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International Alert host Peace Talks in the far east (of Lancashire!)27th February 2014
Four and a half hours north along the motorways from London is the Brierfield community - about 5000 people living together outside Burnley. During the past century this Lancastrian town has evolved from predominantly white British to containing Pakistani British community of around a third of its population . The mills that initially attracted families from Pakistan seeking more prosperous lives are long gone. But the Pakistani families have remained and grown, and their ties with Pakistan preserved. What it means to be Pakistani, British, Muslim and Lancastrian is now layered with complexity. Identity in this part of Britain, as in many others, is a subject of much debate. And debate it we did, at the first Alert Peace Talks event to be held outside London, on 22nd January.
The event showcased the results of Alert's Promoting Positive Diaspora Voices Project (PPDV). As such, it was framed as a discussion about the role of the young Pakistani diaspora in addressing peace and conflict issues both in their country of heritage – Pakistan – and in their country of birth – England. The panel, chaired by Alert's Dan Smith, included two young students from Marsden Heights Community College involved in the project, a representative from the Pakistani consulate in Manchester, an academic, and a youth worker based at the school and also integral to the Diaspora Voices initiative.
What became clear as the panel warmed to the theme was the need to explore, understand and express identity. In particular, to readdress what the young students in particular viewed as misconceptions of their Pakistani and Muslim identity. Having just returned from a visit to Pakistan, organised as part of the PPDV project, the students on the panel (Tayeb and Zangeel) were at pains to explain to the audience how their country of heritage is not the terrorist ridden land portrayed in much of the media. The media was in fact the subject of some frustration. The students had the sense that the national media controlled the politics underpinning perceptions of Pakistan, rather than politicians, although local media stories had more credibility. There is a need and opportunity, said the students, for social media to generate more positive images of Pakistan.
One got the impression from this interesting exchange that the students from Marsden High who had begun to engage in this initiative had discovered a new way in to understanding themselves and their community. The youth worker assigned to the group emphasised that these kinds of opportunities were necessary to help Brierfield residents as a whole better understand the dynamics at play within their community – dynamics which create tensions between its white Lancastrian and Pakistani Lancastrian members, as well as between different generations and gender. The students' parents do not necessarily have the same experiences and perspectives as their children and this creates different expectations of what it means to be young, male/female, British, Lancastrian, Pakistani and Muslim.
The PPDV project has grown in popularity among the students at Marsden Heights the numbers "applying" to be part of the project exceeds places! The panel hoped that this would help retain talent within Brierfield and combat the trend of the better qualified moving out and away to other parts of the UK. For it is another misconception, held by some in Pakistan, that their relatives in Brierfield have riches beyond their dreams. There are certainly good opportunities for education, employment and careers in the UK, but, as the students reminded the audience, there is hope and opportunity in Pakistan also, and serious challenges to tackle in Brierfield.
If there is one thing the students involved in the Project seem to have got hold of it is the importance of not believing everything you hear – of questioning, and seeing things for yourself. It is something often exhorted but quickly forgotten. Something we all need if we are to manage our conflicts effectively and peacefully. And on this note, I learned from my trip north up the motorway that interesting and stimulating debates do not always have to take place in London!
Spring 2014 Courses Now Available to Book9th December 2013
If you are a secondary or primary school teacher and are interested in embedding global learning and citizenship into your teaching, or want to improve the future prospects of your students, then please click through to view our latest programme of Continued Professional Development course, including Fairtrade, Philosophy for Children, the Global Teachers Award Level 1, as well as new courses Understanding Islaam (linked with the Lancashire RE Syllabus) and Global Learning through Creative Writing.Permalink
EC GTA Tenders and Sub Contracting Opportunities29th November 2013
LGEC has recieved funding from the European Commission to establish a structured and nationally recognised Global Education programme. The progamme is being piloted in England, Ireland, Latvia and Hungary. In order to meet the targets and requirements of the fund, LGEC is inviting applications for the following tenders:
- Writing, Editing, Design and Printing of an Introduction to Global Education Handbook
- European Website with Multiple Language Support
- External Evaluation of the Programme
Please find all relevant documents below. If you would like more information on any of these opportunities, please email: email@example.com
Deadline for submission of applications is 6th December 2013.
Funding for Schools to Develop International Partnerships - deadline 31 January 201422nd November 2013
The British Council has announced that it is currently inviting applications for funding of up to £1,500 from UK schools for partnerships between schools in the UK and other countries. The funding which is being made available through the Connecting Classrooms – Schools Partnerships initiative offers young people the chance to collaborate directly with their international peers, bringing challenging global issues to life and creating meaningful cross-cultural relationships. The grant must be spent on visits from at least one teacher from each of the schools in the partnership. It should be used to cover the cost of: Flights; Accommodation; Travel insurance; Local transport; Visas; Vaccinations; Food, etc. The funding is available to all educational institutions with students aged from 3 to 18. The British Council accepts applications for schools from across the Middle East, Sub-Saharan and North Africa, South and East Asia, Central and South America, and the UK. Schools need to be able to show how the Connecting Classrooms partnership will increase: Global citizenship; Enrich education; Develop equitable and sustainable partnerships between schools.
Look out for Connecting Classrooms course advertised on LGEC website, or alternatively, visit www.glocalclassrooms.org.ukPermalink
Blacko Primary School achieve Fairtrade status!19th September 2013
Blacko Primary School have become only the second primary school in Pendle to achieve the Fairtrade Schools Award. Part of the Pendle Schools Fairtrade Schools Network set up by LGEC in 2012, pupils at the school, led by TA Edwina Nowland, have worked hard to promote Fairtrade in school and in the local community. If your school is interested in joining the network or learing more about Fairtrade please contact Catherine Naylor at LGEC.Permalink