Beyond the International Programmes: applying diversity education at home

Our biggest yearly programme season is officially over. If you participated in one of the 237 international programmes that were organised all over the globe in the last few months, chances are that now you are super excited and super thrilled to apply all the lessons you learned in your daily lives. Like for everything in life, there’s not a single recipe on how this can be done, but in the next paragraphs, we tried to put together a few suggestions that have worked for us in the past and that we think can be beneficial also for others.

Be observant

Hopefully, your CISV experience has taught you that diversity is everywhere around us. It is not only about the colour of our skin, the language we speak, or the gender of the people we love. A lot of the diversity that you encounter as you go about your life is probably a far less evident than that. A lot of diversity has to do with personal experiences, individual world views, background, and education.

Here’s a simple exercise: think about the person that you would consider to be the most similar to you - a family member or a best friend might come to mind. Make a mental inventory of all the little things that set you apart and try not to focus on the physical characteristics, it is very likely that you’ll end up with a list that is much longer than you thought it would be. Imagine how many things will set you apart from the people that you don’t feel so similar to! The first lesson about diversity that you can apply every day is to notice just how much diversity is surrounding you, and be amazed by it.

Be respectful

Once you notice the massive amount of diversity you’re living in, the next step is to accept it and embrace it. The more you learn to notice similarities and differences among the people in your life, the more you will notice things that you are unfamiliar with and that may make you uncomfortable.

In these situations remember that there is never a right or a wrong way to be human. Always accept people for who they are and never try to change them to make them more similar or more appealing to you. Acceptance of diversity does not mean that you shouldn’t stand up for the things that you believe in. When you feel uncomfortable or angry in a situation, separate the person from their actions and words. It is ok to disagree and to explain your disagreement with these actions and words, but you must always treat the person with dignity and respect. Be considerate and keep in mind how your different experiences affect whether some actions or ideas are more or less acceptable to either of you.

Be proactive

To conclude, if you find yourself in a situation where discrimination or inequality bother you and clash with your values and the idea of peace that you believe in, don’t be afraid to speak up and get involved. There are many organizations all over the world that fight for almost every cause out there. Find the one that suits you best and start making a change. The goal of CISV is to educate and inspire action for a more just and peaceful world. We do this mostly through our international programmes, but the most effective way in which our principles can have a tangible effect is by acting locally. There are several ways that CISV Chapters promote our principles at a local level, including Junior Branch (JB) activities, Mosaic projects, and all sort of local and national activities. The next few posts will guide you through some of the amazing opportunities CISV has to offer beyond international programmes. They will explore what local, national, and international JBs have done throughout the year to promote diversity, what Mosaics have been or could be organized on the topic, how local and national boards can promote diversity education within their non-travelling members, and so much more.

So stay tuned because even if this programme season is over, CISV never sleeps and there is so much more to learn and do. As usual, if you have any suggestions or anecdotes on how to apply teachings from CISV activities in your everyday life, we are always happy to read your emails at

See you soon,
The Diversity Campaign team



Addressing Gender Diversity in CISV

by Blair Lockhart

Human Rights CISV

I attended a remarkable session a couple of years ago at our CISV Canada National Board Meeting; one of our youth delivered a session on ‘understanding gender diversity’.  (This person identifies as trans, and uses the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them’, because they don’t identify as male or female.) They invited us to ask anything, including questions that we might be embarrassed to ask, and if they felt the question was inappropriate, they would tell us (nicely) why, but also answer the question.  The goal was information.  It was a great session – educational as well as compassionate.  When I shared this at our Americas Regional Meeting, there was a lot of interest in the topic.  That’s when Jose Bassila, from CISV Guatemala, and I decided to organize a panel session for the CISV Global Conference.

Often, when we don’t understand something, we tend to avoid asking questions, and in doing so we might end up excluding people.  CISV embraces everyone, regardless of language, colour, religion, or financial status.  And in order to truly include everyone, CISV must embrace everyone regardless of whether someone has two mothers or two fathers, and whatever their sexuality or gender identity.  Some key questions that CISV faces, however, are (1) how to reconcile the vastly different cultural norms about sexuality and gender identity, (2) should CISV permit delegations to opt out of conversations and activities they perceive to be culturally unacceptable in their home countries, and (3) how to equip delegation leaders and programme staff to handle these issues.

We began our session with an explanation of sexuality and gender identity, illustrated by the Genderbread Person. Then we asked the following questions of our panellists:

  • What are your personal experiences in the CISV community as a LGBTQ+ person
  • Here are some practical questions that could arise when trying to accommodate  LGBTQ+ persons in CISV – how might you respond? Which bathroom will the trans-youth use? How can we offer a separate bedroom when we only have enough bedrooms in our facility for boys and girls?
  • How do we fill out a form when it asks for gender and the youth is ‘other’
  • What do you think your Chapter/NA and CISV International can do to become more inclusive with the LGBTQ+ community?

