The Gloria Fuertes School of Andorra demonstrates the “transformative power of education” at the UNESCO National Meeting of Schools


An article from La Comarca (republished by permission – translation by CPNN)

(See also The Unesco Schools Meeting in Andorra to strengthen the culture of peace).

“In these times, with frequent hate speech and violence, I only hope that the essence of what was built 41 years ago with this school lives forever and stays with you.” This is how Lola Oriol, director of the Gloria Fuertes Public School of Special Education in Andorra, concluded the XXXIV National Meeting of UNESCO Schools, which was hosted this year by the center. She received the applause of the 130 participating teachers from all over the world, before which The Friends of Andorra Folklore filled the room with music to conclude an event that “has been a success” and that, above all, has shown “the transformative power of education.”

The UNESCO National Meeting of Schools is organized every year in an educational center in Spain. Last year it was held in Zumaia (Guipuzkoa) and it had not been in Andorra for 28 years. At that time, in 1995, the Gloria Fuertes hosted the eighth UNESCO Schools Meeting, leaving an “indelible memory” for the most veteran people in the network, a feeling that will also be repeated after this year’s meeting. “Being able to carry out this meeting has been the dream of my life,” said Oriol.

(This article is continued in the column on the right.)

(Click here for the original article in Spanish.)

Question for this article:

What is the relation between peace and education?

Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace?

(Article continued from left column)

The events of the meeting began on Monday and lasted until this Thursday (July 3-6) with conferences, different working group sessions and a round table with experts on the territory’s heritage. In these three days, there was also no shortage of important symbols for Andorra and the rest of the towns in the region, such as the drums and bass drums on the route or visits to “must-see” places such as the Centro Pastor and the Iberian settlement ‘El Cabo’ in the mining town . Representatives of UNESCO Schools from different parts of Spain, and other more distant places such as Angola, Portugal, Poland, Argentina or Cuba were able to discover them. And all this without neglecting the opportunity to taste products from Teruel and enjoy a night of live music and tapas through the streets of the town organized by the Andorra-Sierra de Arcos and Bajo Martín Business Association under the name ‘La noche del Gloria’.

Among the objectives pursued by this meeting are: to promote cooperation, the exchange of knowledge and collaborative associations between similar schools throughout the Spanish territory; highlight the four pillars of education – learning to know, learning to do, learning to be and learning to live together; and act as a laboratory of ideas to stimulate innovative and creative pedagogies to put global concepts into practice in the school.

The three intense days of activity served to set the work objectives to achieve the next course from the Gloria Fuertes School. «Everything will be closely linked to the prevention of bullying and abuse. In addition, we will also work on sustainability issues, something in which we have been immersed for five years now through the ‘Desplastify’ project, with which we seek to raise awareness about the use of plastic in our lives”, explained Oriol.

These objectives will also add value to the heritage of the territory, another of the themes that was present on more than one occasion during the meeting and which could also include the role that Gloria Fuertes fulfills for hundreds of families.

Next year the meeting will be in Aguilar del Campoo (Palencia), although the Andorra special education school will keep its doors open “forever” to all those who made this edition possible this year. «We carry out many events, but I think this has been the most important. For me, it has been the culmination of my life. It has become clear that our school, the Gloria Fuertes, radiates light and people have been able to capture it. I can’t do anything other than say thank you,” its director concluded emotionally.