As the oldest and longest running training workshop in APCEIU’s history, the 17th Asia Pacific Training Workshop on Education for International Understanding (APTW) was held from 20 to 28 in Seoul and Inje, Republic of Korea. This year, the workshop was organized in partnership with UNESCO Bangkok Office. Twenty-seven participants representing twenty-one countries gathered together to dive into the concept of global citizenship education (GCED) under SDG 4.7. As educators with backgrounds in teaching and training, policymaking, and curriculum development, it was a vibrant time of learning from one another’s ideas and practices.
The nine-day workshop consisted of informative and interactive sessions with activities facilitated by GCED experts in the fields of the arts, human rights, sustainable development, and peace education. By learning the content, pedagogy, tools and skills of GCED application in their local educational settings, the participants were prepared to craft their own actions plans of implementation when they return back home. Through many engaging discussions and debates within the global paradigm, they committed once again to foster a culture of peace with their teachers and youth through education.
In addition, three days were dedicated to a field visit in Inje, Gangwon Province. Participants spent time at the DMZ Peace-Life Valley, which is only about nine kilometers from the most heavily militarized zone in the world - the DMZ. Many topics and themes were centered on non-violence, sustainability, and conflict resolution, especially in the context of the Korean War and division, including current inter-Korean relations. Most participants claimed that visiting the 4th Tunnel (a poignant remnant of a divided Korea) left a lasting impression on them of the impact of war on both national and international peace.
Towards the end of the workshop, Ms. Lea Espallardo, one of the facilitators of the workshop, stressed that GCED is not learned through just a worksheet or presentation, but is a transformative process and a vision worth fighting for. One participant stated that despite having read about GCED in the past, the workshop has brought the ideal, but broad concept to life. He now feels more empowered and supported to be an effective facilitator when he returns back home. The final discussion among the participants was filled with encouragement to continue their roles as global citizens to create more global citizens for a peaceful world.