An important area of Foundation’s work is aimed at cultivating the ideas of Universal Ethics among young adults through workshops, dialogues and trainings. It uses elicitive methodology to initiate discussions around human values of compassion, empathy, kindness, patience, tolerance and forgiveness. Foundation’s engagements includes workshops with students and teachers from schools and university from across South Asia and also the development of new and alternative pedagogies.
The Foundation works extensively with schools and colleges to facilitate the mainstreaming of this approach into curricula.
The Universal Ethics and Values workshops organized in various schools across South Asia – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka are part of the Ethicate: Ethics in Education program of the Foundation. They are a means to put into practice, His Holiness’ idea that the Millennials be prepared in basic human values that are important for our survival and flourishing.
Since the launch of the program in 2017, workshops have been conducted in Kathmandu, Sangli, Alibagh, Churachandpur, Imphal, Dhaka and Kabul. The workshop curriculum is based on the Compassion Manual for High School Students that the Foundation has commissioned, which includes exercises that promote critical thinking, mindfulness and cultivating compassion. Since most education today centers on cognition and very little effort is put into the affective aspect of human behavior, the workshops are designed to bridge the gap between affective and cognitive learning.
Conducted by, Shreya Jani, Managing Trustee, STEP (Standing Together to Enable Peace) the workshops enable the young participants (between the ages of 13 and 18 years) to reflect on how they can build inner peace and envision a world which is driven by universal values and ethics.
Through elicitive methodology the young participants are encouraged to reflect on contemporary issues in their ‘micro’ communities and at the ‘macro’ level. They then analyze the relevance of values such as kindness, empathy and respect to address these problems. The workshops also enable the participants to become aware of the interconnectedness of their inner self and the surrounding environment that includes their families, communities and beyond.
The workshop duration varies from 4-hour long sessions to two-day long engagements. Post the sessions, those who opt for, are provided refection notebooks that comprise weekly exercises for 3-6 months (depending on each group’s interest) to continue their explorative journey of universal values.
The workshops have drawn participation of over 300 students in the last one year and they come from diverse ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.