Programs.
Aminath recently wrote: “Through these few years it is found that children with disabilities such as autism, hyperactivity, speech delays and Down syndrome is becoming more. The challenge is that often times there are difficulties to accommodate these children in government and private schools. Therefore, during the last two years we have been strategically planning and working to build the capacity in our two LVE based schools. We started accepting these children too after sensitizing their parents. We have now established two SEN special needs classes for severely challenged children. These classes from last year are equipped with special educators and therapists. However, we recognized that the special needs children also needed group therapy and medical care. We now have doctors and therapists working with these children and other children in our LVE based schools. Therefore, in June 2014 we registered an attached medical model, medical and psychosocial clinic registered in the Ministry of Health. It is called ALIVE MEDICALA in honour of our work.”
Hand in Hand is also very involved in a Safe Island Model project which they do in cooperation with Maldives Police Services, using LVE universal values and interventions to reduce violence. We will update you on the stages of implementation and our findings soon.
Aminath wrote, “I salute you all for being together and helping me out all throughout. Change is possible and with the values of tolerance and responsibility, and practicing other values, there is success.”
This article, written before the devastating earthquake, is offered in tribute to the wonderful people of Nepal, who carry with them both the strength and resilience of their values that are being tested to the very full during these difficult times. The Living Values Team on the ground is continuing to offer every practical support in partnership with RUWON Nepal, and trust that the images and words below, reflecting a visit in February 2015, will soon return with the hope, trust and character that dwells in the heart of the nation. We all have much to learn from the people of Nepal, especially their gifts of how to further cultivate benevolence and to promote a more altruistic society. Thank you, Dhruba, RUWON Nepal and the Living Values Team for all your efforts and endearing support for the children of all ages in your homeland.
Further to the excellent developments and trainings in Nepal through the initiatives of Dhruba Prasad Ghimire, Focal Point for LVE in Nepal and his team, together with International Trainer Kana Gopal from Singapore, as indicated in previous news items; the timely visit of the President of Living Values Education, Peter Williams and International Trainer, Ioanna Vasileiadou in February helped to accelerate the significant developments in these lands to new heights.
There were many highlights to the trainings conducted by both Peter and Ioanna including the ‘Practical Strategies to help develop and Sustain Living Values Education’ program as indicated in the enclosed photographs. 35 members of the Living Values Education team were trained into more Train the Trainer Skills and thoroughly enjoyed the balloon activity, cooperative tower building and especially the reflective practices through the use of affirmation cards and stories.
It was a delight to also welcome special guest, Mr Hari Prasad, previous Minister for Youth, who graced us with his presence. The message of the training – ‘Live your Values with love, confidence and kindness’.
A visit to the superlative Living Values Star Public Montessori School, under the leadership of Sarita Siwakoti, was a particular highlight for Peter and Ioanna who were received with garlands of flowers and invited to share in and witness the excellent living values activities including guided reflection time, songs and dances.
Model schools of this caliber help to set the standards and show a way that Nepal can share its values.
A visit to the innovative library directed by Sharada Siwakoti also highlighted the significant role that libraries can play in the educational process with a practical vision that living values stories have a very important part to play.
Peter and Ioanna were also touched by a visit to the Orphanage that Dhruba looks after with his family – a true living values family where each of the 21 children received a diamond to represent their inner wealth and beauty that shone through their presence.
Living Values Education is also deeply heartened by the continuing support of Mr Bisho Prakash Pandit, the Secretary of State for Education, and trust that the continuing relationship will enable Living Values Education, Nepal to reach out and re-build its capacity with divine values for all.
Let’s wish that practical help from the Living Values family and the message of universal divine values will continue to support and sustain the wealth of human kindness and resilience that earthquakes and moments of significant diversity will never take from the heart and soul of the nation.
By Peter Williams, President of ALIVE
“As the aim of this school is not only teaching of literacy and numeracy but also promotion of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, Living Values Education activities are integrated into teaching basic subjects and extra-curricular activities,” reported Prapa Rungrangsri, the Focal Point for LVE in Thailand. “In the past academic year, I used conflict resolution steps with students and they work very well. For example, after the conflicts were solved, a girl in Year 7 said, “In the beginning of summer, I felt angry at him every day. Today I feel calm and happy.” The boy said, “I used to be revengeful. Then I felt it had become less. Now I feel better than before. Now I feel free.”
Ms. Rungrangsri will be introducing the Peace Unit and LVE conflict resolution steps to both Thai teachers and foreign teachers at this school and other schools in the affiliation in Educational Area 3, as well as giving support so that the solutions are provided consistently. This will happen throughout the school academic year, starting in May 2015 and continuing through March 2016.
Living Values Education is an important part of the curriculum at Mizzentop Day School in New York, and has been for at least 14 years. An evaluation of the 2013-2014 school year of this K-8 school revealed an outstanding school climate where teachers care about students and students feel safe, valued, respected and loved by their teachers as well as a sense of belonging. The former Head of School, Steve Cash, reported that there were no disciplinary referrals, nor suspensions or detentions. Student attendance was 96.7% and teacher attendance was 97.5%.
Laura Kang, the current Head of School at Mizzentop Day School, began the 2014-2015 school year as a strong supporter of LVE – demonstrated by attending an LVE workshop during the summer. In a video, she shares about implementing LVE school-wide: “I see these living values being demonstrated every day.”
Natasha Panzer and Rachel Kellogg are the awesome educators who coordinate LVE throughout the school, in classrooms, extracurricular activities, assemblies and in community service learning. Natasha shared a photo of fifth graders and their thoughts about the value of humility.
Thank you Steve, Laura, Natasha and Rachel, and all the educators and staff at Mizzentop, for your dedication and excellent work with children through educating hearts as well as minds.
A training of university students at Universidad Central de Venezuela took place April 13th through 15th, 2015, as part of the Children for a Peaceful World Project of the Department of Social Service of the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences. Eighteen students participated in the Living Values Education workshop. These students are currently finishing their undergraduate program in different careers: Anthropology, Economics, International Studies and Management Administration, from the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences (FACES) at Universidad Central de Venezuela. LVE Workshops for university students are also supported by Chair Luis Dolan of Interreligious and Intercultural Studies for Peace URI Circle of Cooperation for Dialogue and Enoé Texier, Department Head.
Belen Romero, the Focal Point for LVE in Venezuela, reported: “During the training, the students focused on reflecting, through different activities like drawing, discussing, sketching, on the difference and impact that the presence and lack of values like Freedom, Respect, Love, Simplicity, Tolerance and Peace have in our lives, and especially in the children’s lives, particularly in those children who live in less than satisfactory conditions. They were also very creative making some poems about different values, and benefit a lot from the Active Listening and Conflict Resolution sessions as well.”
Some of the student’s comments registered on the Evaluation Sheet:
"It is an excellent and gratifying experience. It is nice to know that there are programs such as this, which provide to all involved with invaluable tools for a better quality of life... forever grateful.”
“I feel all university students will benefit greatly if this program could be an optional subject in every career.”
"This program, more than teaches how to work with values with children. It brings enormous benefits at a personal level. I think from now on I will be more attentive to what I learned in this training and start applying it, it will certainly make me a better person and help me contribute with a more harmonious atmosphere."Maria Laura Digregorio
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