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Enhancing Cooperation and Inspiring a Better Education

When participants arrive in Israel, we as coordinators see a small part of the reality of the participants’ life and our suggestions and advice are based on an idea that we try to imagine from what they tell us. The visits and series of trainings conducted in Colombia, gave me the opportunity to advise and support participants closely, face reality and share the challenges together. I hope we will have the opportunity to work more closely with you all as I did with our fellows in Colombia.

The realization of these trainings was possible only because of the collaboration of the various institutions and organizations that believe in education. An effort which achieved their goal and had its harvest both in Colombia and in Israel. Thanks to lectures, workshops and projects, new options for working with Colombia and especially with these institutions are opened now.

My trip to Colombia began in the University of Santo Tomas in the city of Tunja. An alumnus invited me to give me a training course to 33 teachers from different faculties. The training course focused on Education for Sustainable Development and Educational Innovation. The meetings were intense and every day we got deeper into the process and developed our definitions and educational approaches. Educators produced two products that will be applied in their classrooms and on campus: Transformation of academic units and transformation projects on campus, towards a more sustainable campus. In this training, it became clear that these educators dared to embark on an educational pursuit that had aimed to give them their space as educators and to rediscover the best version of them in their profession. These educators left enriched and, above all, with new energy for the next semester.

The second station focused on a very different subject for a different audience: The Municipality of Tunja. In the second training workshop, we continued a process that began just over two years ago in the Municipality. The youth secretary for the last two years has sent young leaders to develop their skills and empower themselves on trips to Israel. It was now time to get to know where they worked and meet the rest of them.

For five days, 55 young people from the municipality and youth from other centers were trained, aiming to strengthen “their voice”, the voice of the leaders. During the training we rethought are the makings of a leader, how to act and how to be a better leader. The experience was very rewarding and brought the expected results: 55 young people were able to learn and hopefully can project together and impact on their city. The First Lady and some leaders of the municipality attended the closing ceremony where they heard these young leaders’ voices.

The third station was in the north with an indigenous community - the Zenu community. This community is facing all kinds of challenges. Fortunately, they understood that one of the challenges they face is to rediscover their own identity. For five days, we discussed, met and worked on the subject of Ethno-Education. Education is the recipe for a better future and community leaders know it. Leaders who think about the future of their communities know that education is not an option, but a solution in which all must invest.

During these weeks in Colombia, I was lucky to share some other meetings and training sessions with other Ofri Center alumni in other cities where they shared with me their realities and together we sought new solutions. One of the phrases that represents our work is "Sharing is Inspiring"; as Ruth, the legal adviser to the Zenu Community, said, “Sharing is inspiring others and inspiring yourself”.

Colombia, thanks for your investment in Education and for your thought about the future of your people.

Damian Filut
Deputy Director
A. Ofri International Training Center
MASHAV - Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

For more information on collaboration possibilities and courses in your home countries, write to us at info@ofri.org