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Mexico City Hotel Room. I have just finished an inspiring event connecting young people in Mexico to a school in the UK via Skype. Peace One Day’s PeaceTalks project, supported by Skype, enables two different classrooms in two different countries to carry out a dialogue, learning about each other and exchanging ideas with Peace Day being the catalyst for that conversation. I was with the young people from Instituto Educativo Olinca in Mexico City as we connected with students from Stretford High School in Greater Manchester. While I facilitated the dialogue, the truly inspiring aspect of this project was seeing the young people learn about each other’s countries and cultures and exchange ideas about what they have done to mark Peace Day and what they will do for Peace Day 2013.
The students in Mexico were amazed to hear of the diversity of the school in Manchester; there are over 50 languages spoken in Stretford High School! This sort of dialogue lies at the heart of Peace Day as a day of global unity and intercultural cooperation on a scale that humanity has never known. The Peace One Day free education resource, in the 6 official languages of the UN, sponsored by Skype is supporting the creation of future peacemakers and I am truly delighted that the lessons, including the ‘Intercultural Cooperation’ plan can bring Peace Day into classrooms around world, as it has today with Mexico and the UK.
Using Skype was an incredible way to connect the schools. Using the video screen, the young people could address each other directly, see the other school’s uniforms and show projects they had worked on in class. Stretford students showed their Peace Day art to the young people from Olinca and offered to send it to them. The young people in Mexico reciprocated this incredible gesture and promised to send Stretford their own work.
As the students were talking to each other, a teacher leaned over to me and mentioned the idea of an exchange programme. I brought this up with Adam Cooke, the teacher in Stretford High School, who jumped at the idea, saying that they would do anything it takes to make it happen. As the call wound down, the energy in the room was still evident. What I am now left with is the incredible sense that the connection between Stretford High School and Instituto Educativo Olinca will outlast my visit. With art work being exchanged and students planning to visit each country, I am touched that Peace One Day’s PeaceTalk could be the project that brought these young people together.
In March the second PeaceTalk will take place, this time from Siberia, Russia and I look forward to facilitating such an incredible exchange of ideas, stories, hopes and beliefs around Peace Day. If intercultural cooperation is the key to humanity’s survival then we are on our way as I just experienced it happen.
Thank you to everyone who was involved.