Avis Rolfe, RCN’s Chair of the Humanitarian Committee and Red Cross Coordinator, participated in the week-long course. These are her reflections:
During PBL week, we were fortunate enough to host two very special visitors: Reema Chopra from the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies office (Geneva) and Eliana Del Bianco from the Centre for Co-operation in the Mediterranean (Barcelona). Their work with us over the week was to strengthen the College’s ties with the Red Cross, and develop students’ understanding of our namesake organization, through the Youth as Agents of Behavioural Change (YABC) programme. Its aim is to empower young people from around the world to ‘be the change they want to see’, and to inspire others to also change their behaviour in a positive way.
During the course, students learnt more about the YABC initiative and how to use it to promote a culture of non-violence and peace, as well as acquiring the basic knowledge to be an effective peer-educator and ethical leader.The course was centred on the Seven Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, unity, universality and voluntary service. During the week, participants took part in a series of interactive tasks which encouraged self-reflection on their everyday behaviour and also wider changes which they would like to see take place in the world. Each activity had a real application to life here at UWC, and focused on topics such as active listening; non-violent communication; critical thinking and non-judgement; and collaboration, negotiation and mediation. The ‘heart to heart before mind to mind’ approach of this experiential learning enabled participants to gain a greater empathy, understanding and awareness of their own actions, mind-sets and behaviour, as well as some of the greater challenges faced by the Red Cross in responding to international situations.
The students who took part felt that they gained a deeper understanding of Red Cross values, and were able to recognise their worth and importance as part of the UWC experience. In response to this training, the participants have been motivated to found a YABC working party who will consider how to share this training with the wider school community to enrich the Red Cross Nordic experience for all.