Solidarity in Action 2021 – A Journey in Global Citizenship Education

Who We Are

Giulia Presa Perez, Jess Walsh, Niamh Flynn, Robert Johnston, Róisín O’Donnell, Sanghamitra Chattopadhyay Mukherjee, Seánagh Fitzpatrick, Thomas Craddock, Tracey O’Connor, Zoe Liston (UCDVO) and Sive Bresnihan (Comhlámh).

What We Did

Engaged in a 3 month exploration and action based course in 2021, which evolved from UCD Volunteers Overseas (UCDVO) and Comhlámh’s ‘Be the Change’ and ‘Skills in Development Education’ evening courses.

The programme hinged around 3 main aims:

  1. To support brave spaces where participants can dare to have difficult conversations while taking care of themselves and others.
  2. To deepen participants awareness of self, connection with others and with system (system as profoundly unequal – connection as both potentially warming but also discomforting)
  3. To nurture ethical solidarity through action experiments grounded in collective and self-inquiry.

How we did it

The programme itself was organised into 2 phases: an exploration phase (which ran from mid-March to early May, beginning with an anchoring day and continuing with peer-led and facilitated evening sessions) and an action-experiment (AE) phase (which ran from early May to mid-June), during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2021.

In terms of the action-experiments (AEs) and what people might ‘do’, emphasis was on discernment rather than prescription.

Indeed, in terms of theme and scale (could be linked to ongoing campaigning/activism, work spaces, family members / friends / peers…) the idea was to allow action-experimenting to emerge through/from the
exploration phase.

Scaffolded by social cartographies and somatic/body based activity, the ’container’ for the exploration phase was therefore very central to the programme.

Being so vulnerable with one another, I believe that from this vulnerability, is where bravery can be found. To change things, to face them, to transform them

Giulia Presa Perez, course participant

The subsequent online publication comprises reflections from nine of the seventeen participants of Solidarity in Action 2021. The purpose of the publication is to capture and share some of the unique learning and impact for those involved. Indeed, we hope that it might provide some new impulses for those engaged in activism and for those interested in Global Citizenship Education (GCE) and transformative learning spaces.

p19 taken from Solidarity in Action 2021 publication

Were We Successful?

  • The publication Solidarity in Action 2021 is an important record of what people did with their time and the pedagogical scaffolds that supported them.
  • UCDVO strive to offer a range of opportunities and pathways to meet people ‘where they are at’ in their global citizenship journey.
  • Solidarity in Action builds on the spirit of those spaces, as an educational process that works to create stamina and resilience and to build on principles of global citizenship into long term thinking around justice, interdependence and responsibility.
  • The Irish association of development workers and volunteers, Comhlámh, noted that the words and images contained in this publication as bright lights, encouraging us all to go further in our own work for change.

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