by Naomi MacMurdie
Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Brazil first partnered with One World in March 2022 for an online exchange music program called “Music Tag” that provided students from two schools, one in Goiás State, Brazil, and another based in New York City, to share musical performances with each other.
GPF Brazil has worked to transform communities through the power of music in a program called LEAM (Leadership and Development by Music) which began in 2016. Hundreds of people of all age groups have been positively impacted by the community effort, but it has especially inspired students and vulnerable youth. The peacebuilding methodology incorporated into the music program by GPF Brazil focuses on family values, relationships, volunteerism, and contributing to the greater good of society.
Throughout 2022, GPF Brazil and One World have worked together to articulate a systematical educational program composed of 14 weeks of pedagogical and academic exchange programs online. This phase included a high school in the small city of Guapó, Brazil, and a school in Acapulco, Mexico. The program focuses on a group of 25 students from each school and follows a set of guidelines to achieve a mutually beneficial understanding of each other’s country's history, culture, and traditions. Students have the opportunity to share their hopes for the future, particularly how they can contribute to building a better world. Throughout the three-month period, students will engage in four preparatory working sessions and four online exchange programs. Organizers have articulated that the objective is to stimulate the students to be more involved and participative in the learning process, particularly in a “post-pandemic age” in which the schools have seen challenges with violent conflicts, teen pregnancy, passive attitudes, disinterest in education, and a decrease in overall academic achievements.
This music exchange program will also provide substantial support for teachers, working with them to engage students in the curriculum. In a true display of international cohesion, GPF and AIESEC enlisted the help of three university students from Kenya, Colombia, and Peru to volunteer as mentors for the students in the exchange program.
GPF Brazil plans to further implement the peacebuilding academic methodology in other schools, including an elementary school in Goiania, Brazil, over a period of six months. Following further implementation and evaluation, GPF Brazil has already proposed to apply the peacebuilding program to 10 more schools in Goiania in 2023 and 2024.