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"Speak truth to power" educates children in tolerance and justice

24 July 2013 / 21:07:52  GRReporter
3363 reads

Simona Peneva

"Speak truth to power" is the new programme that will educate children in Greece in tolerance and culture in relationships. Its introduction is a joint initiative of Robert Kennedy’s daughter Kerry, and Marianna Vardinogianni’s foundation. "It is a great honour to me that Kerry Kennedy and I will join forces," said Vardinogianni during the official signing of the cooperation agreement under the programme, named after Kerry Kennedy’s book "Speak truth to power".
"Now together we can bring this wonderful idea to Greece," said Vardinogianni. The purpose of the initiative is to adapt the American programme to Greek reality, and the educational material prepared by the Kennedy Centre in order for the Greek students to obtain the specific knowledge and views.
"Over the next 18 months we will inform as many public and private schools as possible of the essence of the programme which will be adapted," said Vardinogianni. The programme consists mainly of electronic and printed materials which are based on the experiences of activists and supporters of justice and human rights.

"In this way we will bring up a new generation of responsible, sensitive and fair people who will respect the value of life and the right of every man, woman and child for a life of dignity, development and progress," said Marianna Vardinogianni. The whole Kennedy family is particularly attached to Greece.

Robert Kennedy followed the motto: "Let us dedicate ourselves to what the ancient Greeks wrote so many years ago, to tame the savageness of man and make gentle life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that." The activities of the foundation and his successors keep the spirit of Robert Kennedy alive. Both for him and Kerry Kennedy, children are the future and the best investment one can make in order to secure a better world in the future. Therefore, "Speak truth to power" is coming to Greece.

Kerry Kennedy explains that the programme is already in operation in countries in six continents. It has a duration of 12 weeks and involves 1 hour a week plus homework. Each school can plan the implementation of the programme as is convenient for it. "Some schools present an entire chapter of the book for an hour whereas others do it for two or three weeks," says Kerry. The programme requires additional teachers, and those who are part of the school undergo a short period of training. Before the programme starts, the children and teachers have to answer a few questions. They are not related to grades or lessons but to how often they are being offended and whether they feel safe at school.

Kerry states that the vast majority of children fall victim of mass ridicule at school. The most significant problem is that they do not feel safe at school, where they spend half of their day. In Greece, a small number of schools will introduce the programme but it will be applied on a larger scale when the programme "Speak truth to power" makes progress. The initiators are planning to start it in January 2014.

Vardinogianni said that she was delighted by the strong and militant personality of Kerry Kennedy, who is faithfully following her father’s example. A globally recognized activist for peace and equality, she has worked in more than 60 countries such as El Salvador, Kenya, Haiti and South Korea, and is also an author of great influence.

Marianna Vardinogianni’s foundation has worked with children in different areas for more than 15 years now. It fights for human rights and child protection. It supports initiatives in education, peace, health, social assistance, participation in the fight against violence, poverty, illiteracy, human trafficking, manipulation of children and much more. The institution has also contributed to informing the Greek and international population of the problems of children around the world.

Kerry Kennedy is president of the Centre for Justice and Human Rights , president of the management board for the international application of amnesty in the United States, a graduate from Brown University and the law school at Boston College and these are just some of her titles. In addition, she is the devoted mother of three girls.

The Centre for Justice and Human Rights materializes Robert Kennedy’s dream. Besides spreading the programme "Speak truth to power", the centre is working on improving the quality of healthcare services in different countries through the programme "Electronic Health Villages".

The cooperation between the American centre and Vardinoigianni’s foundation began in 2002, when they presented together Kerry Kennedy’s book "Speak truth to power" in Greek.

"In his last interview, my father was asked how he wanted to be remembered. He noted that this is and will be a world in which children always suffer and said he wanted to be remembered as someone who had done at least something for these children. I still do not know anyone who has done more for them," said Kerry Kennedy.

She urges not to target great achievements but to stand up to the people close to us and support them instead; to support a friend, to take care of him or her, or to protect someone from yet another racist joke.

Finally, Kerry Kennedy thanked Marianna Vardinogianni for her long-term cooperation and for the support she had provided for dozens of Serbian children suffering from cancer by giving them the opportunity to be treated at her clinic in Greece.

Tags: SocietyKennedyVardinogianniEducational programme
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