jerusalemThe teacher who accompanied our team to Jerusalem and Hebron this year, Mr. Dean Maguire, CSPE (Civil, Social & Political Education) teacher at The King’s Hospital School, Dublin.
Dean was given a direct insight into our Israeli and Palestinian school programme. His presence and comunication with the respective teacher and student groups provided the following anticipated outcomes:

  • additional motivational impetus to the new student groups and teachers
  • additional motivational impetus to his own CSPE group and that of his fellow CSPE teacher (Mr. John Huggard)
  • consolidated the profile of the SAB project in all participant Israeli and Palestinian schools.

Many Thanks Dean for making the journey with us! Everyone really appreciated your presence.

Here is Dean’s report:

With nervous excitement I awaited the trip to Israel and Palestine during the mid-term break in February 2009. Had someone said to me ten years ago, working and living in Zimbabwe (a country torn part by its own conflict issues) that I would be making this trip, I would have used one word – “ludicrous”. Now it has happened and the word I now use is “incredible”. Not only was I able to compare the daily conflicts faced by many people in both countries with Ireland, but it also gave me an opportunity to reflect upon the conflict faced in the country of my birth and my own school days, Zimbabwe.

The two places are incredible – the people, the history, the conflict, the similarities and their futures …

Around every corner a story awaits, whether it’s in the Old City of Jerusalem, the brand new schools situated in West Jerusalem, facing the Wall or in the middle of a busy market of Hebron. The people in all locations have their own personal stories riddled with conflict, stories of a denial of Human Rights and Human Dignity and a focus on their own agendas for the future. To be able to try and exert an influence on this future is an onerous and yet exciting task. Shaping young people towards an ultimate goal of co-operation and co-existence is one that must be a priority and it starts with young people, the future of any country. Schools Across Borders is an organisation that has obviously tapped into this resource and must be commended for these efforts. They must also be afforded as much support as possible and it will be one of my aims to assist them in any way I can within my own school community in the future.

So what next from this trip. I was able to obtain some fantastic footage and amazing photographs which I plan to introduce into the CSPE curriculum in our school from the start of next year and to develop it into a resource that can be re-used and also redeveloped as necessary. I will also be encouraging as many of my fellow colleagues to embark on the same trip as I did with Schools Across Borders as it is a priceless journey and one that can only truly be appreciated first-hand. With more of my colleagues having their own experiences the subject matter from the Schools Across Borders can only be improved. And more importantly we will be looking towards opening up our own students to a world they may never even have thought of in the future – a realization tat we do not live in this world alone, but are living together – albeit separated by borders. At the core, we are all human and what we should be focussing on are our similarities and understanding and appreciating our differences. This is the message I will be taking forward to my colleagues, students and friends.

I cannot wait to re-visit Israel and Palestine (and to more visits by their students to us) in the future and to continue working with Schools Across Borders. Darran and the team must be commended for all the work done
Dean Maguire