Seminar 1999 

"Teachers for Tolerance and Cultural Pluralism" (TTCP) 
First International Seminar 
11-13 February 1999, Prague

On February 11- 13 1999 the international seminar "Teachers for Tolerance and Cultural Pluralism" (TTCP) was held in Prague, at the Secondary Police School. The project was initiated and supported by the GSFI Regional Initiative Programme of the University of Cambridge and was targeted at teachers and educators from Central and Eastern Europe and South Africa. The meeting provided space to 55 teachers and educators from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and South Africa for sharing and exchange of information and experience; it initiated mutual support and cooperation and helped to empower teachers to bring changes within the current educational systems.

The seminar was organised in cooperation with thirteen Czech NGOs:

  • Those who helped to promote the seminar: ASUD, SVOD, OPU - Prague offices of UNESCO, UN, UNHCR
  • Those who helped with organisation Bohemia Corps, New School Foundation, SPS Cultural centre, HOST

The first TTCP seminar was oriented to future action planning. Indeed, many participants expressed importance of having such opportunities for exchanging experience, networking, and planning joint projects. Therefore, already at the end of the seminar, a range of follow up activities started to be planned. The TTCP seminar initiated regular exchange of information and establishment of cooperation among organisation within the Czech Republic as well as internationally.

Two follow-up working groups were created under the name of Teachers for Tolerance / GSFI Initiative

  1. A local organisational committee that is in charge of monitoring similar projects, linking them together and facilitating communication between teachers from various school levels and subjects specialisation. It is also in charge of preparing the follow-up seminar next year as well as other events. One of the first follow - up projects organised by Bohemia Corps in cooperation with the TT/GSFI Initiative was the TOLERANCE AND RESPECT PROJECT CONFERENCE which was be held in PřÝbram, Czech Republic, in April 23-25, 1999.
  2. An international planning committee (Czech-Polish-Hungarian-South African), members of which include former GSFI Fellows, that is working on programmatic outline of the next transnational seminar as well as on other follow up joint projects.

Conclusion 

The first TTCP Seminar proved to be a very effective tool for initiating and promoting communication among teachers from different and geographically very distant places. It managed to identify common problems and despite the distance and seemingly distinct differences, it brought people together to find and share ways of addressing those problems. In order to enhance the positive impact of the seminar and to facilitate further contacts and cooperation the organisers plan to hold regular meeting/conferences at least once per year so that participants can use mutual personal support and exchange of experience as an energising and motivating occasion for their further efforts. 

From the transnational as well as local perspective the TTCP Seminar has shown that comparing policies and practice of different countries, as well as drawing parallels, is a viable instrument for improving ones own society as well as our global society as a whole.