The project on peace education, "LIVING PEACE" had its roots in Egypt in 2011, by Carlos Palma, a Uruguayan teacher who, living the drama of constant wars and conflicts in the Middle East for more than 25 years, wanted to give a concrete response to the need for peace.
For this reason, five years ago, he proposed to 15 children of one of his classes in Cairo to start the day by launching the "Dice of Peace”. On the faces of the dice there are no numbers, but phrase that help build relationships of peace among all. The dice is inspired by the points of "The Art of Love" that years before, Chiara Lubich also proposed with a dice to the children of the Focolare Movement.
Along with the launch of the dice, "Time Out" is also proposed, a practice introduced by Chiara Lubich in 1991 during the Gulf War: at 12:00 everyday, a moment of silence, reflection or prayer for peace took place, to give life and feel part of a "human chain" that binds and embraces the whole world.
In a short time the atmosphere in that class has changed: the children helped each other supporting the weakest. The teachers didn’t make distinctions between the students and sometimes asked for forgiveness for the mistakes made during the lessons. This favourable climate, consequently, improved the level of learning of all.
The dice of peace is a simple teaching method, playful and effective. It is an educational process that encourages personal and community changes, setting in motion the best resources of each. Generally, the dice is cast every morning or with different frequency: everyone, big or small, is committed to be the protagonist in putting into practice the sentence of that day.
Thereafter, once a week or when it seems possible, children/teenagers and teachers are invited to share with others their experiences of peace building. This can happen, for example, writing in a "peace diary" or a mural of testimonies in the corridors of the school/association or by email or video targeted at children/teenagers from other schools of their city or country or other countries participating in the project and in many other different creative ways.
In a context characterized by numerous challenges such as new wealth and pervasive poverty, the apparent loss of ideals, the widespread of individualism and globalization with the multiple economic and social consequences, particularly in interpersonal, intercultural, interfaith relations, we definitely believe in the need for a pedagogy of peace, based on the consistency between theory and practice, between principles and actions, values and experiences.
We propose this calendar which can be enriched with other events depending on each local reality. It will also present some activities/projects of peace, proposed by our partners. During the year you will receive correspondences that will present you these initiatives, remembering the due dates. Meanwhile, each school/group or association chooses whether and to what project to participate. We recall that the basis for Living Peace will always be the practice of the Dice of Peace and Time-out.
TO OBSERVE. TO THINK. TO INVOLVE. TO ACT. TO REFLECT. TO CELEBRATE.
Peace may seem a distant and difficult ideal to reach, and so many times we can get discouraged because we cannot foresee the results of our actions. Experience shows us that transforming the peacekeeping activities that we want to develop, even those that seem small, into projects done by the students themselves, helps to better perceive their impact and allows to determine whether the proposed objectives have been achieved.
6x1 is a methodology adapted to young people that can help plan the ideas, projects and actions for Peace, gradually developing throughout the group a "vision" of the whole on reality on which to intervene, allowing to focus its contribution specific for a change of reality.
A proposal open to all, universal, young and old, of different cultures and social groups. A proposal that requires first of all a personal response: "get involved" to come out by himself, to go towards the other.
This generates "the creative risk" that breaks down the barriers of age, roles, structures, formalisms, because the climate of openness, altruism, mutual respect and solidarity in itself is generative of new relationships in which everyone can feel free to express themselves and make their own contribution, giving the best of themselves.
For the first four years a single final event of the project has been achieved in Egypt, in Cairo. Those joining the project (schools, groups, associations ...) sent a testimony of their own life for peace through film clips, poems, drawings, plans, testimonials ... Which were eventually exposed or projected in the closing event, animated mainly by young Egyptians.
Given the development of the project in many parts of the world, it has been decided since last year 2015/2016 that each community/city/country/region can independently carry out their final event.
In this way everyone becomes the protagonist:
The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. She/He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.
Declaration of the Rights of the Child - UNICEF 1959