Be Proud by Stephane Magloire

Blog Post by Stephane Magloire

2.07.2020

“My rule of thumb is: Ask openly. Expect criticism. Stay humble.” Stephane Magloire

During Pride Month, I was invited by the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens to facilitate an LGBTIQ+ awareness workshop. As a “G” member of the community, I applaud leaders who champion diversity within their companies and organizations. Since the Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York City, June has long been associated as a time of year to highlight, educate and celebrate how far the global human rights movement has come and its continued struggles along the way. However, I find it necessary in my workshop for participants — especially cisgender straight allies — to not only educate themselves about societal beliefs regarding LGBTIQ+ people, the way they live and confront pre-conditioned prejudices within oneself, but also cultivate empathy to better develop tools for how to create safer spaces for those who often feel targeted and/or marginalized.


House Rules

Confidentiality

Establishing a safe space from the beginning of the workshop allows LGBTIQ+ participants to bravely share their experiences in not only their personal lives but also the workplace without feeling singled out. For this to happen, I ask all heterosexual participants not to disclose their sexual identity within the group to avoid thoughts such as “Well, you didn’t say you were straight, so…” Highlighting that straight people normally have the privilege of expressing their sexual identity at any time without fear of repercussion and now creating a space where everyone is an assumed “other” establishes empathy within the group.

Respect

I encourage workshop participants to make mistakes. And because of this, I created an “Ouch!” (then educate) rule. If at any time during the training, you say or do something that is offensive, one can raise her/his/their hand and say, “Ouch!” and share why a comment or word has hurt their feelings. This practice resolves most issues immediately and further establishes trust within the group.

Participate

During the workshop, I encourage all participants to take risks. My thinking is: How do you know if you’re prejudice unless you… ask a “stupid” question or make an insensitive/triggering comment? Participation encourages active listening. As a group, we learn to become mindful of our unintentional micro-aggressions towards others who are different than us and learn to speak from our own experiences using “I feel…” or “I think…” rather than “People say…”



The Workshop

Throughout the workshop, it is important as a facilitator to gauge the emotional environment of the room. I carefully plan my exercises as part of an emotional marathon… “If you pace yourself, drink plenty of water and listen to your body, the experience will sometimes hurt but will only make you stronger in the end.”

Ice Breakers

Ice breakers are the best way to get a group’s energy up and make everyone comfortable through laughter and curiosity. I want the participants to think: “Although I have been working alongside you for xzy amount of months or years, how much do we really know about each other?” In a time of physical distancing and quarantine, name games and personal trivia are the best approach to begin scratching beneath the surface and learn something new about colleagues in your co-working space. Additional ice breakers after pauses between exercises are also a great way to cut emotional tension and re-focus the group.

Early Learning

Stereotypes are always a good place to start because it is something that affects us all regardless of assumed identities by us or perceived labels by others. I begin with a guided fantasy that gives workshop participants an opportunity to feel what it’s like to be ridiculed, excluded and discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation, but with a twist… “What would it be like to live in a world where everyone is LGBTIQ+ and you are the ‘only’ straight person?” Our conditioning of most stereotypes can be attributed to early learning from interactions with family members, friends as well as the communities we grew up in. Understanding the challenges faced by your LGBTIQ+ colleagues, creates an awareness for how to better approach non-gender specific conversations about dating, expands your views outside of what is “normal” and invites LGBTIQ+ people in the group to speak their truth without fear of judgement or outing themselves.

This is Me

Living in a country like Austria, there is a long list of human rights granted to its citizens and legal residents in the LGBTIQ+ community; however, the cultural mindset still has a long way to go in embracing individuality and accepting what makes us unique. In this part of the workshop, we dive into the differences between tolerance and acceptance. Tolerance establishes an internal hive mind mentality, where one becomes afraid to show herself/himself/themselves as an “other.” A positive approach includes a challenge to the group, where they have to identify and share what makes them different and explore why these parts of us should be celebrated as much as what makes us the same. Note: Usually, this is where most participants come out of the closet, which further bonds the group.