The panel provided information and suggestions, and recalled positive, as well as not-so-positive, CISV experiences.  Then we opened for Q&A from the audience, and this led to a lively, and by no means uniform, discussion on whether, and to what extent, CISV should embrace LGBTQ+ participants.  There are no easy answers: embracing LGBTQ+ people may end up alienating others, yet excluding LGBTQ+ people will definitely alienate LGBTQ+ youth. CISVs challenge is to move forward such that all youth are included and comfortable in CISV, and to continue to educate CISV chapters, families and communities to be compassionate and accepting of everyone, regardless of sexuality and gender identity.  

CISV educates and inspires action for a more just and peaceful world.  And CISV believes that peace is possible through building friendship and mutual understanding, starting with children.  In the same way that CISV doesn’t build friendship only for children of certain [colours / religions / languages], nor does CISV build friendship only for ‘straight’ children.

This important conversation continues!

Blair Lockhart

Blair Lockhart is a lawyer and has been a CISV parent since 2005 when her daughter attended a Village in India. Blair has been a Chapter Risk Manager, as well as President of CISV Canada and is now the National Association Representative. Blair is active in her local community and volunteers in projects to assist marginalized persons. She is passionate about inclusion, whether the need arises from socio-economic or mental health challenges or barriers such as literacy or expectations of one’s culture.

Jose Bassila

Jose Bassila joined CISV in 2003 when he attended a Step Up, and has been actively involved ever since as a board member, NJR, Trustee, and National Representative. He's active locally and internationally and has participated in 13 camps. Jose is active in Guatemalan politics and recently in LGBT+ activities in Guatemala. He's a lawyer and works with start-ups and new NGOs that focus on social and economic development in Guatemala. He also loves to practice yoga and eat hummus!

Diverse Leaders in Diverse Programmes

Leaders and staff in programmes need to act as diversity advocates. They should encourage participants, and all involved in the programme, to understand what diversity is and to become active global citizens by applying what they learn and experience.

As we mentioned several times in our previous posts, it is hard to have a precise definition of what diversity is. Thus, we can believe every leader and staff participating in a CISV programme has a personal opinion about what diversity is according to them. They will also have experienced diversity in different ways in their programmes.

That is why we think it is interesting to discuss the topic of diversity in programmes with former leaders and staff, to hear their opinions and insights as a tool for discussion. We strongly encourage you to share your own perspective, as a member of CISV in any way - as a blog comment or on social media.

We started our discussion with leaders and staff with suggested topics that you can find here :

  • What about CISV do you think is most related to diversity ? (for example: The number of countries? The diversity in people? The activities?)
  • What was your most intense experience of diversity in a programme ?
  • Do you think diversity also comes with disadvantages ?
  • Do you think there is one perfect model to be a leader ?
  • After being a leader in a CISV programmes, what is your own definition of diversity?

  • Here is a compilation of a few insights we got from our leaders and staffs:

    The undeniable impact of national cultures

    Almost every leader or staff we spoke with mentioned the obvious impact of having different nationalities at a programme. This is why CISV is considered diverse in the first place; without having to step in the organization, CISV defines itself as a organization which gathers more than 70 nationalities for educational experiences. That level of diversity in a Village for example, bringing 12 countries or more to live together throughout the programme, is inherent to CISV and its goals. Our testimonies Leaders have mentioned that they felt less diversity in their experience when having more countries from their region or continent. They felt like it was easier to agree on decisions and that there were common opinions and reactions, for example at National or regional workshops. However, they also mentioned they were sometimes surprised by the challenges they encountered with culturally similar countries (for example France and Belgium).

    Learning from challenges

    According to our leaders, diversity definitely comes with challenges. Some mention difficulties in living together with different cultures in simple moments such as shower time, while others mention how hard it is for a group of adult leaders to manage their decision making, especially in critical moments or tough situations. As for example, when leaders get to decide on an activity or a change in the schedule, their different culture will interfere and will result in a longer process to decide, while having everyone’s opinion respected and heard.

    However, most of them mentioned that the challenges related to diversity is what attracts them to become leaders or staff. Diversity brings a sense of challenge and teaches valuable life skills about how to communicate and get along effectively with others., Sharing this with participants and challenging them to adopt new habits, is also a core motivation for being a leader or a staff in a programme. Leaders we spoke to also mentioned that they would feel frustrated and angry sometimes, especially in the decision making process, but that it is a also the role of a leader to be able to cope with difficulties. Finally, every single person mentioned the importance of having different types of leaders, and that there was no set model for being a good leader.

    Improving diversity in our participation

    Several leaders and staff mentioned, despite all the diversity they describe in their experiences, that they thought CISV participants were not very diverse, other than their country of origin. Two of them especially acknowledged that participants would come from similar background or social environment, and that would limit the diversity in their opinion and points of view. One of our leaders also mentioned that some aspects of CISV would financially limit people from participating. For example, some of our meetings are held in “luxurious” places and are costly: fewer people can attend and nobody then benefits from the diversity that could occur.

    We will finish with a beautiful quote from our friend Jaime : “I believe that by taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, you might then come to realise that diversity is how all of our similarities and differences form equally-important and endlessly-interesting threads within the web that binds us all as human beings.”

    We want to thank Tone, Augustin, Jaime, Théo, Nadine, Lily, Maria, Agus and Juliette for their insights.

