Twenty one students from Sacred Heart School Drogheda, alongside Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Lycee Frederic Fays in Lyon are engaged in a programme that will see them gaining an insight into international conflicts and exploring methods for conflict resolution.
They will also look at controversial, live political issues, an understanding that historical narrative has more than one perspective and develop an ability to critically evaluate source material and evidence.
The theme of the programme is that “strong democracies rely on citizens who can distinguish between arguments and opinion, between News and Fake news which ties into EU calls for schools to be ‘the laboratories of democracy’.”
The inaugural syllabus takes students from the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through to the present day. Students study the region’s history from both perspectives.
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The overall objective of the programme is to equip young people with techniques to help them become good citizens. These techniques include:
The programme allows them to learn the contested history of a current conflict in order to understand how each historical narrative is constructed. Then take those lessons and apply them to a contested history ‘nearer home’.
Young people learn skills which will equip them to play a full role as citizens in a democratic society such as:
To date the students have heard from guest speakers including Dr. Yaser Alashqar who presented a thought provoking session from the Palestinian perspective.
Students also visited the American Embassy, where they received a presentation from a representative, who works on Middle Eastern Policy.
Programme participants also visited the Dail, where they met with Senator David Norris, who gave his perspective on the conflict in Palestine/Israel.
They also met with representatives from the Taoiseach’s office, Mr. Jim O’ Grady, Mr. Eamonn Molloy and Mr. Jim Darcy who discussed with the students the Irish Government’s perspective on conflict and conflict resolution.
All of these interactions and meetings resulted in thought provoking discussion and debate.
For more information on the Programme see https://www.parallelhistories.org.uk/.