RVS Teacher, École Airdrie Middle School – The UNESCO National Conference was held April 25-27 in Winnipeg, MB at the Museum of Human Rights. The conference was organized in partnership with the Manitoba Association of School Superintendents, Manitoba Education and CCUNESCO.
As a member school of the UNESCO ASPnet organization, École Airdrie Middle School was invited to attend. I was fortunate as a teacher and school liaison to UNESCO to accompany two Grade 8 students on the trip to Winnipeg. Our school was among two other Alberta schools in attendance at the conference. Representatives from UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France were also among the special guests. Our honorary guest speaker was Paul K. Chappell, who is an author and advocate for building peace literacy in education. His focus is to build capacity for educators through professional development, as a means to developing a mindset of peace for humanity.
Our student representatives worked in groups with youth from across Canada who were also there representing their schools. Besides meeting new people, our students attended workshops on global citizenship education, climate change, reconciliation, human rights and art in action. After two days of collaboration, sharing, and reflection the student groups wrapped up the conference by presenting their calls to action that were delivered in the form of chants. Aside from elevating the energy in the room, they demonstrated passion and enthusiasm for the cause their groups chose to represent.
Overall, we left the conference with a sense of pride that our school is held in high esteem alongside other ASPnet schools. To be included in such a prestigious network of schools, who are working together to build a better world, that is more inclusive and promotes global citizenship through education, is as rewarding for educators as it is for our students.