    Don’t hesitate to share your comments, experience and opinion about diversity in programmes with us!

    The Diversity Campaign Team

    Diversity in Programmes: finding the perfect activity

    Programme season is in full swing and thousands of CISVers are currently participating in international programmes or will depart shortly. All over the world, CISVers are getting ready to play, discuss, and share their experiences on diversity. All over the world, leaders, staff members, and JCs are planning the perfect activities to facilitate these discussions.

    To help them out, to help YOU out, the Diversity Team has gathered some resources (from both inside and outside of CISV) where you can find activities about diversity for all ages and programmes.

    Remember that planning activities is a game where almost everything is allowed, so don’t be afraid to build on someone else’s ideas, adapt someone else’s activity plans, or mix and match parts of different activities. And if you come up with a great new activity, don’t forget to send it to so that the entire CISV community can have access to it!

    CISV International - Activity database

    You probably already know this one, or at least you probably should know it, but we could not start without it. This is the activity database of CISV International, the place where the activities that you send to the email mentioned above end up! You can find activities divided by programme and by content area. Needless to say, you will have to click on “diversity” to get all the activities on the topic. However, we will not be offended if you browse the other content areas as well.

    Kompaz team - Diversity in heArts

    The Kompaz project is a collaboration between CISV Colombia and CISV Norway. The 2017-2018 team focused on diversity and produced a lot of very useful material on the topic. They also actively collaborated with the Diversity team and we have already presented them in our first post back in January.

    The booklet they put together, “Diversity in heArts”, aims to explore and reflect on the socially constructed “boxes” we often find ourselves in and how they shape our relations and societies. Other than being a very good read and extremely well designed, it contains a lot of ready-made activities for all tastes.

    CISV International - 2014 archive

    If you’ve been in CISV long enough, you probably know this already. 2014 was also the year of diversity. So why not go and take a look at what was done then and see what can be recycled today?

    The 2014 archive is available to download on the bottom tab on the left side of this page. It contains blog posts, articles, and inspiring activities to give you a kick start if you’re out of ideas.

    International Junior Branch - Branch Out project

    If you already checked out the 2014 archive, you may have spotted this project already. But we like it so much that we thought it deserved a list entry of its own. Branch Out is the content area project developed by IJB in 2014. It is split into six steps that guide you deeper and deeper into diversity discussions. Each step is a fully planned session, including all attachments and materials. The link directs you to Step 1, an introductory activity about sexuality and gender diversity, but we’re confident you will easily find all the other steps from there.

    Council of Europe - Cultural heritage and cultural diversity lessons: a handbook for teacher

    This document, produced by the Council of Europe, contains pre-made lessons and activities on cultural heritage and diversity for various age groups. The activities are designed for a school settings, but they are really well adaptable to a CISV camp.

    The Council of Europe produces a lot of really good resources on various topics of interest for CISVers. So check out their website and browse through their resources to get ideas and inspiration.

    Pennsylvania State University - Diversity discussion starters

    Here’s an article published by Penn State University (USA) containing a series of texts, poems, and anecdotes that can easily spark conversations about diversity. They also provide a list of questions for each resource to make it even easier.

    If you’re still out of ideas, we also found a follow-up article, by the same authors with ready-to-do activities about diversity: More diversity activities for youth and adults.

    Donald Clark - Leadership and Developing Diversity and Inclusion

    Here’s some ideas about leadership, diversity, and inclusion from a personal development consultant. We found this article particularly interesting as it discusses diversity detached from an idea of culture and nationality and more as a mean of personal development. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you will find some interesting activities on the topic that may be a good starting point for older participants to discuss identity, personality and diverse group dynamics.

    In Conclusion…

    This list is far from being a conclusive list of all the resources with activities about diversity that you can find out there, but we really hope it helps navigate the topic and provides inspiration for activities and topics of discussion.

    Did we miss your favourite resource? Did you use any of these and you want to thank us for this post? Do you just feel like saying “hi”? Don’t hesitate to shoot a message at to let us know.

    Cheers and happy CISV programmes,
    The Diversity Campaign Team

    When Diversity Leads to Conflict: Dealing with a Multicultural Team

    Decision making is a key process in CISV programmes. At every step of a programme, your group of leaders and staff will have to make decisions for the group. What activity is needed by the group? Should we change bed time? Which topic should we discuss?

    Decision making can be tricky and the diversity of a multicultural group can make it even trickier.

    Diversity can be a tough topic in CISV when it comes to habits and cultures that live together for a few weeks. Here are examples of a few situations that are the result of working in a multicultural team and how to avoid them sometimes, deal with them most of the times, and always learn something from them.

    The following paragraphs will look at specific issues which help to understand different dimensions of multiculturality, identify yourself in them, and think about ways to work with people, within CISV, who are different. There are many other dimensions to multiculturality. We just wish to provide you with a sample and some tips!

    Time management

    Time management is often described as the first source of conflict in a CISV camp. From day one, you will have to decide on a schedule for the group of participants and leaders to follow. This schedule will shape your days. But respecting a schedule means different things in different cultures.