Losses

There are three main type of losses that occur in our lives: those that are predictable (losses that we choose), random losses (losses that come from someone we love) and unpredictable (losses that come from strangers). Unfortunately, members of the LGBTIQ+ community do not have the privilege of expressing their love in today’s society, which in turn affect the people they love, the things they cherish, the ideals they value and the places they occupy. Some choices are predictable, but for most, they are random and unpredictable. This is the most emotionally dense part of the workshop because participants finally come to terms with what happens to LGBTIQ+ people as a cause of constant rejection from your environment and of yourself.

Be the Change

At this critical moment in our history, it is important to understand that our outward behavior shifts the dynamic of our respective communities and change begins with us. Gay is no longer an acceptable umbrella term, Queer is the voice of a new generation, people of color and transgender lives matter and for some who have the desire to be an ally, this information overload can be overwhelming whether you have an LGBTIQ+ family member, best friend, neighbor or work colleague. Being politically correct isn’t enough; you must be anti-homophobic… Where do I start?

My experience with the Ban Ki-moon Centre participants was a paralyzing fear of: What do I do when I see something happening? How do we make our co-working space speak our values without using words? At the end of the workshop, I like to think of this process as group healing. It is a time where the group can openly share their thoughts and experiences, and we as a group come together to create an action plan for how to not only create a safe space for LGBTIQ+ people but also be one too!It is my belief that there is no “right” approach for how to be an ally for anyone, regardless of how they express themselves, who they love or what they believe. However, my rule of thumb is: Ask openly. Expect criticism. Stay humble.

Final Day of Online Training with the University of Bordeaux: Global Citizen Scholars 2020

Last Friday, June 26th, the 2020 Global Citizen Scholars completed their online intensive training course on “Africa and COVID-19: Multidisciplinary Insights” with the University of Bordeaux.

On the final day, the scholars presented the results of their group work. Each group was comprised of 4-5 participants, including both BKMC Global Citizen Scholars and other attendees of the course. The groups were assigned to cultivate a multidisciplinary and international team that was tasked with preparing a presentation as a specific stakeholder. It was designed as a “roll-play” exercise, where the young academics were given the opportunity to pitch their ideas for addressing COVID-19 related challenges in Africa directly to decision-makers.

One team, including BKMC scholar Tafadzwa Sachikonye, presented as an NGO addressing a foundation to ask for funds to address the spread of COVID-19 in a refugee camp in Nigeria.

In another presentation, including BKMC scholar Ruvimbo (Ru) Samanga, the group presented as international experts addressing the Nigerian government, offering recommendations for alternatives to re-confinement.

 

 

Another group, including BKMC scholar Odour Kevin, presented as a group of scientists addressing the WHO African Regional Office and compared four different African country’s responses to COVID-19.

 

Finally, after all the presentations were completed, the scholars had a round of feedback and shared their thanks for the opportunity to take the course.

Moving forward, the BKMC Global Citizen Scholars will now begin implementation of their proposed SDG Micro-Projects which will take place over the next 6-months. Furthermore, they will attend expert meetings and workshops hosted by the BKMC and benefit from one-on-one mentoring.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates as we continue to share information about this year’s scholars!

BKMC Took Stage at the RELX #SDGinspiration Day

On June 24th, RELX hosted the seventh SDG Inspiration Day filled with partnered with  a series of engaging, interactive and stimulating events. The event was curated in collaboration with Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, Global Citizen,  Responsible Media Forum, UN Global Compact India, UN Global Compact UK. The virtual event explored topics including post Covid-19 opportunities for the Goals, innovations towards achieve the Goals and the ‘new normal’  for the #SDGs.

The Ban Ki-moon Centre took stage at three different sessions throughout the day. CEO Monika Froehler joined as a panelist for the session on, “Inclusion and Equality: leave no-one behind to achieve the goals.” The session included inspirational panelists such as Akanksha Sharma, Head of Sustainability and CSR at Sterlite Technologies Ltd., and Sello Hatang, President of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. 

