The project “Journeys for peace” is addressed to students aged 12 to 17 in 5 different countries. Recent events, like terrorism, mass migrations, refugees, have brought about a great sense of insecurity, which in turn increases feelings of fear, selfishness, racism and intolerance towards what is perceived as different. Integration is losing status as a value among our student population, and it is in fact considered a threat to our own 'roots' and 'traditional values'. It's a matter of 'us' against 'them', without even knowing who are 'we' and who are 'they' exactly. Interestingly enough, most young people have heard of and admire great figures of mankind, but wouldn't be able to say where their greatness lies and why they are important to us.
Then our students find it very difficult to set both short- and long-term objectives and are not always willing to engage to pursue them. Therefore this project wants to address these major needs:
-bring back integration as a fundamental value for a peaceful society
-be aware of the examples found in world AND local peace heroes
-recognize the necessity to set clear objectives and be ready to take action to pursue them.
To do so we will engage our students and ourselves to reach the following objectives:
-study how migrants are leaving their countries and analyze the reasons to do it. Try to be aware of the situation they are undergoing and compare what is happening in the five countries taking part in the project. Research about the routes that migrants take to arrive in each of the five countries and look information about the number of refugees in each of the countries, areas.
- explore and investigate great and small world and local peace heroes, and on what they did, whether willingly or by chance, to reach their most precious dreams (freedom, equality, education, human rights, friendship, ...)
- guide our students through the steps of a scientific experiment meant to undermine the concept of race and to demonstrate that even great figures of mankind have a lot in common with us all, offering them opportunities to challenge themselves and learn that everybody can do great little things to make the world a better place
- bring together what schools already do at different levels and take a scientific approach to make students aware of what education can tell us about ourselves. This in order to see the beauty lying within diversity and to understand that alleged diversities in fact have no scientific bases, thus setting the ground for a better world.
This project should be carried out transnationally because human beings all over the world have always been interested in understanding the origins of both themselves and everything that surrounds them. Answers have been sought in different areas such as philosophy and religion and in the last decades empirical sciences like biology, chemistry, physics and genomics have become strikingly useful for this purpose; so we would like our students to get hands-on experience in that together.
We would like to make them research the situation and the difficulties refugees undergo. We think it is difficult for our students to think about it, and most of them only get information from media. But having to analyze and investigate about this situation and share their research with other countries is something that will really enrich their personal development. It is necessary to broaden their minds and reflect on a global situation taking place all over the world, and in the five partner countries, empowering them to make a diffrence.
One of the main tools to reconstruct the evolutionary history of mankind is the study of mitochondrial DNA sequence variation, since it provides information about genetic relationships among different human populations. Being aware that we bear the same genes denies concepts such as human races and racism. Science then will gain a new role as a modern tool in disseminating ideas such as integration, inclusion, globalization, and respect for cultural diversities.That is why we feel it is necessary to address those who will be the future European citizens, the same ones who have already experienced the benefits of living in a free world, and who are old enough to consider what it could be like if the principles on which the Union is based should fail.
Moreover, our vision of innovative societies of the next future – the same societies that will be composed of our students – is that of a culturally mixed, inclusive, global community where people speaking different languages, practicing different religions and confessions, could live together in peace. Also, through the research carried out on world and local peace heroes, this project will aim at demonstrating that you don't need to be that special to be a hero, as even heroes share our same genes. Each one of us, in his/her little place, can then be responsible to make the world a more peaceful place and contribute to social inclusion.