    A famous researcher, Edward Hall, described the concept of time according to cultural specificities: basically, some cultures consider that arriving 5 minutes late is rude, and some other think it is normal and acceptable to arrive 15 or even 30 minutes later that the meeting time.

    In working together, some people will want to organize and structure their time in a very practical way, whilst others are willing to work on several projects at a time, switching back-and-forth between projects.

    Working with different concepts of time is a tricky exercise. Here are some tips to manage it as efficiently as possible:

    • Have time slots instead of fixed times: because it can be hard to stick to a very precise schedule, having time slots can help. This means that an activity, for example, should start and end within a certain period of time, which allows flexibility.
    • Make a challenge out of time management: you don’t want to be the time police! So maybe, when you identify that certain cultures are struggling to respect a schedule, make a challenge out of it - the most punctual person gets to facilitate the leaders meeting or wins something special or gets to run the energizer. You can also choose one leader to be the time keeper each day! Encourage all participants to accept the challenge and play along.
    • Have fixed working times and always communicate them: activity planning often occurs in the evening, between activities, and during free time. It can be hard to manage! Make sure to set meetings with your teammates so no one feels left out.
    • Communication and team cohesion: If you cannot be flexible, for example, with mealtimes, flagtimes, or lullabies, make sure that everyone understands the importance of those key moments to get a smooth rhythm through the day or for the group cohesion for instance.

    Demonstration of emotions

    You already know that (or will experience it soon), CISV programmes are a place where you can experience a lot of intense emotions. This can be due to the fast pace of the experience, non-stop activities, living together 24/7, or being tired. You may experience strong emotions that you have never had before. Some people may be ready for and embrace this intense melting pot of feelings. However, it is important to consider that showing emotions, and behaving accordingly, is not the same for everybody. This can lead to misunderstanding, conflict, or a feeling of discomfort in a group.

    For example, in some cultures, it is highly inappropriate to express feelings in public, whereas in others, it is totally acceptable and considered as a sign of trust.

    Here are several ways to behave when you feel like people are not ready or willing to share their emotions, or if, on the opposite, their emotionality is too overwhelming for you:

    • Make space for people to express their feelings in their own way: for example, during leaders meetings, it is important to avoid frustration and to have a clear view of the group’s feeling. A good way to do that is to have a “Circle of feelings”, by rating the intensity of a feeling on a scale of 1 to 5 with your fingers. Only people who want to can then express themselves.
    • Be observant and ask questions: in the first days of your programme, you will see some people hugging after a few hours or being very expressive. It is important to remember some people may take some time to get a certain point of intimacy, or maybe they don’t want to get there at all. Remember to be observant, comprehending, and ask before hugging someone, even in a CISV context!
    • Use images and body language: if you are the kind of person who doesn’t express their feelings in a very explicit way, be conscious that it can be tricky for others to understand how you are feeling. A good way to express yourself without feeling uncomfortable can be drawings, mind maps, or images (scales, post its) to position yourself on an “emotion scale” without being too expressive.

    Managing an international group of people within CISV

    There are a lot of other dimensions that influence the way people from different cultures work together: individualism or collectivism, space management, conception of hierarchy, management styles, crisis management, and more. All of these aspects of our culture is what make us who we are as global citizens and as people with different cultures and backgrounds.

    The main tip on how to best appreciate those dimensions is to learn from them.

    Stepping out of your comfort zone or finding smooth and constructive ways to teach the group a new way of working together will not only make the group more efficient, but will also be an infinite resource for everybody to learn from. Maybe, you will use some of those different ways of working together in your future CISV camps or even in your academic or professional life. No doubt that you will learn a lot about yourself as well.

    If you have questions regarding culture shock and understanding different cultures in international working groups, don’t hesitate to reach us at !

    Joanne Mary and the Diversity Campaign Team.

    You want to read more about this topic?


    9 Diversity Hacks for Leaders and Staff in International Programmes

    As our major programme season approaches, leaders and staff all around the world are getting ready. Here are nine easy tips from the Diversity Campaign Team on how to best embrace diversity in CISV’s international programmes.

    Enjoy them and share them with your fellow leaders and staff members!

    1 - Be prepared to switch languages at any time and practice using English as your main language!

    It is often that you feel uncomfortable speaking another language in front of other people, especially in front of people who speak the same language as you (read this article for more input).

    As English is CISV International’s official language for programmes, you and your delegation might have to speak English at some point in order to communicate with others. It is important to make sure that participants don’t create “bubbles” with delegations speaking the same language. Everyone must be willing to do their best to communicate, even if they don’t speak a lot of English. If you do not try to communicate, it could lead to others feeling excluded. As a leader you may be translating for your delegation which will have a big effect on their experience. How? Find out in this study.

    There are several fun ways to get your delegation familiar with English: watch a movie together or in a completely different language but with subtitles, learn the CISV song together, sing international songs, have a quiz in English about other countries/geography, etc.

    However, don’t forget that having several languages in a camp is also what makes programmes diverse and fun! Use National activities and informal times to share your own language and learn some new words.

    Bonjour, Hyvää huomenta, dobré ráno,Buenos días, Bom Dia, chào buổi sáng, Gudde Moien, приятен апетит, Buon Appetito, გემრიელად მიირთვით, Guten Appetit, Goodnight. Make sure your participants come back home with basic words from all delegations to teach their friends!

