These young people were at the International Opportunities conference today. They are from five local secondary schools and were there to explain their experience of an international project called INDIE – Inclusion and Diversity in Education.
‘Inclusion & Diversity in Education is a project that addresses the challenges migration presents to schools in Europe.’
‘The impact of migration on schools presents similar challenges to school education at all levels in all European Countries. We want to combat social disadvantage and raise educational standards for students with migration backgrounds. In order to succeed, we need to develop effective and culturally inclusive schools. To achieve this we need high quality school leadership.’
(from British Council site)
They explained how they had been chosen to take part in the project as they had shown leadership skills at school and been invited to take part in training in Sutton Park on teamwork and leading people. They were then selected to take part in a conference in Brussels in February with similar young leaders from across Europe to discuss a common charter for Inclusion and Diversity. As part of the conference, they presented in the European Parliament where they received a standing ovation.
The young people above shared their thoughts and experiences today of the project. One commented on the issues they discovered through the conference such as a young lady from Belgium being banned from wearing her headscarf who was working for a change in that area. Another talked about making an effort to understand people who didn’t speak English. And the lad in the middle commented that, whilst in Brussels, he spoke to people to whom he wouldn’t normally have paid any attention – he described one encounter ‘I’m not sure what he was,….some kind of Goth…. and I definitely wouldn’t have spoken to him in Birmingham.’
Although nervous, they spoke with honesty and simplicity – and they inspired us all. Let’s hope that there will be many more young leaders who look to lead the way for inclusion and diversity in this country.
Note – I’m trying to get hold of a copy of the Charter -I’ll post it here when I have it!