Wednesday, November 25, 2009

InerSchool program - Bylakuppe

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of escorting two students from KIS (Elena Dutt, grade 12 and Deki Peldon, grade 10) to Bylakuppe, a Tibetan settlement just two hours outside Mysore, for an intensive week of religion, international relations and global awareness. These two young ladies were selected by their Religious Education teacher (Kyle Mitchell) to attend the 11th annual Interschool Program sponsored by the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which took place from 11-17 October at the SOS Tibetan Children’s Village School in Bylakuppe. This was the first year KIS was invited to participate in this workshop that brought together representatives from ten other Indian and Tibetan High Schools throughout South India for a week of discussion on difficult topics such as religion while learning the value of being a globally responsible citizen.

During this week of new cultures, adventures and even friends, the participants were involved in a number of activities designed to help them learn about a variety of different topics revolving around the larger theme of universal responsibility. They had the opportunity to listen to religious seminars on the Tenets of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam by spiritual leaders, each of which was followed with question and answer sessions that allowed the students to fully grasp the nature of the different traditions. Throughout the week the participants also took an active part in organized debate sessions, poster presentations, a school-wide debate, community service at a nearby elderly home, a workshop on conflict resolution and visits to the various places of worship they had learnt about.

After such an intense week of scholarly debates, religious studies, cultural and global awareness and learning how to understand difficult issues such as world conflict, I am happy to say that the students who represented KIS worked very hard to learn one of the most important difficulties of our day: the importance of listening with understanding. In that sense, I think it is safe to say that KIS students are well on their way to becoming responsible and articulate global citizens. Hopefully, KIS will continue being able to send students annually to this well-rounded and educational program.

Ms Coco Lammers
ES teacher and PIA volunteer