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In June several activities took place in the PEACE Project: (1) the European project participants were invited by the Asian project partners for study visits all over Asia; (2) after the country visits all participants joined for a week-long seminar in Delhi, India; (3) the seminar was followed by the project’s Steering Group’s second meeting, also in Delhi.
THE PEACE PROJECT
The PEACE project runs over two years, 2017 and 2018. PEACE stands for “Peace in Europe and Asia through global Citizenship Education”. The EFIL project is sponsored by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme. The goal of the project is to design the framework for a new sustainable three-month secondary school exchange programme similar to the intra-European “European Citizenship Trimester Programme” (ECTP) which EFIL has been running successfully each year since it was launched in 2009. In the PEACE programme trimester exchanges will take place between Asia and Europe, with end-of-stay camps on global citizenship in Europe (Brussels) and in Asia (Kuala Lumpur). The target group will be secondary school students between 15-18 years old. The programme will be open to all EFIL and AAI Partners.
The PEACE project participants are staff and key volunteers of 8 European AFS organisations (EFIL members) and 7 Asian AFS partners (AAI members). Throughout the two years of the EU sponsored project, they will play a relevant role in the development of the future PEACE programme.
PEACE PROJECT SEMINAR (DELHI)
The PEACE Project Seminar (18-24 June, New Delhi) brought together 16 European and Asian project participants from 14 countries. The European participants had previously been on a one week study visit in different Asian countries where they explored the local realities of the Asian partner by visiting local schools and NGOs and engaging with the local AFS volunteers. The Seminar in New Delhi aimed at sharing and discussing the experiences of the study visits, exploring the concept of Global Citizenship and most importantly designing the outline and content of the future PEACE trimester programme. The study visits were enriching, but also revealed the very different local realities that will need to be taken into consideration for the future programme.
For the discussion on Global Citizenship an external speaker, Dr. Sumer Singh, former school principal and member of the Advisory Board of AFS India, gave an inspiring talk on education and Global Citizenship. The participants then set out to design an innovative and ambitious programme outline while always considering the different local realities in the partner organisations. The new programme will incorporate personal ‘Global Citizenship’ projects for all participants based on close cooperation with schools and other stakeholders in the local hosting and sending communities.
Looking back on a successful week, everyone returned home with a long to-do-list, as the group will continue working online until the next Project Seminar in Brussels in December. The close cooperation between Asian and European partners and the very amical atmosphere in the seminar was very much appreciated by the whole group. AFS India was an amazing host and made everyone feel at home while also introducing the group to Indian traditions, such as henna tattoos, the art of bargaining at markets and Bollywood dance moves.
PEACE PROJECT STEERING GROUP MEETING (DELHI)
Right after the closing of the seminar, the PEACE Steering Group met for its second project meeting. Focus was on sharing the outcomes of the seminar and assessment of the follow-up work, including communication with the Partners. An important agenda point was the December seminar in Brussels, Belgium, that will be attended by the same group of project participants as in Delhi. The Brussels seminar has been scheduled to overlap partly with the ECTP Brussels Camp, giving the PEACE project participants the opportunity to learn from it and reflect, putting together ideas for the future programme and the closing camps in, respectively, Brussels and Kuala Lumpur. As part of the PEACE project, a pilot programme will involve Asian youngsters going for a trimester exchange to various countries in Europe with an end-of-stay camp in Brussels in the spring of 2018, followed by European participants going to Asia in the autumn of 2018 and ending their trimester stay with a joint closing camp in Malaysia.
The Steering Group wants to congratulate and thank the IPP Negros Occidental Chapter in the Philippines for designing the winning logo in the contest that was launched to create the new (future) programme’s visual identity.
Last but not least, the Steering Group is happy to announce that the PEACE Program has been granted “innovation status” by the President of AFS International (see Board of Trustees Policy “Incentives for Innovation”, adopted 29 January 2011 and amended 14 November 2014). We are very grateful for this recognition.
Members of the PEACE Steering Group are: Divya Arora (AFS India), Armieyah (Mae) Ayob (AFS Philippines), Katharina Schulze-Herking (AFS Germany), Inga Menke (EFIL) and Paul Claes (EFIL).