WE not “me”

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Block 4 students attended WE day at the Wembley arena on 22 March as part of the First Give charity follow-up and to learn more about putting the WE ethos into practice.

WE is a youth empowerment movement that brings people together for service, learning and active citizenship. The key message is to help shift the notion of “me” to “we.” The charitable arm, WE Charity, is an international development charity that partners with communities to help lift themselves out of poverty using a holistic, sustainable five-pillar development model based on education, clean water and sanitation, health, opportunity and food.

The event in London brought together world-renowned speakers and A-list performers such as Kate Winslet, The Vamps, international human rights advocate, Maria Munir and education activist Muzoon Al-Mellehan and tens of thousands of young people to celebrate a year of action that transformed communities and changed lives. View photos.

Global Awareness Lecture held at Bedales

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Bedales School’s annual Global Awareness Lecture was held last week and focused on the role of journalism in promoting in-depth engagement with global issues through innovative reporting and education.

Jon Sawyer, veteran foreign correspondent and director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in Washington DC, US, spoke passionately to the audience of students and parents about falling standards and freedom of speech.

After decades in the field, reporting from around 60 countries, he founded the non-profit Pulitzer Center to support independent reporting from around the world and to work with schools

His work has been honoured by investigative reporters and editors, the Overseas Press Club, the Inter-American Press Association, and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Jon was selected three years in a row for the National Press Club’s prize for best foreign reporting.

Head of Global Awareness at Bedales, Annabel Smith said: “Before the lecture, Jon met with five groups of students of all ages and talked about a range of global issues from the Middle East to water rights, the upcoming US election and the future of journalism. He also spoke at length to a number of students with a special interest in print, video and photo-journalism and it was a real benefit for our students to have such one-to-one expert guidance.”

Annabel added: “Jon represents the very best traditions of reporting from the darkest corners of the world. He not only spent decades in the field, but through creating the Pulitzer Centre also ensured that a new global generation of journalists can continue this work.”

How a global adventure can refresh your school’s thinking – a case study on Bedales

Exchanges are a good way of understanding more about America too says Keith Budge, Headmaster of Bedales Schools in Hampshire. One of many international links is with The Putney School in Vermont, a progressive secondary boarding and day school on a 500-acre dairy farm. “Children benefit from being in an environment with colourful and interesting people,” he says. “One of the favourite words in New England is frugal, and Putney is warm, earthy and utterly authentic. If the duty team of students doesn’t get up and light the cooker, there will be no porridge. In our school, many students are entranced by the digital world and swept off in the supposed glamour of celebrity, but in this situation you have to make human contact with people who are very different: it’s very grounding.”

Bedales sends a student group for a 12-day visit to the school each year, and takes several Putney students for a term. The link helped further inspire the school’s outdoor work programme in the UK, including animal husbandry, blacksmithing and weaving. Michael Rice, 16, who went to exam-free Putney last year, is keen to add another idea at Bedales: “At the end of term, every person did any project they wanted, and was given a rating – and some of them have left school and started businesses already,” he says.

Todd Lengacher, director of intercultural programs at The Putney School, says Bedales pupils do seem surprised at their “apparent casual nature”, especially “spacious” days of three classes plus activities such as milking the cows. But such exchanges, he believes, are vital. “I often look at world leaders, in particular some of my country’s leaders, and have to believe that they would see the people from beyond our borders in a different – more empathetic – way if they had taken these kinds of exchange opportunities in high school. Our world is a better place for every interaction we push ourselves to have with people not ‘like’ us.”

By Senay Boztas

Freelance journalist Senay Boztas wrote this case study on Bedales whilst researching for an article on international partnerships, recently published in The Guardian

 

An audience with Shami Chakrabarti

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This year’s annual Global Awareness lecture was delivered to a packed Quad by the outgoing director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, who focussed on the challenges facing human rights in the UK. She spoke about the need to protect the rights to privacy and free speech against governments and individuals, with emphasis on the current rhetoric about abolishing the Human Rights Act. Having rapidly got the measure of her audience (“Radio 4 and quinoa”) she spoke compellingly about the internet as ‘”the new frontier” for Human Rights, deftly illustrating how differently we would feel if it was suggested that a record was kept of every physical site we visited – every shop, every hotel, every airport. In her question and answer session she dealt with questions ranging from why she was called ‘the most dangerous woman in Britain’ by The Sun, to her (unfavourable) view on Donald Trump: ‘terrifying’.

We are indebted both to Shami and to the Bedales Association, whose generous grant has made this lecture series possible. View a short film of the students’ discussion with Shami here.

By Ruben Brooke, 6.2

Lively performances at Cecilia Concert helps raise funds

Students involved in the concert band, orchestras and choirs, as well as the soloists, performed in the annual Cecilia Concert on 25 November.

