This summer the Scholars engaged in a cultural exchange program with the Peace Exchange. Six students from Chicago, known as Peace Builders, traveled to South Africa and met with the Scholars at Imagine Scholar’s education center in the rural region of Nkomazi. Imagine Scholar hosted the Peace Builders through home stays and connected with their guests on a meaningful level, drawing out the parallels and differences of their lives in different parts of the world.
About the Exchange
The powerful exchange between the Scholars and Peace Builders centered around personal stories, talks on promoting non-violence, cultural performances, and shared experiences. Conversations enabled these youths to understand the impact and societal consequences of inner-city violence in Chicago, and how violence that occurs in South Africa affects a younger generation. While the answers are not always clear, the exchange provided a platform for students from different cultural backgrounds to see the world through a new lens and feel compassion as they attempted to put themselves in one another’s shoes.
What They Learned
Violence is not limited to geographic location, and our scholars learned that their own assumptions about certain parts of the
world, as did the Peace Builders, needs to be tried and tested. Only when an exchange happens on a personal level and violence is humanized can steps toward peace and mutual understanding be achieved.
Justice (Grade 11) had the opportunity to accompany the Peace Exchange to Johannesburg and participated in the last few days of the program with the Peace Builders:
“It was a good thing to meet students from the other side of the world that are similar to us. They encourage us because it’s inspiring to see others doing the same things we do and sharing the same value of community service. The future is in the hands of youth.” -Justice