|In This Issue – September 2015||
Issue Number Fifty-three
It is indeed a blessing that we have the gift of Living Values Education in our hearts with an open door to ‘give it away’ with a generosity of spirit.
This summer, I spent some time watching very young children write on a heart-shaped blackboard their wishes and hopes for a peaceful world. Using different colored chalks, they reminded me of the many innate and beautiful values that make up the natural part of our character wherever we live in the world. I was also so touched to notice that the commonest word from these 3 to 7 year old innocents was to be ‘Kind’.
Maybe it’s time to remember, with love and understanding, that the way forward in our ever spinning world, is to gently still and nurture the character of the soul, to learn from one another about the universality of values that our children live quite naturally and to express different ways of living those values with examples of courage, integrity and nobility from every culture in the world?
With details of the upcoming 20th Anniversary of Living Values Education soon to be shared by our South East Asian Team, I wonder – is this THE time to showcase the gifts and methods of our shared values-based learning for a better world? Together, with our continuing individual and collective generosity of spirit and countless examples of excellent practice, I believe it is.
A group of 20 educators participated in a Living Values Education Train-the-Trainer workshop over a long weekend in Cairo in February, hosted by the Egyptian Society for Life Skills and Self-Development in Heliopolis. Most of these participants had already completed a LVE foundation workshop the previous year facilitated by members of the Jesuit Brothers from Minya, Upper Egypt. Helen Sayers, the President of the ALIVE Associate in Oman, came to facilitate the training, an Associate of ALIVE in Oman, came to facilitate the training, joined by Duaa Mansour, Focal Point for LVE in Kuwait and an art teacher at Kuwait American School.
As a refresher, the facilitators worked through a typical LVE foundation workshop, making sure that trainees thoroughly understood the methodology and the process of integrating values in education, placing emphasis on ‘exploring, expressing and experiencing’ values. The rest of the three-day workshop was dedicated to exploring the qualities and skills of a trainer, and preparing presentations and workshop sessions. Trainees had a practical opportunity to co-facilitate a half-day introductory workshop for an invited group of educators and other interested individuals.
Helen was invited back in June for a three-day intensive follow-up capacity-building LVE Workshop leading to 13 educators being awarded with the certificate of 'LVE Co-trainer'. The LVE team in Cairo are now busy coordinating a variety of activities at schools and in the local community with the aim of helping to reawaken and sustain the elevated values of their great nation.
The Living Values Association in El Salvador, with the leadership of Rebaca Flor, continued to broaden its work. Last year they conducted a Train the Trainer seminar for 10 facilitators who work with young people proactively with the hope of preventing them from joining violent gangs in El Salvador. Rebeca reported: “This year we have begun ‘School for Parents’ in the school Berta Meneses, of the community ‘13 January’ in Talnique, La Libertad. There have been wonderful results. The turnout was higher than when done within the literacy program that drives the Zen Kanzeon School Foundation.
On behalf of the Living Values Association, we also conducted two workshops on Values, aiming to provide early guidance and tools for the development of the person, recognizing their physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual dimensions that allows people to find within themselves the values that lie in the being, live them and project them onto others to contribute to harmonious coexistence.
In the first workshop on the 24th of April, we did a ‘Balance of Values’ which displays the values without distortion, not applying them exceedingly or with much grace or indolence. We also explored the dynamics of the human being, in which participants expressed what they understood by a value and how to practice it. Thirty-five fathers and mothers of families participated in the workshops, highlighting the presence of women.
The second workshop held on June 12th, worked to establish trust among the members of the community and was oriented to create unity and harmony. The participants were very participatory in the dialogues, team work and in presenting the work carried out. An atmosphere of great camaraderie grew, despite the timidity of most, having fallen into the account that many did not know the name of the person with whom he or she conversed. It was attended by 30 mothers and two fathers. In both workshops, separate LVE workshops were held for the children.”
For the last three years, the Peace Education program in Ambon, a collaboration of The Asia Foundation, State's Islamic Institute of Ambon, and Parakletos Foundation, has been working hard in sowing the seeds of peace in the land broken up with strife. More than 300 facilitators of LVE and Peace Education have been trained, more than 10.000 students, teachers, and members of communities have been involved in peace education activities.
