Lisbon, Portugal—UPF-Portugal invited the leaders of several partner organizations for a one-day seminar in character education.

The event took place on October 8, 2016, in the Lisbon Peace Embassy, with the support of Professor Liberto Silva, the vice president of UPF-Portugal; Dr. Marta Rodrigues, the president of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), an affiliated organization; and the singer Isaley, who is a WFWP Ambassador for Peace.

The goal of the seminar was to demonstrate, through concrete presentations, the potential of character education to contribute to the work and goals of these partner organizations.

Unfortunately, the leader of one of these organizations, CV Platform (an organization that is concerned with expatriates from the Republic of Cape Verde), could not come, but he already has indicated his desire to cooperate with UPF.

Another of the partner organizations was the Association for Change and Transcultural Representation (AMRT), which works with minority communities. This association is certified in the Register of Private Institutions of Social Solidarity and is supported by the City Hall of Loures City and by the Portuguese Youth Institute. This group has the ability to promote and ensure official training. UPF is hoping to work with this association to update and adapt its character education in order to include it in the national legislation of certified training.

The third invited organization was the International Platform of Civil Society Lusophone Diaspora (PISCIDIL), which deals with Portuguese speakers around the world. This group’s leader, Professor Alberto Araújo, attended the UPF International Leadership Conference for the European region that took place in September in London.

Professor Araújo created the idea of a master's degree training program in leadership and citizenship, with an e-learning component (either in a formal academic way or informally). He already has made partnerships with the Lisbon Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Advanced Studies, the Open University of Lisbon and the Portuguese Quality Association. He has applied to UNESCO for funding for this project. UPF is looking forward to working jointly with this organization to include character education in the informal training.

Five conference topics were chosen as being relevant to current social and youth problems: “The Need to Educate the Character,” “Conflict: Causes and Resolution,” “Family: The School of Love,” “Parental Education” and “Preventing Drug Addictions.”

The meeting was very interactive, with various suggestions and questions put forth. The participants were pleased with the potential of character education to be used in schools, associations, for young people, families and teachers. It was shown that character education has a great potential to bring positive change to society and solve current problems, especially those concerning children and young people. The leaders of the invited organizations showed interest in supporting UPF to implement these contents.

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