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Submitted by Claude Beaunis on 06/10/14 – 09:47

The XXX ° RIDEF “Points of view that will change the world. Living Together the cities of Girls and Boys', organized by the (MCE – Movimento di Cooperazione Educativa ) and the FIMEM, the International Federation of the movements of the modern school, ended in Reggio Emilia at the end of July.. Over 500 teachers from 34 countries met to discuss the issue of the rights of children and adolescents in the city, on the future of young people, on democratic participation in land management 'through the eyes of children'.
These are issues that, if pursued consistently, can transform the teacher-pupil relationship from a teacher-centered teaching to an active role in the growth of individuals, considered immediately citizens / with their own interests, motivations, and original thoughts.
Topics that assign a different function to the school, not all centered on itself, but turned over dialogue and openness to the territory.

The FIMEM has been operating for over 50 years to ensure that in each country the educator is given the status of socio-cultural worker, as a social and political activist who has an idea of childhood as a common good to be educated in / for a more right world.
The teachers in this context are not considered as related to the particular situation of their country but as facilitators of the future in which childhood itself is an heritage and care for all, escaping from personally visions of children and pupils.
Teachers who meet every two years at the Ridef, that takes place from time to time in a different country, in the north and south of the world share the popular pedagogy of C. Freinet, the French teacher that bases its proposals on cooperation, on research methodology, on the 'natural method' of learning, on the operational techniques as an alternative to a teaching whole based on words and tools- notional books and the same for everyone regardless of the conditions, personal styles and rhythms of learning.
Two issues have crossed the entire Ridef, linked to emergency situations that are affecting vital rights of children and adolescents:
• secularism, which is one of the founding idea of ​​the modern school, and consequently the complaint of many situations in which forms of patriarchal dominance justify, as 'cultural choices' or religious, abuse of power, submission and lack autonomy of girls and women in the world. The role of women and girls in the family in many African, Asian, Latin American, and this is particularly dramatic and stifle energy and potentiality valuable for the development of those countries. Often religion is acquiescent towards the male power and the dominant classes. Lack of education, child labor in the family and outside, often as a source of support for the family itself, early marriage, violence and mutilation, employment in war situations, practices and mortifying outfits are systems of oppression and denial often masked as free and voluntary. Secular education can not but tend to the creation of equal opportunities, to ensure the rights of expression and autonomy from the constraints and cultural ties and religious ones . Next to the redemption of the oppressed classes and decolonization (Fanon), you must now add the liberation of women and girls from authoritarian models, consumerism, with a thousand of oppressions.
• situations of war in the world, including particularly the dramatic situation in the Gaza conflict which has exploded dramatically in those days and he has seen passionately debating the terms of the document to spread to participants of different countries.
The FIMEM and MCE have strongly desired that this Ridef were present, for the first time, teachers and cultural workers from Palestine. They came through the solidarity action existing in the federation and contributions collected in the past two years, two Palestinians, a man and a woman, from the cultural center 'Al Rowwad' of Bethlehem, and two teachers who work in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
Several workshops and exhibitions have presented the living conditions of the population in the camps and in the Gaza Strip and the forms of 'resistance' to the infringement of the rights and expropriation cultural and political accorded to Arab populations.
  We can say, after these days, of having consolidated, between the groups constituting the FIMEM, from four continents, “strong “few ideas 'strong':
• childhood and adolescence with their own cultural heritage to be protected and the rights to make known to the adult world that have to support the claim: primary rights, but also cultural and recreational, communication and participation / representation (in the workshop for the children of the participants, a real intercultural one , children from Morocco, Japan, Sweden and Mexico, ... the boys have drawn , at the end of the workshop, their own “'bill of rights' of childhood in the city” as a result of reworking of the input done). Working towards the enhancement of cultural , species, gender heritage of each one means to help to dismantle stereotypes and prejudices, recognizing the specific and common conditions and possible lines of development in accordance with its memory, personal history, of their environment.
• the rights recognized by the International Convention are part of the rights of the 'minor'citizens. The right to get dirty, to laziness, to the contemplation of the sunsets, to the smells, to the manipulation of natural elements, as ... has reminded by Gianfranco Zavalloni, are essential for a balanced development of the social personality.
But it is not enough to claim from the institutions of the adult world the recognition of these rights unless we keep in mind that they, as abstract and universal, must be checked from time to time, situation to situation. It’s different to be boy or girl in situations where peace has lasted for 70 years compared with scenarios of permanent or guerrilla wars. It’s different to claim the right to education and equal opportunities in Northern Europe with a welfare system that provides strong guarantees to all persons compared to scenarios of hunger, thirst, lack of resources, continuing violence. Then the 'mission' of education should be to give a general and valid overview of the rights everywhere, but to 'put in the head' of children and young people in the north of the world the existence and the living conditions of many of their peers in the south, as well the imbalances that currently exist in our cities. And to allow the subjects of the south of the world a perception of their condition and the causes that determine not fatalistic and resigned scenarios but be able to become aware of their own dignity, to think of themselves as active agents of change, not fatalistically accept a future that is equal to the present. Both situations require that the school operates in the direction of education in alternative futures, creates forms of resilience and capacity planning.
• the defense of public schools facing the persistent attempts of commodification and privatization by the neoliberal model of school for everyone; it is a pressing the affirmation of the right to education of millions of girls and women that have not it, as well as the formative role and not only instructive of the school as an agent of social transformation, building a sense of common good, a public ethics of citizenship as a responsibility towards themselves, others, the environment, the earth (cf.. paper-agenda of the planet Earth).
• knowledge considered as 'common good' that is gained and built together, and that is based on core principles (see. E. Morin 'The seven basic knowledge', ed. Cortina, 2001).
• intercultural exchange, mixing, sharing in a society that is increasingly mobile and crossed by migration, which requires a new concept of 'global citizenship', that knows how to lay the groundwork for overcoming the closures, the boundaries between 'us' and' them ', of localism, of ethnocentrism.
• peace education as a tool of intervention, critical analysis, knowledge of reality, crossing conflict, negotiation
• the right to speech, to express, to intervention, listening and consultation of all the choices that affect our lives.
Giancarlo Cavinato ( MCE Venezia