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Character Education

UPF-Australia Holds Second Values Education Summit

Australia-2021-06-19-UPF-Australia Holds Second Values Education Summit

Melbourne, Australia—On June 19, thirty participants took part in the second of three Values Education Summits UPF-Australia is hosting in 2021. Presenters from Greece, Somalia and Australia joined six academics from the International Association of Academicians for Peace (IAAP)-Oceania and UPF leaders to discuss the importance of values education. The content of the event was transcribed and added to a position paper that will be shared with governments and other stakeholders to provide a comprehensive vision for values education.

The first speaker was Ms. Rania Lampou, a Greek neuroscience researcher who is the recipient of the “Best Teacher Award” at the 2020 Global Teacher Awards. The topic of her presentation was "Social Values and Volunteerism in Education." Ms. Lampou maintained that educational institutions transmit values and attitudes that have an impact long into the future. Fostering volunteerism in schools is a practical way for students to experience the joy of offering service to society and learn lifelong skills.

The second speaker was Mr. Zack Haddock, executive director of the Koorie Outcomes Division of the Department of Education and Training Victoria in Australia. He is a proud Yorta Yorta man with a background in nursing, education and business. Mr. Haddock spoke about “Self-Determination in Education: The Importance of Respect and Recognition in Addressing Disadvantage.”  He argued that education with regard to the First Nations people must be built on recognition and respect that reflects and honors the aspirations, knowledge and resources Koorie families and communities bring in supporting greater school engagement and performance. He also spoke about the family and community values.

Ms. Xzavia Hargreaves, director of OptiMystic Xzavia, is an experienced mentor and coach. “The Importance of Values in Relation to Meaning in Life” was the focus of her presentation.  Ms. Hargreaves asked the participants to imagine how different society would be if children grew into the next generation of adults with a well-rounded knowledge of how to understand and manage their values. She said, “In our conversations with others, we must move beyond the superficial and engage with the core values of people.”

Dr. Hassan Haji Ibrahim is a governance and strategy advisor for the Somalia National Election Commission. Before this role, he worked in New Zealand as a senior education advisor. He spoke on “The Importance of Values Education in Creating a Stable and Inclusive Society and Why Values Education is Essential in Countries' Post-conflict Rebuilding Process.” He emphasized the importance of values in the family in creating peaceful societies.

Mrs. Sacha Kaluri, founder of The Motivational Company and a specialist in career choices and goal setting, has 18 years of experience in educating young people. She has presented to more than 100 school groups, parents, teachers, universities and juvenile detention centres. She presented on “Helping Young People Find Direction and Purpose in their Career Choices.” Mrs. Kaluri affirmed that young people engaging in voluntary service and networking is the best way for them to advance their careers; yet, this is not taught in schools.

Dr. John Bellavance, vice president of UPF-Australia and coordinator of the IAAP-Oceania, shared that a holistic education relies on fostering integrity, heart and character, namely moral reasoning, emotions and behaviors. He argued that the gaping hole in values and social and emotional skills in Australia is that family values are not taught in schools. The values and practices that make for good relationships between parent and child, siblings, and husband and wife are crucial.

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