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Let’s go to school! The UNAOC Summer school
an article by Marcos Estrada

What a school! In the middle of summer, on 29th of August 2013, I visited a school many people would like to go to and nobody is complaining to go there over the summer. In fact, many people, including myself, would like to take part in it!! I am talking about the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC) Summer School, held between 24th and 31st of August, in Tarrytown, in New York City area.

click on photo to enlarge

When arriving at the place, it was easy to see it was a different kind of school. At the entrance I noticed people from different countries speaking different languages amongst themselves. After hearing that there were 100 participants from different countries, I was no longer surprised. The day promised to be a nice experience, and it was!

As soon as I entered the room where the first activity of the day was being held, David and I were greeted by participants and people helping in the summer school. The day started rocking, after seeing our old friends Meg Villanueva and Shreya Jani. We sat down and participated in the first activity of the day. It was Meg’s and Chris Dekki's session on “Effective Advocacy: Strategy for Social Work”, it was just the warm up for Meg’s second session All the Pieces if Peace, just after lunch.

The big “WOW” in the school was the experience of the participants, they were all working in different areas, with different objectives, in different parts of the world, but all cultivating a Culture of Peace. Talking with them during the day, I was impressed by the different experiences and how they deal with them. And at the end of the day when the participants prepared a showcase to share their work, it was a great opportunity to know more about their work and how I could get engaged with them.

Here are just a few of the one hundred examples. The Argentinean participant Ines Finchelstein created "La Revistita Multicultural" ( that has already about 1000 children to become agents of change by producing material on their cultural heritage. From the other side of the world came Shreya Jani, founder and trustee of Standing Together to Enable Peace Trust (India). She is a peace educator working at the grassroots level, as well as having co- authored books with the renowned Vandana Shiva. We also met Salome from the Republic of Georgia who works on the strategy for sustainable Development in the youth organization Regional Development Network and the social entrepreneur Tere from Mexico who provides ecologically and sustainable sources of light at a low cost.

My day at the school was an enriching joyful experience. Youth from around the world should hold hands together and build a better future for all. I want to take part in it.


Question(s) related to this article:

Is there a renewed movement of solidarity by the new generation?,

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from Javier Collado Ruano, Director of Edition at Global Education Magazine, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity.

Solidarity is a trans-dimensional phenomenon that goes beyond the ontological essence of human nature. In fact, when we analyze the connections between the microcosm and the macrocosm, we perceive that human beings are not involved in chaos and arbitrariness, but belongs to the large network of interdependencies, complementarities and reciprocities that constitute life. The emergence of life on Earth, around 3,8 billion years ago, was a complex process of exceptional natural phenomena, inherent in all living systems. A process which is expressed through unlimited creativity: mutation, gene exchange, and symbiosis. From a cosmo-biological perspective, we can understand a new conceptual dimension of life, where all living beings share same basis of genetic code: the twenty amino-acids and four phosphatic bases. In fact, the diversity of living beings is caused by the combination of this cosmo-bio-genetic basis.

This trans-dimensional perspective has a deep ecological and spiritual sense for our worldview because the human evolutionary adventure is the latest stage of life on Earth. The modern human being is a vertebrate animal, mammal, belonging to the primates, which emerged 200,000 years ago. In recent centuries he has imposed its anthropocentric, industrial and capitalist vision to the detriment of Pachamama (and Indigenous goddess known as earth mother). We consume around 120% of the natural resources that Earth Mother regenerats annually. Our consumer behavior is immersed in a fatalistic dynamic with a destiny to climate change (deforestation, loss of biodiversity, ozone, etc.), and our own self-destruction as a species.

There is an urgent need to get beyond the cognitive fallacy that the mental structures of social Darwinism and capitalist postulates of the 19th century have historically constituted, because they only understand natural and social systems as warmongers and competitive processes whereby species diverge from each other. . ...more.

This report was posted on August 31, 2013.