Open Your Mind: meeting with students from Collegio San Carlo in Milan
by Valentina Pagliai
Director of the Human Rights Education program at the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation of Europe
On September 28 and 29, I was invited as Coordinator for Speak Truth To Power in Europe, to meet with students of Collegio San Carlo, a private school in Milan, Italy. With me there was Roberta Miotto, the President of Associazione Senza Confini (a human rights association who works for a culture of peace and for Remembrance), who has been incredibly active and supportive of our project from the word go, and who last spring organized the showing of our photo exhibition of Eddie Adams' photos of STTP defenders. Roberta and her friends from the organization have also staged Ariel Dorfman’s Voices From Beyond the Dark, and they were great!
he kids from Collegio San Carlo were already familiar with our educational curriculum Speak Truth To Power, which is currently being taught to over 200,000 students in Italy. Two of their teachers, Professor Massimo Gianotti and Professor Massimo Tallarini, participated in our open trainings in 2009 and 2010.
I have been working with students for Speak Truth To Power now for the last four school years, so I was prepared to talk about our project, and about human rights in general – the abuses, the issues that they as students can tackle – integrating the tool kit for action that is in the manual.
The students were very interested in exploring how human rights are still violated in Italy and other western countries, and there was a lively discussion of current human rights violations.
This was the most interesting part: the debate among the students. After providing a brief background on human rights, I asked them which kind of human rights violations concern them most. As these students have an international background, they were able to express their point of view on topics such as women’s rights, the environment, freedom of speech, child labor, and others. They are very open and had the capacity to draw comparisons between the situation they’ve witnessed in Italy and the rest of the world.
All in all, these two days, as happens every time I interact with students, were invigorating and these kids send a “ripple of hope” for the future.
Click here for some photos of the two days.