Skip to main content

Education Conference in Panchgani


From January 8 – 12th , Educators from around the world were on a transformative journey at the Initiatives of Change Conference Centre at Asia Plateau, Panchgani, India. One of IofC Canada’s board members travelled from Syria to participate. Iman AlGhafari travelled with a group from Lebanon. Below are her reflections on their Values-Driven Education Gathering.

Reflection & Inspiration

Education means to liberate us from ignorance, bias and pride. This is not only a definition of education but also a formula for healing individually and collectively.

Ignorance is not the absence of information. It is the absence of knowledge and awareness. We need to dig deep into our inner universe as we are learning about the fabric of our society, not only to protect our country from a possible outsider who might be interested in creating division but also to know and understand ourselves and our motivations on this planet. (We created you different nations and tribes to get to KNOW each other). Do we know ourselves and others fairly well or are we only living under the umbrella of being a victim far from responsibility?

What knowledge should we obtain and learn that can lead to liberation? Can this knowledge liberate us from inherited stereotypes, pride and hatred?

How can education heal our wounds of the past and draw smiles and hope to the coming generations?

My goals;

1- Growing from inside; Unless I know myself, I can't appreciate the universe nor the world around me. Unless I am healed, I can't provide non bias, fair and genuine solutions. What energy am I creating and generating? Inner Listening is a great tool for healing and good way of mapping my plans and actions.

2- Using the skills and information were shared at the meetings. Also, how to apply them at schools, hoping later that the programs can be shared more widely.

What to bring to my family, community, country and the world;

1- In order to address violence, I need to recognize its causes at home, schools, society and individually. We can't remove violence, but we can plant inner security, unconditional love, honesty, purity of heart and unselfishness practiced through inner listening in the classes and through questions and activities. Violence is not only physical but also verbally it appears through daily communication, through bullying and mocking that reveals the insecurity we live in, and hides inside us.

2- Dare to dream big and start small; I've learnt to start planting one tree until the forest grows.

I am going to visit my childhood public school and meet the principle. I need to listen to the challenges and implement some methods I've learned during the meetings. If it works, that will lead me to spread the good news. There are always ways to do that.

Ideas have left impacts on me;

- I am moved by the idea of the city/ suburb exchange programs. In Damascus there is a need for such initiative between public and private schools in the same city as there is a huge gap and social division between the two. (Due to the war a lot of students fled to Damascus from their villages).

- Besides that, applying the methodology and habit of an Indigenous tribe in Southern Africa to address bad behaviors through non-violence tools can be a good experiment. The tribe gather around the one who makes a mistake for three days and they recall their good deeds instead of isolating them and pouring blame and accusations on them. Learning to focus on the good side of each other opens the door for the person to recognize their own mistakes.

- Teachers and mothers have huge responsibilities in building inner peace, confidence, creativity, and hope. For that reason, there should a safe zone for them to experience Peace Circles which have simple but deep ingredients that make deep outcomes and influences. This experience has been applied to Damascus Academy School where the bond has been created through this program and is still strong. Creators of Peace program has been a great platform for share concerns and finding solutions together beside building a balanced social networking. Inner peace can lead to creativity and critical thinking.

- Behavior is contagious. In the Middle East in general and Syria in particular there is a need for hope, being heard, living in real peace. At the same time, we need to focus on the power of one and trust in the work of community. We can move mountains if we replace our ego with faith and the power of now.

Thanks Asia Plateau for opening the door to us.

Let's be aware of the energy we create and the words we say and the feelings we generate as through them we are creating a new reality. Let's be aware of our inner universe.

Iman AlGhafari