December 2020 Newsletter
CEIN Highlights in 2020
by Valerie "Terry" Ellis, CEIN President
Dear CEIN Members and Friends,
Thank you for the many opportunities you found this challenging year to create value in your own lives, at work, and as volunteers in our communities around the world. Congratulations!
We find that the call “to build back better” is creating interest in value-creating education. As a result, we are welcoming new members from Ethiopia, Canada, Australia, and Japan. Below, please learn more about the four young women in Ethiopia who joined CEIN along with their teacher, Gezu Mossissa. They see value-creating education and the Earth Charter as the keys to a more peaceful, sustainable Ethiopia and world. We’ll be introducing more of our new members in future newsletters.
Another milestone for CEIN was our participation in the U.N. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review (UPR). https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/BasicFacts.aspx
We contributed to the U.S. Human Rights Network (USHRN) report beginning in the fall of 2019, and also learned from USHRN leaders how to submit our own report. CEIN’s report focused on how maintaining and modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal drains tax dollars needed for infrastructure, healthcare, and education services.
This year, we endorsed the USHRN supplemental letter regarding the human rights impact of COVID-19. Then in June, we endorsed a letter in support of the family of George Lloyd and other African-American families. This letter was introduced to the U.N. Human Rights Council by the Africa Group and resulted in a special session of the Council with testimony from the brother of George Floyd. The formal UPR hearing for the United States took place on Nov. 7, 2020.
CEIN members also celebrated the Earth Charter’s 20th anniversary in 2020. (CEIN became an official EC Partner in 2019.) We participated in Earth Charter webinars and movement calls and made this a theme for dialogue during our June Forum. As a graduate in 2020 of the Earth Charter certificate program in Education for Sustainable Development, I learned from and with educators around the world. The course has ended, but this process continues as we encourage each other along the path of creating a more sustainable, just, and peaceful world.
Centerstage: Meet a New Member
Rebecca Belay Kassa, Ethiopia
Rebecca Belay Kassa is an Ethiopian national currently residing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She has boundless love and admiration for her country. She is proud of being Ethiopian for so many reasons including the traditional and cultural values of the country. Ethiopians are very much attached to their cultures and religions. Although they are diverse people with different ethnic and religious backgrounds, they all share a number of values. Ethiopians are polite and respectful to a great extent. They always have warm greetings to anyone who they meet.
Rebecca Belay Kassa
Their hospitality is something that is proven true by a lot of foreigners. They are friendly people who are generous towards each other as well as outsiders. They believe in supporting and helping each other at times of need. There is always a sense of love in their gatherings. Education is valued amongst Ethiopians. An educated person instantly gains respect and honour from the community. These values are few among many that truly affirm the sense of nationality for Rebecca.
Rebecca attained her B.Sc. Degree in Civil Engineering from Addis Ababa University. Following that, she got a prestigious scholarship to study her Master’s Degree at the Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI) in Nairobi, Kenya. Her passion for environmental sustainability and creating a safe, clean and healthy environment led her to do both her undergraduate and postgraduate research work on incorporating plastic waste in the construction industry. Her undergraduate research evaluated the outcomes of an attempt to reinforce and stabilize expansive clay soil with plastic bottle strips. Different sizes and mixing ratios of the plastic strips were added to the soil and the results were studied. Similarly, she did a research that evaluated the effects of using PET fibres and fly ash on the performance of concrete for her masters study. The fibres were added to concrete at different percentages and their effect on the improvement of the tensile strength of concrete were studied. Beyond the engineering properties, the research assessed the economic and environmental advantages of the addition of PET to concrete. She has published four scientific articles in international journals from her previous studies.
During her stay at the Pan African University, alongside her education, she was a member of the pioneering team of the Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences, Innovation and Technology (PAUSTI) Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club. As a pioneering General Secretary of the PAUSTI Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club, she has gained a significant experience in developing her leadership, communication, planning and organizing skills. By working and learning with a diverse group of people from over thirty-three different African countries, she established a skill to comfortably be part of a multi-cultural environment.
