Launch of a new regional workshop series to drive social cohesion in South Asia

On the occasion of Human Rights Day, UNESCO’s New Delhi Cluster Office and the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) are jointly launching a six-month, multi-country online training series for community youth leaders in South Asia on social cohesion

The series, Engaging Youth for Social Cohesion, will be conducted within the framework of UNESCO’s programmes that aim to build resilience and inclusion to help sustain cohesion and peace in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
The series responds to new forces of division and discrimination as well as concerns to youth wellbeing and exclusion that have arisen globally during the COVID-19 pandemic. The workshop series aims to build the capacities of youth leaders to champion social cohesion and promote intercultural dialogue as tools for socio-emotional resilience. 
The workshop series promotes an experiential learning-based approach to foster social cohesion among youth through building capacities for intercultural dialogue and socio-emotional resilience through two key approaches: Scenario-based learning and Story Circles.
The approach of scenario-based learning promotes active learning strategies and skills for problem solving and negotiation through engaging youth in interactive scenarios that they are required solve. Inspired by indigenous traditions of using circle processes, UNESCO’s methodology for Story Circles promotes intercultural competencies and skills for compassion, empathy, critical inquiry and listening for understanding through engaging groups of people in sharing personal experiences. The focus on social and emotional learning also cultivates self-compassion, compassion for others, as well as the recognition of common humanity, orientation to kindness and reciprocity. 
The promotion of competencies and skills through these methodologies has been proven to be crucial in fostering social cohesion, tolerance, and resilience to violence, as well as ensuring positive conflict transformations. 
The series aims to build a pool of 300 competent instructors trained on methodologies related to developing social cohesion among youth in South Asia, who will be able to impart key skills and knowledge to their own communities. Participants involved in the workshop will gain access to UNESCO’s technical support mechanism and Community of Practice.

The workshop series will also provide participants with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with courses developed by UNESCO MGIEP to help build participants’ emotional resilience.

For more information:

Euan Mackway-Jones []
Maija Lyytinen []
Dani Dani []