    2 - Learn about other delegations’ countries before your programme

    Sometimes we have limited information about other countries. For example, did you know not all French people live in Paris? However, some delegates or even leaders and staff can be very sensitive about other people’s lack of knowledge about their country.

    Learn about common national stereotypes and do everything you can to avoid them. Ask questions, get curious, talk with people, and always stay open minded. Not only you will learn a lot about different countries and cultures, but it is also a great way to make friends and to build a stronger group within the programme.

    Do some basic research about all nations joining your programme with your delegation before you leave. You can even prepare questions or challenges for your participants to learn more during the programme.

    3 - Avoid unnecessary gender distinctions and gender stereotyping

    Gender can be a rather sensitive topic. There are people that are uncomfortable in identifying with or accepting a binary representation of gender dividing between boy and girl, male and female, man and woman.

    Whenever possible, programme staff and leader groups should avoid this distinction. Avoid asking participants to set up boy-girl pairs for activities such as gala nights or dancing activities (for example during national nights) and discourage planning groups to run activities that include games or energizers where boys and girls have to compete or play in teams against each other, unless this distinction is part of the educational goal of the activity and is addressed in a discussion.

    In some instances, for example in setting up dormitories in camp-based programmes, CISV’s programme guides and CISV International rules mandate a separation between boys and girls. Even in these cases it is up to adults in roles of responsibility in programmes to avoid stereotyping these distinctions. For example, don’t use pink and blue to write the names on dormitory doors, or stereotypical occupations when playing role play activities! (ie girls are teachers or nurses and boys are firefighters or astronauts).

    4 - Step back from your habits and take some risks!

    No, lunch time isn’t necessarily at 12:00. And yes, in some countries you have to throw toilet paper in the trash. Maybe you won’t have the same opinion as your peers when talking about a sensitive topic. That is part of the experience and that is why diversity is such an important aspect of CISV International programmes.

    This is possibly the most important of tip in this list and the one that will make all the others work best! One of the most important roles of leaders is preparing and training their delegates before a programme and supporting them during their time away from home.

    In doing this, both before and during the programme, leaders should encourage their delegates to keep an open mind, seek the diverse experiences, and be ready to take some risks. Feel uncomfortable at times, eat food you have never tried before, listen to people, and change your habits for a few weeks.

    You will be surprised that you will miss those new habits when going back home!

    5 - Observation is your friend: learn from each others’ experiences

    When in a new environment, observe and learn. Have you noticed different ways of greeting someone or serving food? Everybody in CISV camps is a diverse and interesting individual, and there is a lot that participants can learn just by observing and being curious about each other.

    For leaders’ and staff groups this means that there is a lot of resources that they can draw from for insightful discussions just by encouraging participants to to talk about how they do things at home, habits, and way of life with each other. Make sure you create a safe environment for participants to share these topics and discuss. Encourage them to ask questions, be curious, and respectful.

    In addition to asking participants to observe, talk, and get to know each other during their free time and meals, you may also want to plan activities about cultural differences. Remember that sharing different cultures and experiences can be done in many different ways depending on the age group and the setting. Think about a game of charades or an arts-and-craft activity for the youngest participants or a deeper discussion on a specific topic for Step Up or Seminar participants.

    The depth of the discussions will depend on the age of participants, the topics discussed, and the programme. A few tips to help facilitate good discussions include having smaller groups, allowing participants to share anonymously, and sharing your own experiences to encourage others to do the same.

    6 - Diversify your mind and step outside the box!

    It is true that every day in a CISV programme has different activities, different groups, and different things to do. It is also true that there are many things that we always do in the same way in a camp and sometimes also across camps and decades.

    A good way to open up to a diversity of experiences is to just change a little bit of the way we do everyday things in camps. Think about new ways of having your delegation time, of listening, or of participating. Encourage yourself to do different things everyday.

    Stay open to new leaders and staff! They don’t have a CISV background? So what?! They will still have interesting ideas to bring to the table.

    Similarly, staff groups and Chapters can step outside of the box of the “standard” way to plan camps. Think about different ways to organize meals, shower times, lullabies, excursions, or even the entire daily schedule.

    Consider different and diverse topics for activities in order to stimulate your participants, and let their creativity be at the heart of the programme!

    7 - Absorb as much as you can from your new environment

    Have you ever considered that traveling, even within your own country, is a privilege?

    Find the best ways to enjoy that privilege by being grateful for all the little things you are going to experience during your programme. Excursion days and visits are unforgettable and so is the new environment around you.

    Enjoy the fact that you don’t have cellphones or the internet. Take this unique opportunity to cut off from technology and spend as much time as possible with the people around you.

    Focus on little things : the fresh air before flag time, the songs the kitchen staff sings, the smell of the food that’s about to be served, the birds singing, the nature around you, or the lights in the street. Find new ways of enjoying your environment when you participate in a CISV programme, or traveling, and come home with memories and feelings you will never forget.

    8 - Get your stomach ready for tasty diversity

    Yes, you are going to taste new food and treats! Prepare for dozens of new candies to try or national dishes to taste, especially if you are going to Village. Don’t assume that you won’t like it. Try it. Be a role model for your delegates.