Rebecca is currently volunteering at the US Embassy in Ethiopia to train the Ethiopian youth on environmental issues, specifically plastic pollution. She is also the General Secretary of the team that is starting the Earth Charter Youth Initiative in Ethiopia. Apart from that she is working on starting a project that focuses on manufacturing roofing and pavement tiles from recycled plastic waste. Turning trash to treasure being the motivating principle for her, she puts all her efforts to add value to plastic waste and save the environment form its crucial effects. She believes there is still a lot to be done in her country and education is the major tool to tackle most of the problems that Ethiopia as a country is facing. She believes the cultural and traditional values in her country can and will be assets if they get intertwined with the education system. She works hard and strives to learn and expand her knowledge in all possible ways in order to be well experienced to give back to her community and country.
by Sue Zipp
Hello from Sue Zipp, an advisor and Board Member for the Creative Educators International Network (CEIN). Most of my professional life has been engaged with projects of the United Nations, as co-chair of the Global People's Assembly, advisor for Women for Cultural Wisdom, the UN Commission on the Status of Women, and advisor to the Communications Coordination Committee for the United Nations. This has taught me that every subject and discipline in life can have a UN imprint.
This year the UN celebrates its 75th Anniversary, a huge milestone indicating the accomplishments and unfinished business in our transforming World! I'm happy to report that CEIN is developing
CEIN Members in California: Left, Sue Zipp & Thelma Moreira
a growing relationship with the UN, especially with our activities to support achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
I believe we are all both educators and students, and CEIN creates the opportunity to share experiences and effective practices of education. CEIN is a place to develop our personal skills, discuss creative ideas, and spark curiosity to be a life-long student. If you are not yet a member of CEIN, join today and turn your passion into action!
With best wishes for your continued good health and happiness. Thank you!
Spotlight on Value-Creating Education
by Fatima de Oliveira, CEIN U.S. Director
Earth Charter Class 2018
My name is Fatima De Oliveira and I have been a CEIN member since 2011. CEIN is an organization created based on Mr. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi’s Value Creating Philosophy. It is a philosophy that is centered in the happiness of the individual and, therefore, can achieve happiness in the community. My first contact with Mr. Makiguchi’s ideals happened in 1991 when I met a group of educators in Brazil who were starting to study Value-Creating Philosophy to strengthen their skills and find a way to help their communities to shine.
When I joined CEIN, I found a place to keep working with Value-Creating Education in my job as an ESL teacher, as well as a member of my community. Our Forums and International Conferences have provided me the knowledge and insights to keep working to make the world a better place for me and future generations. After our conference in Costa Rica, where we connected with the University of Peace and the Earth Charter, I started to incorporate the Earth Charter principles and the SDGs in my ESL classes, and have engaged in very productive dialogues with my students. I also have been active in my community in fighting for human rights and the protection of the environment. If you share a passion for our planet and our humanity you might find yourself at home with us.
Beach Clean-up, September 2020
Teaching During the Pandemic in Brazil: a lost year?
by Marcos Roberto dos Santos, Director CEIN Brazil
In March 2020, the shutdown of some official departments in Brazil was officially decreed, among them the educational institutions, starting first in the State of São Paulo, after which the other States of the Brazilian Federation, which are 26 States and 1 Federal District, were gradually taking stoppage actions.
With Decree Law No. 64,864, of 3/16/2020 – Suspension of classes, from the State of São Paulo, on March 23, 2020, 100% of face-to-face activities were suspended.
Marcos dos Santos, Director CEIN Brazil
With the goal that classes would resume in April 2020, some resolutions as measures were taken, such as Seduc Resolution 44, of 4/20/2020 – Reorganization and replanning of the school calendar and activities which aimed to prepare the school team for the return to classes by 3.5 million students on March 27, 2020 and that teachers and staff of state schools would participate during 3 days of school replanning. For this, the Pedagogical Coordination and the School of Training and Improvement of Education Professionals have prepared a joint document to guide schools within the State of São Paulo. However, the pandemic continued and forced the continuing of the suspension of face-to-face classes and the enforcement of other measures, including the use of the internet and social networks.