“There are 4 ways to continue our work towards achieving the SDGs. Cooperation, Activism, Technology, and Compassion. The latter is important in that we understand we have more in common than what differentiates us. Only then we will leave no one behind.” CEO Monika Froehler.

Although we are met with many problems in regard to inclusion and the global divide, the speakers conveyed the importance of global citizenship education as a solution to mending these inequalities.

Later during the event, Program Officer Julia Zimmerman hosted a session included in the “Innovation Fair” featuring two of the Centre’s Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen Scholars of 2020. Julia shared two videos of the scholars explaining their work towards the SDGs and their proposed SDG Micro-Projects for the scholarship.

Mr. Odour Kevin is working in Kenya, Nairobi, for sustainable food management and reducing food waste, and Ms. Tafadzwa is working for sustainable wastewater management in Zimbabwe.

During his presentation, Mr. Oduor Kevin said, “The problem of food insecurity is so huge. It’s an elephant. It cannot only be left to governments, it cannot only be left to organizations, we must all do something.”

In her presentation, Ms. Tafadzwa stated that “As much as accessing clean water is important, for the sustainability of water and health, there is a need for equal attention to be paid to wastewater and what happens to water after it has been used. It is the responsibility of both the provider and the recipients of water.”

To learn more about our scholarship program, click here.

Eco-Ambassador Talk: Monika Froehler

On June 22nd, 2020, Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler was a guest speaker for the Eco-Ambassador Talks. The Eco-Ambassador Talks is an interview series coordinated by The Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) of the Earth Institute, Columbia University. The Interview touched the topic of the importance of education for Climate Change and the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s work within this area. You can watch the full interview below.

Global Citizen Scholarship Program 2020 is Launched!


On June 22nd, 2020, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens launched the Global Citizen Scholarship Program 2020 in partnership with RELX and Université de Bordeaux. Due to #COVID19​, the scholarship program has been adapted to include an online training, expert workshops, and ​one-on-one mentoring sessions. The scholarship program is catering to 6 outstanding scholars from African countries and ​will last a total of six months.

The first day of the program held an introductory session for all the participants, followed by an overview of the one-week online summer program the Global Citizen Scholars will attend. The intensive ​online training developed by  Université de Bordeaux. will focus on “COVID-19 in #Africa: multidisciplinary insights”.

 

 

In the following weeks, the scholars will receive online one-on-one mentoring throughout the completion of their “#SDG Micro-Project”, attend expert online workshops hosted by the Ban Ki-moon Centre, and finally obtain a Certificate of Achievement from the centre signed by Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer.

Learn more about the Global Citizen Scholarship program here.

Kick-Off Event Hosted with Bildungsdirektion


The year 2020 marks the beginning of an impactful cooperation between the Bildungsdirektion Wien and the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, working towards the implementation of the SDGs into Viennese Schools.

The jointly organized kick-off event that took place on June 18th, 2020 saw the participation of over 80 teachers and directors from the majority of primary and secondary schools in Vienna.

The event, moderated by CEO Monika Froehler, introduced the participants to the SDGs and created room for discussions about the challenges of and opportunities for integrating the 17 global goals into school curricula. The education director in Vienna, Heinrich Himmer, as well as Ban Ki-moon Centre co-chairman Heinz Fischer both highlighted the importance of education for the SDGs and the crucial role of young people in achieving the 2030 Agenda.

During the presentation, a mentimeter survey collected opinions and thoughts of the participants. This way it became evident that cooperation, teacher workshops and student projects were needed to fully introduce the SDGs to every primary and secondary school in Vienna.

 

In the breakout rooms, the participants were able to discuss their experiences with the SDGs and share ideas about a successful implementation of the agenda into existing curricula. Ideas for the integration of the SDGs included city-wide competitions on the SDGs, workshops for teachers, expert groups in schools, inclusion in textbooks and student project days.

The pedagogical director Ulrike Mangl gave concluding remarks and pointed to the BildungsHub Vienna, which will actively start promoting the SDGs in its facilities as of fall 2020.

