Imogen Michel, ‘Edinburgh CAAT Schools Workshop Programme’, Peace and Justice News (Edinburgh), February 2012
As peace activists, there are many different ways in which we seek to make the world a safer, more peaceful and more just place, from asking others to sign our petitions through to chaining ourselves to the gates of a nuclear weapons facility. However, whilst these actions help secure the present and the short-term future, to make long-term change I believe we need to also involve education and young people in our campaigning activities, as they are the people who will shape the world after us. Without their help and support for what we want to do, the action we take now can only last so long.
This is why I feel so proud to be part of a group which actively promotes education on peace issues within secondary schools across Scotland. The Edinburgh Campaign Against Arms Trade group has devised and pioneered an hour-long workshop which can be taught in schools, informing and engaging the young adults of tomorrow on issues which surround the international arms trade. We have been to a wide variety of schools in Scotland (as well as one in Newcastle) and have met with a generally very good response. Often, the issues around the arms trade are not very well known even among adults, and so providing this opportunity to learn more to school children can be an extremely rewarding experience.
We have worked hard over the last few years revising and improving the workshop structure, as well as getting some practice in at delivering them, and it seems to work well in engaging children in thinking critically about the arms trade, even if they don’t all necessarily always end up agreeing with our own viewpoint! When you consider the way in which the military regularly visit schools and campuses, giving their own perspective and encouraging support for their activities, it is reassuring to think that at least some children are also being given an alternative view and the chance to make their own mind up on the issues involved.
Overall, it has been a wonderful and rewarding experience to be part of this team, and I thoroughly recommend it. We’re hoping to visit even more schools to deliver our workshops in 2012, so please get in touch and get involved!
We are currently looking for more volunteers to join our schools workshops team, and are holding a free training day for those interested in our schools work on Saturday 18 February 2012 in Edinburgh. For more information and to register for a place, please contact Imogen at firstname.lastname@example.org.