During the World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) on 30 January – 7 February 2015, there was a big celebration. Emphasizing some of the old traditions was designed to enhance inter-communal ties. Check out the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39jhUzOQsQQ, to enjoy the celebration, and read the PDF version to understand the story behind the celebration:
Let's hope that next year, we can expand this Peace Education program even wider.
By Budhy Munawar-Rachman, ALIVE Indonesia Accredited Trainer
Since January 2015, LVE Indonesia has partnered with the Religious Studies Post Graduate Program of State's Islamic University (UIN) Bandung. The partnership was designed to ensure the creation of Peaceful Society in Indonesia, especially in West Java province. This partnership focused in integrating LVEP into the Living Values, Spirituality, and Religions (LVSR) coursework. This pilot program will end by May 2015.
The LVSR program has several milestones: (1) LVE becomes a course in Religious Studies Post-Graduate Program at UIN Bandung that can provide a growing space for academicians who truly live their religious values in a peaceful way. (2) LVE becomes an alternate method for lecturers, educators, and wider communities to shape community character. (3) LVSR becomes a model that is applicable in many more class rooms.
LVSR itself was developed from LVEP Educator Training Guide, Diploma of Education in Values and Spirituality, Living Our Values, Interfaith Dialogue, and several other pedagogy approaches that support LVE materials. All this material was combined into a new reference called Modul Living Values, Spirituality, and Religions.
The direct beneficiaries of the LVSR program are the students of the Religious Studies Program. The indirect beneficiaries are the lecturers, religion instructors, educators, and social facilitators that give communal services. The knowledge of LVE and peace building methods enables them to assist their communities to create a peaceful and respectful living, in a very practical daily ways!
By Mochamad Ziaulhaq, ALIVE Indonesia Accredited Trainer, West Java Cluster Coordinator
Thirty-two heads of state and 92 delegates of Asian and African countries arrived at the 60th anniversary of the Asia Africa Conference on April 23rd, 2015, in Bandung, West Java. The first conference was in Bandung 60 years ago. History has noted that the Asia Africa Conference held here inspired the world for a more peaceful world, respecting the sovereignty of all humans, especially in Asia and Africa. Today, Bandung has become a city that inspires peace and respect of sovereignty.
To live up to the “Spirits Bandung”, the West Java Cluster of ALIVE Indonesia established two movements to create a model of Peace Culture Education based on Living Values Education.
The first movement is the comprehensive theoretical study of LVEP at the Religious Studies Program of State's Islamic University Bandung. Besides touching the students, the educator workshops provided through this program have also involved Islamic religion instructors from the Religion Department and teachers from the Education Department.
The second movement, initiated by West Java Cluster of ALIVE Indonesia, the Values Institute Foundation, the Religious Studies Program of UIN Bandung, and the Education Department of Bandung Municipality, is the declaration of Resolution of Bandung Teachers to Create Peace Culture Education in Asia Africa and recommend a Conference of Asia Africa Teachers for the following year. As the implementation of this declaration, 12,000 teachers in Bandung Municipality will receive LVEP trainings, so they will be able to create peaceful values based atmosphere at their school and community. The greater aim of this movement is to create a society that is respectful and able to live together peacefully in West Java as a model that is applicable in Asia and Africa. Here are the full text of the Declaration:
Declaration of Bandung Teachers Resolution for Peace Education in Asia and Africa
We the teachers of Bandung, emphasize again that Bandung has the spirit that liberates Asian African countries. As a spirit, it's not just a nostalgic memory, but also an energy that demands a continuation. The 60th anniversary of Asia Africa Conference is not just a remembrance of the bravery of a group of people to gain their independence, but it is an unfinished historical marker that demands completion.
We understand that after independence, the problems of a nation are not finished. Independence means to create our own destiny with heads held high, full of pride. But today, most countries in Asia and Africa have the same conditions: human resources that are baffled by globalization, natural resources nearing depletion, and sectarian violence. After independence, nations in Asia and Africa face a complicated challenge: how to live together in peace, love and respect.