An SDG marketplace with materials and experts is envisaged to take place at the BildungsHub at the beginning of the winter semester this year.

As a result of the kick-off event and the inquired SDG materials, the Ban Ki-moon Centre will soon publish a resource page for Austria and abroad.

Stay tuned to learn more about Vienna’s progress in integrating the SDGs into primary and secondary school programs.

Die Presse: “It’s in Our Hands”


The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer have co-authored an article for the Austrian newspaper Die Presse on COVID19 and the challenging tasks that lie ahead. You can access the German version of the article here and read the English version below.


It is in Our Hands

Die Presse, 3 June 2020
by Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer

6 months ago – in December 2019 – the term Covid-19 was, at best, only familiar to a small group of scientists.

Today, the term has captured the attention of the world, bringing with it fear and tension as well as influence on politics, the economy, culture, sport, and most importantly, the lives of individuals. At the same time, it has also raised many questions.

In the first months of this year, while the number of individuals infected by the virus and death tolls rose sharply, many trivialized Covid-19 by comparing it to the annual wave of influenza. On the other hand, others over-dramatized the situation and overstated the actual number of victims. Slowly, a more realistic picture has emerged.

The tasks we are now facing are huge, but not impossible to achieve if we work together and act in solidarity.

The key terms that matter are COOPERATION, SOLIDARITY, RESPONSIBILITY, DISCIPLINE, and COMPASSION FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE.

Let us start with a concrete example: Austria and Korea are two countries with excellent relations which uphold the basic principles of the United Nations. These two countries have had decades of close political, economic, and cultural cooperation and now have been similarly affected by Covid-19. With well-developed healthcare systems, both countries have acted quickly, their populations have behaved responsibly and with great discipline. Fortunately, this can also be said of several other countries which are willing to cooperate, exchange experiences, and provide mutual support.

It should not be overlooked that many countries have also reacted differently, namely by not taking the pandemic seriously enough or withdrawing into a narrow nationalistic mindset and deviating from the principle of solidarity and cooperation.

In addition, the USA and China, superpower G-2 countries, are currently fatally divided.

This does not change the fact that, overcoming this pandemic through medical research, improved healthcare systems and international cooperation, remains a major issue and a global task.

The challenges we face now require a strong commitment to the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, whereby goals number 1 (No Poverty), number 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), number 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), number 13 (Climate Action) and number 17 (Partnership for the Goals) must be tackled and pursued much more vigorously. It is encouraging to note that many countries are taking action for these goals and that G-20 leaders have committed to taking all necessary steps to stop the virus from spreading and to provide the global economy, particularly the global South, with appropriate resources.

The EU is currently working on an extensive reconstruction package with a volume of about 750 billion Euros. An interesting and important discussion is taking place regarding what portion of the package should be spent on grants and what portion should be issued as loans for repayment.

The world is closely watching the process and discussions within the EU which we hope will demonstrate solidarity and compassion based on our common values in a difficult situation.

After the Second World War, Europe benefited greatly from the economic assistance and solidarity shown by the United States in the form of the Marshall Plan.

This plan benefited everyone involved.

Why don’t the G-20 and OECD countries show the same support to the global South now?  Why should stronger countries in Europe not show their solidarity with countries that have been badly affected by the pandemic? This principle must be applied worldwide. The poorest countries in the world are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the Coronavirus. These countries have already suffered from humanitarian crises, conflicts, food insecurity, inadequate healthcare systems, and more. Therefore, the verbal and theoretical commitments to solidarity must also be reflected in concrete actions.

At this time, it is also important to consider how to handle border controls to allow medical devices and urgently required materials to be transported to places where they are most needed.

Covid-19 sheds light on the many profound inequalities that still persist on our planet. The inequalities between and within certain countries have also been exacerbated by the pandemic. Restrictions imposed over the past weeks and months on producers and consumers and their freedom of movement, travel and assembly, have been necessary and expected. However, governments and legislators must take into account that these important and well-intentioned measures should not further marginalize vulnerable groups and individuals, and that due consideration of various points of view should be given in order to find the best possible way forward during each phase.