    Don’t hesitate to bring typical food and snacks from your own country (Expert tip: why not divide everything into your participants’ suitcases in case one gets lost and to avoid overweight luggage charges). You can also bring back recipes from your programme to share with everyone at home!

    9 - Be critical and don’t hesitate to share your opinion

    Accepting and celebrating diversity doesn’t mean that you should agree with every single thing because you are tolerant. Don’t hesitate to express your thoughts about things and to be open-minded and honest with your leaders’ group and even with participants.

    Some people might not have the same habits or culture as you. They might misunderstand or misinterpret what you say or do. There is nothing wrong with that! It is part of the learning experience.

    Culture shock is definitely real and can become challenging especially in a context where you don’t know the people or the environment. This is particularly true in an Interchange programme, where you are confronted intensely with one particular culture. But don’t worry, you are not alone!

    ...and we will talk about culture shock and issues related to it in a future article!

    Diversity Resources


    The Diversity Campaign team has put together some resources to help you, as a trainer, leader, or participant, improve your group’s experience with the 2018 educational content area - Diversity. These resources are a tool for you to draw ideas from, to inspire you into creating and delivering meaningful content regarding diversity.


    Sune Pihl from CISV Denmark compiled different techniques for debriefing as part of our educational activities. This document can serve as a guide and as an inspiration for you to adapt your activities and debriefings so they are more inclusive, allow for diversity of thought, and create better educational experiences.Take the different techniques and styles in this document and combine them, change them, and modify them so they better suit your target audience and your type of activity!

    Diversity of Cultural Expressions

    Did you know that there is a Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions? Unesco has an entire webpage dedicated to this 2005 document! Not only does it present the text of the Convention and its legal implications, but it also covers a variety of related topics, news of activities, and other information which helps to promote diversity of cultural expressions. This can give you some ideas for camp themes.

    Fighting Discrimination

    Discrimination in a barrier on the way of diversity, respect, and human dignity. The United Nations Human Rights branch has a space dedicated to the fight against discrimination. On this page you’ll find information and resources to discuss discrimination of culture, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, and more.


    Kompaz 2017/2018 is constantly working on the topic Diversity - and different ways of approaching it! So far this year, they have released videos and written content about labels and stereotypes, gender and sexuality, ethnicity, and spirituality. Visit their Facebook page, check them out on ISSUU, or follow them on Instagram @cisvkompaz to see what they are doing and to share your thoughts.

    Internal and External Processors

    Everyone processes their thoughts differently. Some of us prefer to process our thoughts internally, having an internal debate with ourselves, working through our thoughts before expressing them to others. Some of us would rather process our thoughts externally, voicing them as they come and developing them while being spoken. It is important to acknowledge these type of processors and plan our sessions and activities with this in mind. Ronald Cordoba from CISV Costa Rica designed an activity to understand how these processors work, and how they can work and understand together. You can check out the activity here.

    IJB Thinks

    Several years ago (2006), International Junior Branch created a project called IJB Thinks, a project where JBers from all over the world wrote thoughts and ideas regarding several different issues that they thought were interesting and important to discuss. Twenty three publications were created with content and ideas that may inspire you in developing your understanding of diversity. They are all incredibly interesting! You can find them compiled here. Take a specific look Issue 15 and Issue 7 that deal with specific topics regarding diversity! Other interesting issues are Issue 13 and Issue 5 that have other interesting topics regarding communication, stereotypes, critical thought and traditions!

    2014 Archive

    2014 was also the year of diversity, and you can find lots of valuable content in this archive. Junior Branch and the “Divers” team created many activities, explanations, and even a book called The Kaleidoscope! You can find them on the CISV Webpage here and we encourage you to use them to the full extent.

    Final Note

    If there is a type of resource you would love to have, please let us know so that we can improve our resource compilation. Thank you for reading, and we hope these resources will be useful for you! Diversity Campaign Team



    Tips for Trainers

    Hello trainers,

    We have put together seven tips to approach diversity in training! We hope they support and inspire you to boost your training and your trainees’ learning.

    1. Connect diversity with other content areas

    Diversity is a very broad subject and it can easily be connected to the other educational content areas. It is important for your trainees to understand not only how they are connected but also why.

    For example, you can emphasize the relationship between diversity and conflict & resolution, where many of the conflicts that occur in the world are due to how diverse we are, especially with regard to the way we think! Remember that conflicts are necessary because they allow us to appreciate our differences; imagine if everyone thought the same and did the same, there probably would be no conflict, but do we want that? The key is to approach conflict and discuss our differences in a peaceful and constructive way. When facing such situations, think “how can I take advantage of a conflict of ideas and turn into a learning opportunity?”.

    Finding the connections between the content areas isn’t hard, however as trainers it is better to allow your trainees to figure them out by themselves, and for you to facilitate this discovery. Give them stimuli and challenges, such as appealing to memories they may have of former trainings, activities, or life experiences!