We acknowledge that the “Dasasila Bandung 1955” (10 Points of Bandung 1955) has not anticipated education as the basic ingredient of independence. Thus we, the teachers of Bandung, would like to remind all teachers of Asia and Africa that there is a need to create an education system that respects freedom. Education is not just a tool to fill industrial vacancies, it is not a barrier to child growth, and it is not a space to learn hatred toward anything different. In the Asia Africa Conference we hold hands together regardless of race, skin color, and beliefs. Education in the Bandung Spirit is an education full of love toward all humanity, respecting plurality as the most beautiful divine blessing, and always working with peace in all aspects of life.
We believe, if the teachers of Asia Africa base their education on the “Bandung Spirit”, that is, full of love, peace, respect, and values, the youth of Asia Africa in the future will become individuals that can beautify the world with peace achievements. We believe if the education world and the daily world is built upon the spirit of love, everyone will feel safe and valued. If life and education is built upon peace, understanding and respect will grow from it.
So today, all teachers and educators of Bandung reaffirm that the Asia Africa Conference is our shared spirit, a spirit that demands to be realized in loving and peaceful education. We wholeheartedly shout out to all teachers in Asia and Africa, join us in the same spirit: to fill and beautify our independence with a loving and peaceful education! “Silih Asih, Silih Asah, Silih Asuh” That is, Love Each Other, Educate Each Other, Nurture Each Other.
In September, two LVE workshops were held in Lebanon, led by Jenny Gabara. The first workshop took place at the Tahaddi Education Center (TEC) in Beirut on the 7th and 8th. TEC is a Lebanese NGO that provides educational opportunities for at-risk children in a very poor area of Beirut. The educators there have been implementing LVE for the last two years with five through eleven-year olds with wonderful results. The second workshop took place on the 11th and 18th at Saint Coeur School in Marjeyoun, in the south of Lebanon. Twenty-five educators attended the two-day training. They will implement LVE in grades 1 through 9, for students 6 to 14 years of age.
With the rise of intolerance and violent clashes among different religious communities in Nigeria, there is a growing call from all sections of society for the urgent need for a national focus on character building and the revival of Nigeria’s founding spirit of pluralism and unity in diversity. Today, Nigeria as a nation is passing through a very critical stage and the present scenario presents a very grim state of affairs with chaos, disunity, disorder and uncertainty as a result of terrorist attacks and the killing of innocent citizens.
This situation has drawn the attention of the global community and has created greater awareness of the need for peace and security against terrorism and thoughtless violence. The biggest challenge before its citizens is how to avert terror and bloodshed, disorder and instability among vulnerable children and youth and also create an atmosphere of peace, harmony, goodwill, understanding, co-existence and unity devoid of hatred and terrorism.
Since thoughtless violence and ideas of terrorism begin in the minds of men, it is pertinent that the defenses of peace must also be constructed in the mind of these men (and women) with an emphasis on equipping them with positive values and an excellent mindset towards their fellow human beings and the nation. Without a focus on values as our moral code, the quality of life deteriorates. As values return to our lives, we can hope to have a better tomorrow.
The saying “Youth and children are the leaders of tomorrow” cannot be overemphasized. Recently, there has been a lot of concern with regards to the safety and security of life and property within the confines of the Nigerian State. This has been due mainly to the threatening activities of kidnappers and alleged suicide bombers.
In order to set the right order in the foundation of our children and youth, the Living Values Children Education Foundation (LVCEF), jointly with The Children’s and Youth Development Affairs of the Apostolic Church Nigeria (Solid Rock District, Surulere, Lagos) and Inspire-Aspire: Global Citizens in the Making Programme (Scotland) in collaboration with the Association for Living Values Education International (ALIVE), Global Partnerships Coordination, NEPAD Business Group Africa and other stakeholders, hosted a three-day National Children’s Forum on Character Development, Child Protection and Nation Building from August 21st to 23rd in Lagos. The theme was “A Good Name is Better than Riches: Strengthening character and values in Nigeria”. Over 400 delegates attended the conference.
