Pope Francis Endorses Workshop Recommendation to Ask World Leaders to Teach Peace to Children

Trish and Steve McCarty Meet and are invited to lunch with Pope Francis
World-Changing... Pope Francis calls on all leaders to better educate our children as the only real means to sustainability.
 
Here is the recommendation to Pope Francis made by our Vatican workshop. Those of you involved in StarShine will see your influences in this final document. He has now signed agreements to distribute this recommendation to all world leaders. It can be found at the front page of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences website:
 
http://www.casinapioiv.va/content/accademia/en/events/2015/children.html
 
 
Workshop 13-15 November 2015 - In April 2014 the Pontifical Academies jointly held an excellent Workshop on Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature. A remarkable series of contributions produced a clear picture of the issues, and stressed the urgency to act. It also raised the need for spiritual and moral leadership. But the Workshop stopped short of elucidating the role of education in the changes to come, and making poposals for action in this direction. These essential questions form the basis of the present Workshop of November 2015,Children and Sustainable Development: A Challenge for Education. 

The goal is to build, through education, an inclusive society in which all people can have the resources to develop a life project in harmony with their culture and beliefs, transcultural universal values and respect for the environment. Children must develop an approach open to the other as oneself so that the world, without losing the richness of diversity, can become ever more integrated. To prepare their active participation in the common good, promoting a cooperation between students in their relationships with civic awareness, valuing cooperation and solidarity above all forms of competitive selfishness are essential. Cognitive and health sciences provide today a better understanding of the way children grow, from birth onward, develop their cognitive abilities to read and write but also to reason, as well as their emotional senses and empathy.

In many countries one may already observe that "education for sustainable development" is becoming part of the agenda of education leaders and authorities. As science plays an essential part in the acceptance and understanding of the issues, it appears that science education of children and youngsters (and their parents) is at the heart of the action, hence this new Workshop convened by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Progress in general education is slow and the UN Millennium Goals for the period 2000-2015 will not be achieved, although some progress has been noticeable in various parts of the world, including Africa and Asia. Progress in science education is much slower, despite the efforts of science academies, Unesco and some private institutions. The number of poorly educated children is increasing, affected by population migrations, urban uprooting and poverty, wars, refugees conditions and other changes of migrant work force. In many countries, especially developed ones, anti-science movements arise, questioning the ability of scientists to arrive at some truth about natural phenomena, showing a poor understanding of the nature of scientific reasoning and a lack of confidence in the scientific institutions which disseminate the results of research. in other countries, parents and maybe official agencies, basing themselves on religious principles, oppose scientific evidence to the detriment of children. In both cases the lack of understanding, by the general public, of the nature of science is evident: it has not been transmitted by a proper education pattern.

Today's children will be the adults of tomorrow, confronted to the consequences of today's actions or inactions. More important even, they will be the ones to act, and to act properly if properly prepared. Education has to convey to them hope, not despair or grim perspectives, giving them self-confidence in their intelligence. Hope and trust in human capabilities need to be first embedded in a solid knowledge, then deeply rooted in a message of spiritual nature, since so many factors could lead these children, students in today's schools, to despair. children are of special concern in the Gospel (Mat 19, 13-15) and education, not only religious, has always been treated as an essential gift to humanity by the church. The church itself having millions of students in catholic schools, these can therefore play a significant role.

Schools in today's world are confronted with massive urban migrations, the digital revolution, the lack of qualified teachers and their low income, the explosion of scientific knowledge, the deep changes in jobs requiring new skills. it is in this context that schools will have to absorb the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to be proclaimed in the fall of 2015, and to reconsider their science education in order to deal with interdisciplinary, complex issues which demand a new vision. There lies a formidable task in connecting education with the urgency of the issues of climate, development and sustainability, caring for poverty, inequalities and social conditions.

At the end of the Workshop, a global discussion will lead to the establishment of guidelines for action.
 
