Friday, 14 May 2010

Politics and NV Education Europe

I returned on Friday, from my NV Education meeting in France, to the results from the election and talks of a coalition government.
Three powerful speeches by our political leaders.

Gordon Brown left his role with humility................................ “I have been privileged to learn much about the very best in human nature and a fair amount too about its frailties, including my own. Above all, it was a privilege to serve. And yes, I loved the job not for its prestige, its titles and its ceremony - which I do not love at all. No, I loved the job for its potential to make this country I love fairer, more tolerant, more green, more democratic, more prosperous and more just - truly a greater Britain.”
David Cameron took on his new role emphasising his commitment to working collaboratively................... “Nick Clegg and I are both political leaders who want to put aside party differences and work hard for the common good and for the national interest. I believe that is the best way to get the strong Government that we need, decisive Government that we need today”.
Nick Clegg expressed his mission for a new kind of politics: “More importantly than anything else, we are going to form a new kind of government; I hope this is the start of a new kind of politics I have always believed in. Diverse, plural, where politicians with different points of view find a way to work together to provide the good government for the sake of the whole country deserves.”
My meeting in France was with 50 people from 17 European countries was to share our practices of NV Education and above all acknowledge the essential role that communication plays in developing the values and attitudes of individuals and nations.
I wish our political leaders had taken part in our event. I really do think that the input from, Niclas Ronnstrom Associates professor, National co-ordinator for CICE (Children’s identity and Citizen Education in Europe) would support them at this time of dialogue.
Niclas highlighted the different affect of dialogue and monologue communication in relation to communicating values in Education which are truly democratic, cosmopolitan and humanitarian and we shared our work together celebrating the work of Non Violent Education, knowing that we are not the first to believe in the power of a universal language to transform a nation.
My thoughts and questions about current political leadership are:

Are our political leaders ready to listen, hear and understand us, each other and our partner countries?

Will they communicate together in a respectful language which is clear and decisive?

A commitment to dialogue will be a real culture change for politics, collaborative power sharing, conflict resolution, creativity, inspiration and innovation in my opinion is the challenge for all leaders. This requires leaders who are self aware, those who know their strengths and their limitation s and know what drives them in their roles and in the decisions that they make. It requires those with high level personal, social and emotional intelligence and communication skills.

Are our leaders committed to their own development and the continuous challenge of working collaboratively with each other consciously?
This would mean working collaboratively in transparency (no hidden agenda’s) could be the norm, achieving mutual understanding (which doesn’t necessarily mean agreement, but does mean respect, tolerance, inclusiveness and demonstrate equality). It could mean in influencing each other with reasons and acceptance given freely and willingly rather than forcing a stand for or against.
Change is necessary this is a pressing time in our nation and in our world. My hope is that in addition to facing and acting on the important issue of our economic status, this new coalition government will also focus on re-examining our key institutions, particularly education and it’s role in supporting the development of a nation where true democracy is possible in the UK and for the whole of Europe.

I left France with hope for our children knowing that it really is possible to run schools and events for children that achieve our national desire for outcomes and at the same time are truly democratic institutions which give the space and time for children to express themselves and share their strengths. NV Education is very clear about how communication in schools can facilitate global attitudes and humanitarian values in children, who know and understand their roots and at the same time feel a strong union with the rest of Europe.
There are also many educational pioneers who have argued for this in the past and are still not heard by the system. I hope that this potential change in the political culture affects a change in institutions.

I arrived home with enthusiasm for the work I am undertaking with my colleagues in education and with hope of a new way of working within the political system (whatever the parties) that may influence the culture of the way we as a nation understand what it means to work collaboratively.

I hope my thoughts offer you all your own food for thought and if you do have comments I’d love to read them...

For more information on NV Education Europe see

1 comment:

  1. Dear Tracy,

    Thanks for sharing your experience of the NVC education event. Glad to hear you got more hope from it. And thanks for quoting Brown and Cameron. It sounds hopeful to me. I'm sensing some humbleness and an openness that can empower others to contribute as well.

    I'd also like to share some of my own thoughts on this political situation, partly inspired after reading yours:

    I think it is not just up to the government to govern and change a country. In fact, I'm a bit afraid of overestimating a government's responsibility in change, since I want everyone to realise their own understanding is required to send out constructive and empowering feedback, requests and views.

    To me, a government's primary function is to make decisions that take everyone's needs into account. Making decisions is quite easy once everyone has an understanding about their needs. Thus understanding is a responsibility that is fundamental to making decisions. However, I think it's crucial to be aware that this responsiblity is not only with the government. It's very difficult to understand people who don't have a complete understanding of themselves. With a country of groups of people focussed on right and wrong, guilt, shame and a justice that leads to punishment, instead of on their own and each other's needs, I don't envy the task of its government to make decisions.

    Yet, one advantage of media attention is that MPs not only have the power to improve procedures, but also to inspire instead of respond. Encourage, instead of trying to gain sympathy and respect for themselves, or reduce them for political competitors. The potential and responsibility for this kind of contribution seems to be a privilage that political leaders still have to discover.

    Best wishes,