    2. How to deal with tough questions from trainees concerning diversity challenges:

    When we talk about diversity, sensitive and difficult topics come up easily such as racism, sexuality, social class, gender fluidity, competing religious beliefs and taboos, politics, etc. Trainees can ask you tough questions, wanting to learn how to deal with specific situations if they come up in a camp, or in an activity. As a trainer, you do not need to have all the answers, but you can help trainees to reflect on the best approach considering our learning and educational environment. Whenever in doubt, it helps to think “is this topic/question related to our approach to peace education?”, if yes, then you can frame your answer in a way to show trainees how to make it relevant to CISV goals and principles.

    You can turn the question back to your trainees asking them to reflect on what is the approach they can take to the situation that will be respectful, inclusive, and just to everyone involved, and turn it into a learning situation.

    If the question is sensitive and should be discussed in a smaller group only with members that are okay discussing this topic, you can suggest having a meeting in smaller group to discuss the issue. This can be during an informal time or after the training session.

    3. Make sure to be inclusive with your groups, and encourage diversity of thought

    A big question we must ask ourselves as trainers is: are our methods the best to make sure there is diversity of thought within our group? This question allows us to make sure that our activities do not become echo chambers, where only one opinion is being said and repeated by everyone. All of our educational activities are created with the purpose of teaching Attitudes, Skills, and Knowledge, but, most importantly, they are created to teach the participants to think for themselves and have a critical opinion on a subject. Is this possible if only one opinion is allowed in a debriefing?

    If we analyse our debriefing methods, we notice that there are many, and that they serve different purposes, and each has its own specific limitations! Let’s look at big group debriefings, the traditional way of debriefing in a CISV activity. Usually at big group debriefings you have only a small group of people participating, and the rest either listening or ignoring the debate. This can be either because they are shy, they believe they have nothing to contribute, or their opinions and ideas are so different from those that are being discussed they have no intention of sharing them. The people who are discussing, are often talking in circles, repeating the same things over and over again but in different words, and usually one specific idea.

    Try different debriefing methods. For example, have two people discuss for a few minutes and then switch partners. Have the participants write their opinion in a piece of paper, as well as what they believe could be the opposite opinion, divide them in groups of four, and have them defend one or the other. Have your debriefing questions written on large pieces of paper and put them around your activity room, and have the participants write and draw their feelings and opinions. Make them stand in front of a small group and monologue and act what they believe they have learned of the activity.

    Make sure to teach your trainees not only different debriefing methods, but also why they are important, how to create them, and, most importantly, how to facilitate them!

    One important tip is that each person’s opinion has to be considered by the trainer. An easy way to show interest and to be grateful for one’s opinion is to say “Thank you” after a trainee has participated in a discussion.


    4. Have a personal approach to the topic:

    Trainees feel more engaged when they can understand and relate to the topic discussed. Choose examples that are part of your trainees’ reality (or at least of some of them). In this way, they will feel more willing and confident to share their thoughts, give their opinions and tell their experiences on the topic. That allows to richer discussions and outcomes!

    If you are also giving a lecture, tell personal stories that allow the trainees to relate to what you are saying. Make it engaging. However, make sure that your personal approach doesn’t impose itself upon the other’s potential experiences!

    5. Be aware of the diversity in your training group

    Try to learn who your trainees are before your training starts - if necessary, ask them about who they are and about some aspects of their life experience a few weeks before the training so you can adapt your training session better. That will help you adapt your topics for discussions and prepare them to connect with the group on a more personal level (see #4 above). During your training, be aware that people come from different places, carry different experiences in life - and sometimes, some traumas and hard feelings on some issues -, have diverse backgrounds and cultural perspectives. It is important to pay attention to how you speak to everyone and how you involve people in activities. Make sure you use inclusive and respectful words, have sensitive approach to people being willing or not to touch another person, and value everyone’s differences to create a positive environment.

    Understand that not everyone speaks perfect English, give them time to understand what you are saying. Have many different examples prepared ahead of time, specially because people from different contexts may understand them in different ways! Always ask if there are questions, and prompt them to explain what they have learned.

    6. Your ways to learn

    Do you know the idea of 7 types of intelligences? Depending on which of those intelligences is most developed will influence the way we learn, how we process internally our experience and the way we recall information. Therefore, make sure your sessions include different ways of teaching: Mix the dynamic of your training, big and smaller group of trainees, passive and more active session, change the room if you can, use images, music or written posters... adapt your ‘rhythm’ to what you are trying to achieve. In brief, make sure that your training diverse!

    Wheel of Intelligences

    *The picture represents the theory of multiple intelligences developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University.

    7. Present trainees useful resources for learning about diversity

    Look for resources that you yourself find useful, like videos, images, talks, books, articles, that may allow your trainees to have a better understanding of Diversity. You can share it with them either beforehand, or after your training! Trainees always appreciate it when the trainers take the time to give them resources to learn from.

    If the opportunity arises, ask your participants to share resources with you and the rest of the group too! Don’t take all the educational responsibility upon your shoulders and delegate a little bit to your trainees. Every training group is very diverse, with people from many different contexts, ask them to also share with you what for them is important regarding diversity!

    Remember to present this diversity blog and the Kompaz blog to your trainees.