Even before Covid-19 captivated our attention, we were preoccupied with the existential threats of nuclear weapons and climate change. Covid-19 and its economic and social implications bear consequences that make everyday life harder than ever before.

Together we must have the necessary courage, wisdom, and solidarity to meet these global challenges. We live in a world that is changing rapidly and it is up to us to chart the right course for a better future for all.


Heinz Fischer is the 11th President of Austria and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens based in Vienna, Austria.

Ban Ki-moon is the 8th Secretary-General of the UN and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens based in Vienna, Austria.

Integrating SDGs in Viennese Curriculum

May 27th 2020, marked the start of an influential partnership between the Ban Ki-moon Centre and the Bildungsdirektion fur Wien. (Directorate of Education).

The cooperation between the BKMC and Bildungsdirektion Wien aims to promote and advance the SDGs education in secondary schools in Vienna. Today, Heinz Fischer, the BKMC Co-chair joined Director of Education Mag. Heinrich Himmer at the newly established Bildungshub that serves as a platform to share creative impulses and innovative learning practices where teachers and students discuss new ideas and implement projects. Through the video recorded today Co-chair Heinz Fischer will address teachers and students to express the importance of the SDGs to tackle today’s challenges .

Times of crisis like the COVID19 pandemic highlight the utmost importance of education and knowledge about the interconnectedness of global challenges.The joint mission of education for the Sustainable Development Goals leads to a synergetic pathway between the BKMC and Bildungsdirektion Wien. 

The collaboration will start with an online kick-off event on the topic of “The relevance of the SDGs in Viennese schools” on June 18th . Experts from the education sector will discuss ways of integrating the SDGs into the existing curricula.  

Finalizing Women’s Empowerment Program #GCC SDGs Projects

The last conference call of the Women’s Empowerment Program, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was held today, 18 May 2020, in an online session.

The Women’s Empowerment Program: GCC was launched last November in 2019. 20 aspiring fellows of WEP GCC gathered from Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and participated in a 2-week tailor-made program to advance their global potential to promote the Sustainable Development Goals and foster women’s empowerment. The training was followed by a six month implementation period of the fellows SDG Micro-Projects. The fellowship covers 13 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Today the fellows had their 4th and final conference call giving them the opportunity to share their individual experiences and learnings from their project implementation process. The fellows will finalize their fellowship with the Ban Ki-moon Centre next week 31st May by presenting the impact report of their SDG Micro-Projects. They will then receive a Certificate of Achievement and officially be part of the Ban Ki-moon Centre Global Citizen Alumni Network.

Congratulations to all our fellows.

We hope you continue following your passions and collaborating with the Alumni Network.

 

Is preparing for peace and global citizenship a priority?

Watch our CEO Monika Froehler in the Online Education Leadership Forum panel on Education in the Times of Corona: Is preparing for peace and global citizenship a priority?

The panel took place online, on May 14th 2020, and was organized by the Online Education Leadership Forum which is hosted by the Council for Global Citizenship Education (GCED) under the auspices of the Global Citizenship Foundation.

The panel started with a moment of silence to commemorate all those who have lost their lives during the pandemic. The panelists underlined the importance of global citizenship education, especially during the pandemic, that we should look beyond our differences and see what connects us. Global education needs to include crisis and trauma response and appreciation of common humanity. 

Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler mentioned the ‘head, heart, hand’ methodology of GCED: Head – stimulating children intellectually. Heart – stimulating children emotionally. Hand – stimulating skills. It was agreed upon that taking action on grass-root level is key, but that all stakeholders should chip in! The bottom-up approach raises awareness on the importance, but we need governments to transform ideas into policy.

You can watch the full panel below with:

☑️ Dr. Ashok K Pandey, Chairperson of the Counsil for GCED Global Citizenship Foundation

☑️ Dr. Paul Downes, Director Educational Disadvantage Centre, Institute of Education, Dublin City University, Ireland DCU

☑️ Simon Kuany, Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education Specialist,UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development UNESCO MGIEP