On the way back to classes, kits were also distributed with printed material containing handouts of Mathematics and Portuguese Language, comic books of Monica's (a famous Brazilian cartoon character) Class, extracurricular books, and a manual of guidelines to families and the Media Centers.
However, even with these actions, the result obtained did not match the expectations of principals, teachers, mayor and even the governor because not all students have access to the Internet, or even the necessary equipment and tools for connection, such as a mobile phone; there were even those who did not even have financial conditions to pay the internet providers monthly fees. In a survey conducted by DataFolha, commissioned by the Lemann Foundation, Itaú Social and Imaginable Futures, conducted from June 11 to 20, 2020, 43% of the students could not follow the classes. Among the low-income population, this fear was even greater, 60% of students feared they would not be able to keep up with their activities and 53% feared they could not keep up with the pace of classes.
According to the site Todos Pela Educação (All for Education) "Catching up in learning is possible with the right pedagogical tools, but the longer the time until resuming school’s routine, the more challenging the gaps will be, especially for the poorest".
In this context, being a teacher, I was also forced to adapt and, in a way, meet my students’ expectations. I confess that my greatest intention was, and it continues to be, not to leave anyone behind. In this remote teaching reality, I realized the difficulties of some students, and I enthusiastically repeated each lesson as many times as necessary, making each of them to feel special and, moreover, motivated.
The Earth Charter Youth Initiative Ethiopia
by Rebecca Belay Kassa
From left: Hanna, Obang Olumo Okello, Gezu Mossissa, Abigail, Rebecca & Yostena.
Starting the Earth Charter Youth Initiative in Ethiopia is an idea that sparked from the passion to have a responsible well-disciplined young generation in the country. The main aim of the Earth Charter being to build a just, sustainable and peaceful world, its implementation will have an astounding impact on the Ethiopian youth. The initiative will create a platform for the young people to work together with a common target to form a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. The Earth Charter Youth Initiative Ethiopia aims to have a country that promotes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, social and economic justice, as well as democracy, non-violence and peace (the four pillars of the earth charter).
A group of four young women who met on a training platform organized by the US Embassy in Ethiopia was introduced to the Earth Charter team by Gezu Mossissa. Rebecca Belay Kassa, Abigail Endale Ebssa, Hanna Kumera Kitila and Yostena Tewodros had the desire for the implementation of the Earth Charter in Ethiopia, especially amongst the young generation. They have different educational and extracurricular backgrounds which is helping them to a great extent to set up the initiative. They organized themselves as a team to launch the Earth Charter Youth Initiative in Ethiopia.
The process of setting up the team started with structuring an executive committee that has seven distinct positions; the chairperson, vice chairperson, general secretary, public relations officer, social media manager, treasurer and engagement management representative. Four of these positions are already taken by the four team members and the remaining are to be covered by new upcoming members. Once the initiative is launched it will have different trainings and courses as well as diverse events and activities. Currently the team is working on getting the initiative registered in Ethiopia, preparing a proposal, getting a website and preparing a summarized version of the Earth Charter in three different local languages (Amharic, Oromiffa and Tigregna).
The members recently had a meeting with Gezu Mossissa and Obang Olumo Okello (a government official from Gambella Region) where they had insightful discussions. They appreciated all the efforts made so far and encouraged the team to work even harder to launch the initiative as soon as possible. A detailed explanation was given by Mr. Obang on the preparation of a project proposal for the initiative and formulating guidelines which will be necessary for the legal registration of the initiative in Ethiopia. It was made clear that the legal registration has its own process as per the government’s requirements.
The proposal will be prepared by the team along with the necessary guidelines of the initiative in the following weeks and the application for registration will be started. Throughout this process and after, the initiative will work in collaborations with different government bodies, NGOs, youth groups and individuals. The content planning of upcoming trainings, activities and events is also underway. Once these steps are cleared the initiative will be publicly launched and membership registrations will circulate on different platforms for young people to join.
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