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Character Education

Building a Culture of Peace in St. Lucia through Character Education

The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) St. Lucia Chapter held a one-day workshop on “Character Education and Life Skills” on Saturday 31st May 2008 at the Auberge Seraphine Hotel. The workshop is the first of a series of activities planned by the non-profit voluntary organization in pursuit of its goal of “Building a Culture of Peace” in the society.

The training which had as its theme “Good Character is the only secure foundation of the State” was attended by 30 participants including the President of the Senate, Senator Dr. Rosemarie Mathurin and former Minister of Tourism and District Representative for Castries East, Hon. Phillip J. Pierre. The attendees were mainly members of the organization who are conferred the title of Ambassadors for Peace and friends. The welcome address was delivered by Sen. Hon. Gaspard Charlemagne, Minister in the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Conducting the workshop was Professor Alan Saunders, Director of the Office of Character Education and HIV/AIDS Prevention of the Universal Peace Federation, which is based in New York. A consultant with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Professor Saunders is also the Chairman of the Conference of NGOs (CONGO) Committee on HIV/AIDS for organizations with consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the UN.

In his presentation, Prof. Saunders highlighted the need for social emotional learning and character development over the course of life. He defined character education simply as a conscious effort to instill virtues in people by educating the head, to know the good, the heart to care about the good, and the hand, to do the good.

He lamented the explosion of moral problems in society which stemmed from our alienation from traditional values. Many of these challenges are due in large measure, to the absence of the extended family and the negative impact of the mass media on youth.

Using his country, the USA as an example, he cited the high rate of divorce stating that 50% of all first marriages ended in failure while for second marriages, the rate increased to 70% and for third marriages, the divorce rate was as high as 85%!! Then there was the rising rate of suicide among youth, likewise with crime and violence, teenage pregnancy and drug and alcohol abuse. These problems can only be solved by imbuing traditional values/virtues such as honesty, respect, integrity and spirituality in our people.

According to Professor Saunders, the character Education programme teaches virtues within the framework of the 3 basic life goals thus:

  1. To attain mature character.
  2. To develop loving relationships with family and others
  3. To make a positive contribution to the society

He urged participants to establish a community based programme to inculcate traditional values in a contemporary sense, based on core ethical principles and virtues and emphasized the need for the home, school and family to work cooperatively to infuse virtues in the hearts and minds of the youth of St. Lucia.

The next activity to be organized by the group will be a workshop on “Conflict Resolution” which takes place on June 28, 2008 at the Green Parrot Hotel. Further information on the organization may be obtained from the Coordinator, Mr. Remy Taupier at tel. no. 4531478 or email address, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Source: The Voice

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