    We hope these tips will be helpful in your upcoming trainings! Stay tuned for more tips and resources!

    On behalf of the Diversity Campaign Team



    What Does Diversity Mean to You?

    Diversity – a simple word with a seemingly simple meaning. But when we look closer it seems there is a world behind it.


    Diversity. Diverse. Distinct. Different.

    What comes to your mind when you hear these words?

    We can think about cultural diversity, people from different countries, different in their origins, in the way they look, in what they eat, in how they speak. That’s one part of the discussion, but not all of it.

    We are diverse in the way we think: people have different thoughts, opinions, ideas, beliefs, and values that are shaped, for example, by religion, politics, education, and culture.

    We are diverse in the way we communicate.  Think about how many languages, dialects, or accents you know of, not only in the world but within your own country.  These ways of communicating include sign language, body language, and other forms of nonverbal communication. Examples of these include gesticulation with your hands or even the whole body, pitch and volume of the voice, speed of the speech and so on.

    We are diverse in our dreams, goals, backgrounds, and experiences, as well as in the way we experience gender, sexuality, and identity.

    We are diverse in how we learn, store, and retrieve information – some people are better with words, some with images, others with music.

    We are also different in life opportunities. Consider the disparity between people around the world in terms of access to education, quality food and water, healthcare, proper living conditions, law and employment opportunities.

    And this list can go on and on and on…

    All of these aspects contribute to shaping our own unique and beautiful identities and influence the way we experience life and interact with our surroundings.

    The question is then “why?”, Why think about Diversity when we are working with peace education?

    If we think about the vast meaning of Diversity, maybe the question we should be asking ourselves is “why not?”. How can we not include Diversity in peace education? Diversity embraces so many of our characteristics as individuals; our different origins, ways of communicating, beliefs, preferences, and dreams. How can we be inclusive and empathic human beings without considering each other’s different identities? Being an active global citizen starts with having the courage to be curious and explore and seek to understand our differences.

    Diversity, as one of CISV’s educational principle, serves as our statement that “we appreciate the similarities between people and value their differences”. Within CISV, we explore our own identity as individuals and are encouraged to consider ourselves within our community, local or wider, in a global level. Respect and inclusiveness are at the heart of peace education. After all, to build a more just and peaceful world we need to respect one another and our differences, and act to include everyone in this journey!


    As we start this new CISV year, how are you planning to learn more about Diversity?

    Look around your own community, city, and country. What do you see around you?

    What does Diversity mean to you?

    We encourage you to reflect, explore, learn, and discuss with your friends what Diversity means to you and how you plan to apply Diversity Education within CISV this year!

    Stay with us and we will help you to learn and reflect throughout 2018!

    Coming up next: tips for trainers who will be training leaders, staffs, boards, or Junior Branch in the content area of Diversity 🙂 !


    Adriana Rodrigues

    On behalf of the Diversity Campaign Team



    Meeting the 2018 Diversity Campaign Team

    “The UNESCO in 2005 stated that cultural diversity is of utmost importance for ‘the full realization human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other universally recognized instruments.”

    Do you know why diversity is so important for peace?


    Hello everyone!

    Every year CISV focuses on one of its four content areas for peace education, giving us a chance look closer into all the dimensions each of these contents can offer. In 2017, we covered Human Rights, finding out that Human Rights is really everywhere! This year, we are jumping to Diversity, which opens a world of possibilities to discover! Are you ready?

    Meet the team that will be working together through 2018 to come up with interesting content and materials to help CISVers around the world to engage in Diversity Education! We aim to spread the word on Diversity Education and to provide tools and inspiration for trainers, leaders, staffs, participants, Junior Branch, board members, and anyone else eager to learn with us! If you have any suggestions for the team, please send a message to  



    Gonzalo León (Mexico / Mexico city) 

    IJB Educational Content Specialist
    Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless― Jaime Paolinetti






    Adriana Rodrigues (Brazil / Sao Paulo)

    Diversity Campaign Team Coordinator and Americas Training and Quality Assurance Delivery Team Member

    “Our diversity is our strength. What a dull and pointless life it would be if everyone was the same” ―Angelina Jolie




    Luca Trotter (Italy / Bologna & The Netherlands) 
    EMEA Educational Programmes Regional Delivery Team Member (IPP/IC specialist)

    I see your true colours shining through. True colors are beautiful Like a rainbow, so don’t be afraid to let them show ― Cindy Lauper



    Joanne Mary (France / Paris)

    Educational Programmes Committee member (IJB Team representative)

    “ Diversity: the art of thinking independently together. ”— Malcolm Forbes




    Marte Gjerde, Angela Parra, Maia Gartland Hoff & Nathaly Triana (Norway/ Bergen & Colombia/ Bogotá)

    Kompaz Team

    Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You” -Dr. Seuss



    Melissa Lauwers (Belgium / Newcastle) 

    International Office

    Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of differences ― M.G





    Coming up next:

    What does Diversity mean? Why is Diversity one of CISV’s content area for peace education? Peace & Diversity – what do they have in common?

    Stay tuned!


    The Diversity Campaign team

    2014 was our last Year of Diversity.

    Click here for a full archive of all posts from that year.



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