In Palaia Phocaea of the Municipality of Saronikos, within the framework of the events for the 100 years since the Asia Minor catastrophe, two 3-hour experiential workshops on Intercultural Dialogue and Social Resilience were organized for educators, on September 18 and October 15, 2022, respectively.
Beyond the spectrum of mourning and historical memory, these workshops aimed to strengthen social cohesion and resilience mechanisms and to activate the potential of citizens, especially young people. Since teachers are at the forefront of this effort, the two workshops addressed them. The certified trainer on Intercultural Citizenship Education from the Anna Lindh Foundation, Aspasia Protogerou, designed the two experiential workshops with two main thematic axes: 1) the investigation of personal identity and the factors that affect it and 2) the broadening of interpersonal perception.
Implemented activities included in the workshops cultivate skills such as self-observation, active listening, openmindness, critical thinking, empathy and fruitful dialogue. The cultivation of such social skills is a basic prerequisite for the optimal exercise of the rights and obligations of every active citizen, as well as for the smooth and fruitful coexistence, communication and cooperation with his fellow human beings.
More specifically, the first three-hour workshop included activities of self-discovery and free expression: the participants explored the uniqueness and multidimensional diversity of both their own personal identity and that of the other members of the group. They discerned the coexistence in each identity of various “cultures”.
The second workshop included activities of interaction and creative exploration of the concept of the image: the image we have for ourselves, the image others have for us and the image we have for them. The participants collaborated by recording differences but also unexpected similarities, experienced the ambiguity of perception and the relativity of reality experienced by each of us. They were thus encouraged to broaden their point of view and suppress the tendency to comparison and criticism.
The skills that these workshops have strengthened are essential for everyone, let alone teachers and youth workers who aim at their personal development and, also, at supporting young people to make a more active contribution to a more resilient, inclusive and prosperous society.
The workshops were held with the support of the cultural association “Aristodikos” of the Municipality of Saronikos at the site of the cultural association “Fokaeon Politeia”.