Anticipating COVID 19 lockdown, The Blue Ribbon Global successfully transformed its peace education to virtual learning platform. Its first shift began during Peace and Unity in Diversity Education that TBR provided for UCSI’s Vocational Internship Program in September 2020.
This effort progressed to a greater momentum after TBR committed to support the Malaysian Youth Council’s (MYC) launching of Peace and Unity Youth program on 20th December 2020 together with the Centre for Peace and Unity Education (CPU-Edu) and its program host and main local partner, UCSI Group.
Following up on this planning, MYC, TBR and UCSI Group SDG Secretariat Office joined force to run the first Online Peace and Unity in Diversity Education (OPUDE) in April – May 2021. OPUDE progam was successfully developed by TBR’s peace education core team made up of its founder, Norani Abu Bakar and main facilitators: Germaine Tay, Mega Chandra Sakeran, Aznani Zakaria and Ivonne Setiawati.
The 12 face-to-face sessions can now be conducted in 6 virtual workshops, with 2 sessions for each workshop. Just like its face-to-face program, these 12 online sessions were designed to connect people of diverse backgrounds at one virtual platform, facilitating them to engage a deeper conversation and active learning on topics and issues related peace and diversity. The content was based on TBR’s principles of Peace3Ps, i.e., peace with oneself, peace with others in a community and peace with the planet, local and global. This OPUDE program is designed for young adults from the age group of 19 to 35 years old.
The April-May OPUDE was attended by ten participants from MYC, 3 from the United Nations Chapter of National University of Malaysia (University Kebangsaan Malaysia) and youths that zoomed in from Indonesia, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, and Myanmar.
This OPUDE was organized again from 22 May to 26th June 2021. This time, the program was attended by students from University Malaya, the host for Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) Central Semenanjung, students from International Islamic University of Malaysia (RCE Greater Gombak), students from UCSI University (RCE Greater Kuala Lumpur (candidate)) and youth leaders from Singapore and Indonesia. A few graduates from OPUDE April-May 2021 started to practice co-facilitating the June workshop.
TBR’s aspiration is also to train them to facilitate similar training for youths of younger age, such as high school aged teens. A few from OPUDE March-April and May-June cohort, ignited by this aspiration, have registered to practice co-facilitating the next OPUDE September-October 2021. This cohort will be attended mainly by high school aged teenagers from 6 refugee learning centers in Malaysia. Some have also volunteered to translate the OPUDE materials into Bahasa Malaysia so that the program can be spread nationally.