On Day 2 of the "Culture of Peace" Symposium at the University of Palermo, we revisit the Peace-Blossom plaque inaugurated yesterday at the Department of Psychology, Educational Science and Human Movement.
The poster of the Symposium on the Departmental bulletin board.
We gather back in the lecture hall, but today's programme is Workshop, where more hands-on activities are offered by the three visiting professors: Dr. Mahatapa Palit (City University of New York), Dr. Lunthita Duthely (University of Miami School of Medicine) and Dr. Harashita Sunaoshi (Kyoto Seika University). [Dr. Mukul Ram Fishman (Tel Aviv University) had to return after yesterday's presentation.]
The day begins with the one-minute concentration exercise, where we all focus on the heart and beathe in a positive quality of our choice, and breathe out a negative quality we see in ourselves but no longer want.
About 170-180 students participate in today's workshop.
Our first facilitator, Dr. Mahatapa, asks the students to feel empathy (oneness), and to draw pictures and diagrams on a piece of paper, describing what people around them might be feeling and going through.
Dr. Lunthita helps distribute the paper to the students.
Here, the second facilitator Dr. Harashita walks around the lecture hall to monitor the students' progress. She put them into small groups and they are discussing ways to bring Culture of Peace into their future teaching in the classroom. When being asked prior to the activity, most students responded they would like to teach in the future.
Our final facilitator Dr. Lunthita first has the students experience one of the interventions in her experiment for her Ph.D. dissertation, an exercise to increase gratitude in the heart. Afterwards, she asks the audience how they feel. She asks them: "Imagine, everyday, your students were practicing this. Would that make a change for them?"
Dr. Lunthita then goes on and explains her research for her Ph.D. dissertation a little more in depth: her use of heart-centred gratitude-meditation technique as an intervention, in order to improve the wellbeing of adolescents in Florida, in the framework of positive psychology.
As one of the focuses of the Department SPPEFF is Psychology, the audience appreciate her quantitative analysis of the interventions' effectiveness.
At the end of the three-hour Workshop...
The presenters and audience appreciate each other enthusiastically.
Special thanks to Giovanni Amantea for his work in videography and photography.
It was truly a meaningful, joy-filled two days to share our common yearning for peace in the form of the Symposium.
The professor team and Italian Peace Run organizers are extremely grateful to the Department SPPEFF and the University of Palermo, for their unprecedented openness and readiness to introduce and incorporate Culture of Peace, an inner approach, into their already robust academic curriculum.
We hope this new friendship will continue and develop further, to be of service to the academic community at the university and beyond.
Afterword, a little bit of sightseeing of this beautiful city Palermo...
And we are off to the next destination: the University of Padova.
Torch carried by Harashita Sunaoshi(Japan),
Lunthita Duthely(United States).