 
I wrote this for our previous newsletter:
 
Behind the Vatican Walls
Steve and I just returned from meetings at the Vatican in Rome. The connection to the Vatican actually began when StarShine was still a new idea, several years ago. At that time, I received a call from a member of one of the Catholic boards in New York whom I had known for a long time. He said he was sending a Cardinal and some other people from the Vatican to check out StarShine's ability to teach peace and sustainability to kids. The Cardinal came to visit StarShine, along with other people, one being Gabriele Delmanaco, Gabriele's wife and baby. Due to some unusual circumstances we formed some strong relationships with one another. Gabriele's career with the Vatican continued to expand as did StarShine's influence and work with the United Nations. Gabriele was named President of CNEWA, Catholic Near East Welfare Association by Pope Benedict XVI, shortly after we became friends. Gabriele would visit Phoenix frequently and I would speak frequently in New York City. Having very similar passions for children, we would try to visit one another and he would always spend time at StarShine, wishing of a way to spread StarShine to his many children's charities. Neither of us had the resources in time or money to make this a reality, in those days.
When Pope Francis became the Pope, Gabriele and I were extremely hopeful that he would have great impact on a proper education for all children; one that would inspire creativity, responsibility and service toward others, along with pure academics. We shared many prayers and watched as Pope Francis' popularity soared. In March of this year, much to our combined surprise, Pope Francis named Gabriele, President of the Boys and Girls Towns, orphanages that date back to World War II. Gabriele asked Steve and me to come to Rome to meet with Pope Francis in May and to begin our long dream of integrating StarShine's technology, software, curriculum, context and ethos.
At the meeting in May, there was a strong focus on Humane Sustainability and ideas for how Pope Francis could discuss this in his upcoming tour to the United States. Several key leaders were in these meetings, many I had met before. We all agreed that human behavior predicts sustainability and human behavior is learned.  A workshop was being formed to bring together leaders for November 2015, to make specific recommendations to Pope Francis for his dissemination to all world leaders; religious, scientific, political, humanitarian and business. At a luncheon, inside of the Pope's home, I had the pleasure of being seated next to sit next to Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Vatican City, who was in charge of organizing the upcoming workshop in November. He personally invited both me and Steve to come to be a part of it. He said it could have a big global influence. A few weeks later I received a personal email from him, urging us to attend, followed by a formal invitation. Quite extraordinary to say the least!!
Until we arrived at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, I had no idea what to expect. We were to come up with a two-page recommendation by the end of the time together. There were approximately fifty-two people invited, each with amazing expertise, passion and a lifetime devoted to their particular science. There were thirty-four presentations made for discussion and possible points for inclusion to Pope Francis. Eighteen observers were invited to add opinions. Steve and I were a part of that group. After the first day, the attacks in Paris occurred, putting a more serious and somber tone to the meetings, but I believe caused everyone to go deeper into conversations about how the world can work for humans.
To say it was an honor to be a part of such history and noble people, doesn't adequately express my feelings of awe.
When I decided to open StarShine as a laboratory to see if we could produce a proper education, to restore children back to their own creative magic, many of you might remember me saying, "I am not doing this to be on one corner in one bad neighborhood, in one awful building, I am doing this as a global model of what is possible." I invested my own $238,000 savings because I truly believed we could figure this out, and I was willing to risk everything to find out.  What causes a person to be happy, angry, thankful or resentful? What causes success and failure? Could these things be taught to children in school? Many of you have been on this journey with me and have watched the struggles and the gains. Our mission has always been to become a lighthouse to send a signal to all other schools: It's time to change, not only for our children, but teachers, parents, our communities and our world...the only one we share.
As we approach these Holy days of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and the Christmas holidays, I want to thank each of you from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate any and everything you have done to be a part of a worldwide change, perhaps the biggest change that will occur in our own lifetime. When the disasters of 9/11 happened, I prayed, "Dear God, please do not let these people die in vain, but let their lives be a wake-up call to do better and be better." I am truly living to see this happen.
To create sustainability for the schools and children, we have been designing, gathering and documenting our intellectual property toward a day when we could sell it to make money to continue to build more schools. Education Resources is my original company in which we placed consultants into government contracts. This is the company that is helping our XPRIZE to end world illiteracy, through StarShine Planet and our StarShine School in a Box and to begin to spread StarShine further.
We have recently made, positively received, presentations to Venture Capital firms in Silicon Valley, as the market now wants what we have developed and demonstrated.  We hope you become more involved, more excited and more hopeful as we continue our work.
God Bless you and your family, always.
Love, Trish
 




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