maandag 11 mei 2015

It wasn't goodbye, but only the beginning!

Friday the third of April... the last day of the workshop on GCED in Busan. It took me a while to write about this day... It gives me a bad feeling, it makes me sad but it also encourages me to stay in touch with everyone from the workshop. 

In the morning we had to present our final advocacy strategy. As we (Europe and North-America) wanted to be as creative as possible, we decided to do a role play about our toppic bullying. We outlined the context, the actors and stakeholders that are important to our strategy. What we want to achieve, who we want to reach and how we would do this.

Talking about bullying with "my" pupils
Trying to find solutions, how we can stop bullying. 
After every group presented their amazing advocacy strategies, we had the chance to have a short dialogue with mister Se Yeon Kim, member of the Korean National Assembly. Mister Se Yeon Kim, referd to the film inception when he got the question, how we can spread the thought that we all belong to the same community. He told us to be the seeds of thought and change. Set your goal and share that goal with your friends and family. This leads us back to day 1 of the workshop, when doctor Utak Chung emphasized the importance of think - share - act. 

At the end of the morning we did a short general reflection and synthesis about the workshop. We also had to say who we wanted to work together with, by the end of the reflection, we were all connected to each other... 

Not sure if we actually came to a general reflection and synthesis? We were all too emotional, not ready to finish the workshop yet and definitely not ready to say goodbye. 

Before we went for lunch, we officially got our certificate of the Global Youth Advocacy Workshop on GCED. 


With Misses president of Tunisia Syrine Rekhis 

With Misses president of Argentina Melisa Trad
In the afternoon we got some free time to discover Busan in groups of four. During the quick sightseeing we had to make sure (and prove with a picture) we tried some typical Korean street food, we found the entrance of the local market and that we found something of our own culture. Think we did pretty well: 
At the entrance of the local market
Eating typical street food; sweet potato sticks
Found something of my own culture ;) 

Enjoy some more impressions of Busan:

We finished this amazing week in an amazing restaurant! 

And finally for the people who don't like to read, you can get a general overview of the workshop in the following video. Please take a good look at minute 8:34.

As no one wanted to say goodbye, most of us stayed up all night. I also didn't want to lose any moment to keep talking, keep discussing, keep exchanging thoughts with each other. It was a short night, but probably the most interesting night. At 5am I had to leave to the airport...  

It wasn't goodbye, but only the beginning of a new challenge with lots of new friends and inspiring young people all over the world.

dinsdag 28 april 2015

Drinking dishwater at the Beomeosa Temple

Respecting cultural and religious diversity:

After an amazing and unforgettable culture night, it was time for a wonderful study visit. On Thursday morning (third day of the workshop) we went to the Beomeosa Temple. 
The Beomeosa Temple is the head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. The Temple is located in the northern district Geumjeong-gu in Busan, South-Korea. The Temple is built on the slopes of Geumjeongsan, it is one of the country’s most known urban temples.

View from the Beomeosa Temle

View from the second gate
The Beomeosa Temple was constructed in 678 during the reign of Silla king Munmu, by the monk Uisang. At its largest, during the Goryeo dynasty, it was much larger than it is today- with over 360 rooms and more than a thousand monks in residence. You can find more about the history of the Temple on the internet; I’ll talk more about the experiences during the study visit.

First of all I want to thank our guide mister Kim Man II. We couldn’t imagine any better guide. His enthusiasm, his experience, his origin and his belief in the power of youth, was amazing.

We started the visit at the front gate (Iljumun). There were three gates before you actually enter the Temple. At the first gate, called the “One-Pillar Gate”, because when viewed from the side the gate appears to be supported by a single pillar symbolizing the one true path of enlightenment which supports the world. There you had to let go all your thoughts, all your bad thoughts, all your doubts, all your prejudices so your mind is open and clear to enter the Beomeosa Temple. 
Iljumun (front gate)

When you arrive at the second gate and you didn’t let go of these thoughts, the four terrifying creatures (Four Heavenly Kings) would make sure you did. The four kings were also guarding the entrance to the temple.
One of the four heavenly kings at the second gate
The third gate, Beomeosa Burimun, or Gate of Non-Duality is the final gate before entering the main temple. This gate symbolizes connection, the concept that the realm of Buddha and this world are the same.
On the way to the third gate, Beomeosa Burimun
At every gate the guide made the link with GCED; how we have to let go of our prejudices, how we have to believe that we are all the same, how we are all connected, we have to look at the world and into your true inner-self with a clear and open mind.

Once we were in the garden of the temple the most impressive part of the complex for me was the Hall with the large drum and huge bell to get the attention of every creature (all the creatures in the sea, all the creatures in the air/ heaven, all the creatures on earth and all the creatures under the earth) to let them know that they will start praying, meditating at the Temple.

