21 October 2005

Changed lives a speciality

Today was the day of a conference in whose organisation I’ve played a part over the past nine months. In fact, it was the second of two this week: the other was yesterday, but this one was far more interesting. Yesterday’s was serious, academic, and went as expected; today’s was for young people, held more risk, and taught me far more.

It arose from a desire, in January, to connect the outpouring of empathy for tsunami victims with a larger picture of the world. The tsunami wasn't an isolated event: many of the general issues surrounding one disaster apply to all disasters. Moral and economic issues arising from such events affect everyone in today's globalised world; we need to learn the lessons. In particular, the subjects we learn at school are not just self contained bubbles; they are (or should be) what prepare us to understand, and perhaps change, the world in which we live with such disaster events. To be prepared is to be armed - and education is a vital foundation of preparedness. The young people who attended the conference are the ones who will rule the world in the years ahead as it comes to terms with such disasters and the new challenges which global consciousness, global warming, and my generation, are creating.

The high point came, for me, when two separate people in one small conference workshop said “it’s changed my life”. That can't be a bad day's work.

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