The band, conducted by Keir Rowe, opened the evening with Johnny Warrington’s Original Dixieland Concerto and lively clarinet, saxophone and trumpet solos. The Orchestra, conducted by Nick Gleed, then performed the first movement of Schubert’s mysteriously unfinished Symphony No 8. The massive crescendos and subtle diminuendos added to the piece’s haunting melody. Shanise Liang was the truly inspiring piano soloist during the second movement of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Will Lithgow conducting the Chamber Orchestra.

After a lively interval with mince pies and the annual collection for Cecily’s Fund, clarinettist Finn Carter played an intimate jazz piece with Nick Gleed accompanying on piano. The evening ended with the combined choirs singing Nick’s harmonisation of I Will Survive, followed by Parry’s well know anthem, Blest Pair of Sirens and the eight-part choral work, I was Glad. Parents, students, staff and friends of Bedales who attended the concert all enjoyed it immensely.

By Tilly Driscoll Smith, 6.2

*The Cecilia Concert was set up in memory of Old Bedalian, Cecily Eastwood. More than £14,000 has already been raised in support of Cecily’s Fund, which aims to support and educate orphaned victims of aids in Zambia.

The Global Awareness team’s plea for help…

Christmas box

Approximately 3 million Syrians have been forced out of their country with a further 6.5 million having to leave their homes for alternative protection. The phrase ‘no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than land‘ reflects the situation of the thousands of people stranded in Calais as you are reading now. We feel it is our responsibility as a comfortable community to give what aid we can, in any manner possible.The Global Awareness committee, formed of students from every year, have developed two immediate opportunities for assistance and we would very much appreciate your help. In the next half term there will be a period in which we will collect any material donations for the Syrian refugees that will then be delivered to both Syria and Calais through student-organised initiatives.

After half term our aim is create a collection of decorated shoeboxes full of a certain items which we will give to an organisation called Samaritan’s Purse who are running a campaign entitled ‘Operation Christmas Child’. Samaritan’s Purse is a religious organisation and we can guarantee that it gives ‘aid and assistance without regard to the race, creed, gender, religion or ethnicity of the beneficiaries.’ We feel that this is important to highlight. This is a link to possible items that could be featured in the boxes:

https://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/how-to-pack-a-shoebox/#gift_suggest

This includes things such as school supplies, hygiene items and toys. We would also like to ask for items of a certain level of quality. If possible please pack them over half term and bring them into school before the 15th of November. The more boxes we can get the better and if you’d like any more information please visit the website.

Additionally, a further chance to help the refugees will arise. An organisation, called Aid Convoy, have been gathering items and shipping them out directly to Syria. They are interested in clothes, tinned food, blankets, kitchen equipment, as well as other things that are on a list here. The weather will be turning soon, and spending December and January in a tent will be horrendous, so it is crucial that we do as much as we can as quickly as we can. Aid Convoy is an international humanitarian conglomerate, that is ‘committed to assisting victims of disasters and wars’. All of the supplies will be gathered into a 40 foot long container, with one having been dispatched recently (3 Oct.) As a large group of young people it is essential that we are living in awareness of the world around us, engaging, and trying to do what we can to improve it. If we remain dormant whilst those around us scream, as a generation that will soon be steering society’s moral perspective, we will be failing in doing what’s right.

http://www.aid-convoy.org.uk/items-for-container/

By Godelieve de Bree, 6.1 and the Global Awareness team

Fresh perspectives on Bedalian life

DSC_0061Malik and Noelia enjoying Badley Weekend

By Noelia Carbajal, Groton School, Massachusetts
Bedales, or England for that matter, is unlike anything I had anticipated. Perhaps because my initial suppositions were based solely on the six season Netflix series, Downton Abbey, which takes place before World War One. Though there is no one quite like Lady Mary and her sisters, Bedales and its residents were a lovely surprise. The campus is absolutely stunning. I’ve enjoyed all of my classes, especially Ancient Civilizations with Chris who took us to Butser Farm and Stonehenge. I look forward to continuing Latin throughout my school years and even taking an archaeology class someday! I’ve made so many great friends here at Bedales and I hope to stay in contact with them. Thank you!
Malik & Noelia (Groton students)

MALIK AND NOELIA (right) with their new bedales friends

By Malik Gaye, Groton School, Massachusetts
Now that my month at Bedales is coming to a close, I think my time here has been bittersweet. At first, I felt like I was sent  into a school where I knew virtually no one and especially didn’t know how to maneuver my way around the campus. The latter usually ended up with me having to retrace my steps and ask where a certain place was. But as I got used to my schedule, the people, and the general culture, I found that I was enjoying my time here. I was making friends and finally could make my way around campus on my own. As soon as I realized this, I also realized that my time here had a deadline. It’s not like I didn’t miss home and my friends because I definitely did. But it was the sense that there was so much more to experience here at Bedales and that I wouldn’t get to experience it that saddened me. I have definitely enjoyed my time here and wouldn’t change anything about it. This month has really flown by and I will miss those I have become close with. I hope that more Grotonians will have the priviledge to come and enjoy all that Bedales has to offer.