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World Religion Students Expand Horizons with Video Conference

In January, World Religion students participated in an international video conference on the topic of “Global Citizenship,” an exercise intended to help students use structured dialogue to navigate differences in a peaceful way. Facilitated by Generation Global, an initiative of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change in London, the conference brought Loyola students face to face with students from Tecnológico de Monterrey–Campus Central de Veracruz in Mexico.
“The first unit of the World Religion course is titled ‘Dialogue,’” explains Theology Teacher Mr. Chris Howe. “This course is not principally about what different religions believe or how they pray. At its most fundamental level, it is about how to build relationships of trust and respect among different peoples.”

A moderator from the U.K. connected the students from the two countries and began the session by encouraging the use of I-statements and the avoidance of generalizations by speaking from personal opinions and experiences only. Questions such as “What type of person does your school want you to be?” and “What does it mean to be a global citizen?” were posed. Students at both schools had the opportunity to respond to the question and then to respond to each other.

The discussions that ensued touched on everything from politics, trade and culture to conflict, consumerism, economics and labor. Ramblers shared stories of their summer service trips abroad as examples of how they felt connected to the global community.

“I really enjoyed the video conference because it was nice talking to people from a different culture. I was surprised to hear some of their views on the topics we discussed ,” says Graham Trueman ’18. “This was an opportunity to learn from others. The video conference was a great experience, and I would love to do it again.”  

Through the Generation Global initiative, teachers transport their classes across the world in a single afternoon. Online and through video conferences, students interact directly with their peers around the world, engaging in dialogue around issues of culture, identity, beliefs, values and attitudes. Learn more at https://generation.global/.
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