Dae Woong Jeon (Buddha Hall)
At the other side of the garden, there is the main Hall, the Dae Woong Jeon (Buddha Hall). While mister Kim give us more explanation about the Buddha Hall, he told us that mother love is the most beautiful thing in the world. Standing there, at that amazing place, with all these amazing people around me thinking about what the most beautiful thing in the world is, made me very quiet and let me realize that mother love is the most beautiful thing in the world.

In front of the Buddha Hall (PS. It was a very cold day)

After a spiritual, emotional, interesting and amazing morning at the Beomeosa Temple we went to have traditional Temple food in the traditional way. What an experience!!

We were guided by a Monk who explained us how to prepare for eating, how to eat and how to clean our bowls in the correct way. Following pictures will give you an idea of the tradition. If you want to know the details, I recommend you to visit the Beomeosa Temple and to have traditional Temple food. Enjoy!

The beginning 
Meal chant:
Where has this food come from? 
I am ashamed of eating it.
I will take it as medicine 
to get rid of greed in my mind
and to keep my physical being
in order to achive enlightenment.

Cleaning our bowls

Traditional Temple food

We have to finish everything we take

Ready to start eating
But first the rules, how we have to eat

Finished, think I did well, now we have to use the yellow radish and the water in the bowl (top right) to clean our bowls. When our bowls are clean, we have to drink the water we cleaned our bowls with...  
It's because of our own perspective that we think the water we cleaned our bowls in is dirty and unhealty to drink. There is nothing wrong with the water, the water is drinkable and the bits that are in the water are leftovers from the food you've just eaten. We have to learn to put our perspectives aside. To let go of our prejudices, our stereotypes. How we address things, how we respond to it is from our own perspective. But we have to learn how to let go of our own perspective and look at things in another way, from the perspective of other human beings, other citizens.

zaterdag 11 april 2015

Activities, reflections, .... CULTURE NIGHT !!!

A morning full of activities and reflections

Wednesday morning, second day of the workshop was for the majority of us a very interesting morning. Professor Francis D. Lee came to give us a great workshop. The fact that we had a lot of input during the whole session was great.

Professor Francis D. Lee

The main thing we would do during the morning was activities and reflections. Whenever we did an activity we came together to reflect about it. The reflection came from us, we got the chance to interact, and none of our answers were right or wrong.

We started with a chaotic dialogue exercise. We were told to have a normal dialogue in groups of two, after that we had to have the same dialogue without looking to each other’s eyes. After the exercise we came together and reflected on the two different kinds of dialogue. What did we notice, what went well, what went wrong, why, what did we feel, ... We also tried to link the dialogue exercise with GCED.

Puppet exercise

“Go and stand at your centre of the room.” That was the second activity we had to do. Everyone went to different places in the room. Some of us got the chance to explain why they choose this or that particular spot in the room. Afterwards we reflected about the exercise. Some interesting reflections:
  • Everyone has another or sometimes the same centre of the room. Everyone has another idea of what the centre of the room is for them.
  • Understanding each other’s centre of the room comes after people explained why this is the centre for them. 
  • It’s not about what and where the centre is, it’s about the mindset.
  • It’s important to know the centre of the others, but also to keep in mind what your centre is, what is important for you.
  • Find uniqueness in diversity!
  • First create a moment of not understanding, why is this there centre? First listen.
  • If we move to more diversity à observation of diversity
  • There is no centre à we can not define the centre
  • If we didn’t got this question, we wouldn’t look for a centre.
The other main exercises were the poppet exercise and the triangle exercise. Both exercises referred to different kinds of communication, different kinds of power structures/ relations. Some conclusions from the morning: 

  • Communication is a complex thing
  • Pedagogical approaches:

o   Holistic
o   Critical thinking and problem solving
o   Diverse pedagogical approaches
o   Participatory
o   Local-global connections or glocal-inter-connections
  • Global Citizenship is about learning how to live together. The whole being of others. The presence of communication.
  • Embrace diversity
In the afternoon we were split up per region, Europe was together with North- America. We had to look for a common issue and use the advocacy toolkit to start up our advocacy strategy. We were lucky that we were only with 5 people in our group, so the discussions went very smoothly and it was easy to make decisions. Compared with the region Africa or South- East Asia, who were with a very big group. They had to listen to many more people and take their ideas into consideration. I think this can be linked to the different ways of communication from the morning exercise. Also to the different characteristics of dialogue we discussed in the morning.

We finished the second day of the GCED workshop with an amazing culture night!!! I’ll let the pictures do the talking!!! 

Lovely South African song

Hind presenting the performers in beautiful traditional clothing
John: "Give me a heart beat"

Lova from Madagascar thought us a wonderful dance! 


Syrine, representing Tunesia, and offering us amazing sweets from Tunesia

'Pakistani - Bangladeshi - love song' 

Amazing friendship between Morocco and Algeria

Me, explaining "the big Belgian Easter egg quiz"

Enthousiastic people! All for the chocolate eggs