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Life-Link Friendship-Schools: Working with Schools in Arab Countries and UNESCO's Global Network
an article by Dr. Hans Levander
Life-Link Chairperson

The Life-Link Friendship-Schools Program (Life-Link) addressing schools and students, age preferably 12-19, has developed a program with 50 lessons/actions based on the ethics of "Care for Myself - Care for Others - Care for Nature."

A manual 60 pages (online and printed) offers flexible short guidelines on each action. The manual also offers a useful chapter on Project Management. Life-Link stresses through concrete actions and lessons at/around the school, the importance that each individual must take responsibility for his/her attitudes and behavior towards Myself-Others-Nature. The well-known slogan "Think Globally and Act Locally" is valid within the Life-Link program.

UNESCO consultant for Education for Sustainable Development, Mr. Carl Lindberg of Sweden, Life-Link board member, says: "Life-Link program is Education for Sustainable Development!".

More than 3000 reported actions at 600 schools in 80 countries have since year 2000 been reported to the Life-Link website. See the section called "In practice: Schools & Actions." The UNESCO school network ASPnet has since 2007 engaged in collaboration with Life-Link in order to highlight the United Nations decades Culture of Peace, Water for Life, and Education for Sustainable Development into concrete actions at the classroom and students level.

50 schools in 9 Arab countries, plus 50 schools in 10 countries worldwide joined the Life-Link & UNESCO pilot project, a total of around 5000 students age 14-16 performed the actions Culture of Care and Water for Life, each action ongoing 3 weeks and including 3 two-hours lessons and 2 three-hours self/field studies. Assessed results show positive effects on Awareness - Knowledge - Attitudes - Behaviour. The program is now reccomended by UNESCO National Commissions in 13 Arab countries, and also at all Russian UNESCO ASP schools.

The Life-Link program is invited to the world conference on Education for Sustainable Development, in Bonn Germany 31 March 2009. Twenty-five "Best Practice" programs world-wide are invited.


Question(s) related to this article:

What is the best way to teach peace to children?,

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Maria Montessori believed that peace was innate within children. Her timeless educational philosophy was developed around this basic understanding. Perhaps all we need to do as teachers is to provide stimulating learning environments that validate this knowing and understanding and nurture it. We may not have to actually teach it,  Sharing peace-building stories gently attends to this. Strong, creative and imaginative peace-building characters who focus upon win-win and have faith in peace being possible are at the centre of the story plots. In Hassaun Ali-Jones Bey's (Boundless Gratitude ) unique and mesmerising story, Black Ink is such a character who bravely crosses the universe seeking validation of what he knows in his heart. The magical character also models all the important peace-building values, understandings and actions needed for peace-building. I believe also that peace-building must be modelled and the whole teaching-learning environment should reflect similar values, understandings and is the primary focus of the Save the Children Australia UN Global Peace School Program upon which I am presently fortunate to be working. . ...more.

This report was posted on January 2, 2009.