Children’s Discussion Forum

Link to the Children’s Forum Web Site

“Children have the right to participate in decision-making processes that may be relevant in their lives and to influence decisions taken in their regard — within the family, the school or the community.”

Article 12, Convention on the Rights of the Child

“The most powerful change wrought by the Convention is the way in which children have become visible. Politicians, media, NGOs and broader civil society feel a clear obligation to include children…You can’t ignore children any longer and get away with it…

Stephen Lewis, Executive Director, UNICEF

On January 12, 2001, 100 of the World’s Nobel Peace Laureates published a ‘Dire Warning For Planet Earth’, reinforcing the idea that it is time to change the way we think:

“The most profound danger to world peace in the coming years will stem not from the irrational acts of states or individuals but from the legitimate demands of the world’s dispossessed… It is time to turn our backs on the unilateral search for security, in which we seek to shelter behind walls. Instead, we must persist in the quest for united action to counter both global warming and a weaponised world. To survive in the world we have transformed, we must learn to think in a new way. As never before, the future of each depends on the good of all.”

A Voice for Children

A Children’s Forum provides a context to amplify the voice of children, develop their ability to make democratic decisions and generate unique solutions that will affect their future. The Children’s Forum will give children a voice in the which will have profound affects on the future of their world.

Children’s Forum

The Children’s Forum is a pilot program for primary school children in grades 5 and 6. The Forum will provide a voice and skills for children to facilitate communication, problems solving to become better citizens and within a democratic framework, where all voices are valued equally.

The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and, the next generation of decision makers. The Children’s Forum is the first forum of this type in the world that is collaborative and proposes a central philosophy of conflict resolution and focussed creative, integrated thinking methods in a positive environment.

The Children’s Forum is collaborative and cooperative, there is no opposition party. Its core belief is to solve problems through creative collaboration and compassionate communication. A holistic we/us rather than antagonistic we/them paradigm. It will focus on local community issues that directly affect children and the community within which they live. Children will learn to look at all sides of issues that are of concern in their community and explore creative solutions. The children will present their findings to local Council and State Parliament. Therefore, children learn to become citizens, to connect with others and participate in the democratic process.

The Children’s Forum is classroom based and issues are researched and explored and culminates in an Agora Assembly. The whole school is involved in voting on the proposed ideas.

The Children’s Forum is importantly a fun forum and child centred . The symbol of the forum will be Peacefull, the World Peace Clown. Peacefull symbolizes virtues such as: compassion, non-judgement, fairness, unconditional love, trying new things and a sense of humour.

The Children’s Forum is in harmony with The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (1992), Rio Earth Summit . The action plan or Agenda 21 focuses on the local level and in particular, local governance of sustainability.

The Children’s Forum provides a preparatory foundation , providing children with real skills and values to enable them to deal with problems and solutions in a collaborative manner. Importantly, children will be actively involved in creating the Forum.

The program can link schools and children with local Councils, State Parliaments, International Youth Parliaments and the United Nations. These linkages provide children with further developmental steps to enhance their understanding and experience of citizenship, participation in democracy and awareness of the current parliamentary system.

The Children’s Forum encourages children …

Link to the Children’s Forum Web Site

‘To be the Change You Wish to See in the World” (Gandhi).