In his welcoming address, the Chief Guest, Pastor S.N. Akwa of the Apostolic Church Nigeria, pointed out that schools, families, and the society must work together to build the character of their young people. Students must not only know the good but also desire it and practice it until it becomes a habit. His emphasis on core ethical values and performance values set the tone of the conference.
In her keynote address on “Character Education as Foundation for Good Leadership, Communication and Nation-Building”, Mrs Folashade Odukoya, Senior Education Officer with the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board and Director for Professional Development, Living Values Education Nigeria, introduced the Living Values model of balanced education which helps students become people of good character, builds loving relationships, and makes a positive contribution to society in their own field of expertise.
She was followed by presentations from Archt Olaboludele Simoyan, Global Coordinator for Building the Nigeria of our Dreams, and Madam Up-Nigeria. Other Speakers included Pastor Nsikak Obot Ekanem, Rev Anthony John, Pastor Dele Oluwaseun, Mr Sesan Abegunde and Mrs Elisaberth Adeniyi from Ispire-Aspire Prgramme in Nigeria. A primary aim of the conference was to help provide Nigerian children and youth with further awareness and leadership skills necessary in cultivating good character and positive values, as well as insulating them from terrorism in order to build a capable nation.
The Conference presenters and participants also explored the questions: How does the power of good character transform and shape the future of society? What personal virtues should ground Nigerian public service? What is the importance of good character in the lives of children and youths? What role should parents, religious groups and educational institutions play in shaping the character of children? How do we learn to be human, and why is this important? How do we empower people and communities to make the most of their strengths and values? What are the roles of young people, parents, schools, youth groups and employers in doing so, and how are their roles connected?
A goal of the conference was to provide a platform for wide-ranging and creative discussions focusing on how we can best support young people to deal with the complexities of life, learning and work in the 21st Century. Those in attendance during the event explored the concept of character and values education and the idea that all of us have a role to play in working out 'who we are' and 'who we become'.
Below are the objectives of the conference:
This conference presented an opportunity for supporters of children and young people, educators, parents, employers and young people themselves to learn, connect and be inspired to find common ground. The conference featured interactive discussion sessions with key experts as facilitators, including child and youth delegates, and skill-building workshops in different areas.
The conference concluded with the presentation of books to the young people by Mr Sesan Abegunde, Director of Programmes for Living Values Education Nigeria, and the launching of the Global Campaign “Inspired For Change”. The latter aims to inspire and aspire Nigerian children and youth in various communities, both those affected and not affected by acts of terror and thoughtless violence, to realize the horror of growing up in a conflict zone and to give them a chance to express their strong rejection of terrorism.
“Most teachers dream of having a comfortable and joyful classroom environment,” reported Laila Al Gharbi, a teacher in Oman. “I started the new academic year with implementing what I have learned from Living Values workshops during the last five years. Living Values is an approach to education that makes teaching a successful process. My students are very happy with what I have been doing in the classroom since the beginning of the year. Every day, they meditate and practice silence. The values I gently speak about as they sit in silence make them feel happy and think positively. I also did a Living Values Education activity using balloons and my students were creative in the way they expressed themselves through the values that they chose – peace, love, honesty, respect, unity, cooperation, freedom and kindness. We named the classroom groups according to the values they share. Living Values Education encourages me to be good to my students and to value them, and the activities I use lead to creativity and making positive changes in their behaviour.”
The Living Values Education Association in the USA held two workshops in July in the USA. The three-day LVE Workshop in Haines Falls, New York, at the beautiful Peace Village Learning and Retreat Center attracted both educators and parents. Natasha Panzer and Stephanie Keer joined Ed Wondolowski and Diane Tillman in facilitating the workshop. The weekend retreat in Novato, California, was an experiment for us this year. We did a Mindful Parenting Retreat, along with a half-day workshop, featuring the content from Diane Tillman’s new book “Nurturing with Love and Wisdom, Disciplining with Peace and Respect: A mindful guide to parenting”. The workshop attracted parents, counselors, teachers, a clinical psychologist and a pediatrician. We had meaningful discussions, very real role plays and a wonderful time sharing and being with each other.
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