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Creating 2025 - New Zealand's Cultural Future

Thursday 22 June 2000
Media Release

Creating 2025 - New Zealand's Cultural Future

A resource kit to help secondary school students think about New Zealand's cultural identity and the future is to be launched at Parliament tomorrow (23 June, 4pm) by the Associate Minister of Education, the Hon Parekura Horomia.

The Cultural Futures pack has been developed by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and the NZ Futures Trust for use with the Social Studies curriculum in secondary schools and is to be distributed to schools free of charge.

The Chairperson of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, Margaret Austin, said UNESCO works to advance peace through inter-cultural dialogue and the fostering of cultural diversity. The support of cultural diversity and the richness of creativity that ensues from such diversity has become a central focus of UNESCO projects in recent years.

"The words of UNESCO's Constitution - 'It is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.' - are as relevant today at the beginning of the 21st century as they were 50 years ago. What has become clear is that in a world where cultural co-existence is the norm, peace is very much dependent on the ability of individuals to be tolerant of difference and to respect other cultures," Mrs Austin said.

It has long been recognised that schools have an important role in fostering attitudes, values and skills which promote peace. But research also shows that if schools are to be effective in this role, teachers need practical curriculum resources, teaching ideas and student activities.

The Cultural Futures pack provides useful material to enable teachers to explore issues of cultural diversity and ways of thinking about the future in line with the objectives of the social studies curriculum.

Mrs Austin, who is a former Labour Government Minister and secondary school teacher, said the New Zealand National Commission hopes the pack will help young people to appreciate cultural diversity, to debate options for their futures, and to develop the skills they will need to create a positive world for themselves and generations to follow.

The Pack is divided into two main parts: the first focusing on cultural diversity and cultural interchange relates to Strand 2, Culture and Heritage in the Curriculum. The second part offers a series of tools for thinking about the future and is designed to assist teachers with the futures perspectives required by the curriculum. It is directed at Year 9 and 10 students (ages 12 to 15) and more specifically aims to help them:

* Become more aware of different ways of thinking about the future;

* Better appreciate that change has happened in the past, and that if you can change the present you can create the future;

* Better understand their spheres of influence in the change process;

* Become more aware of their own cultural identities, cultural heritage and options for future cultural expression;

* Become more aware of the multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nature of New Zealand and the world and to value cultural diversity as a source for creativity;

* Become more aware of how culture and values shape thinking, imagining and behaviour;

* Become more aware of how global influences present challenges and opportunities for cultural interaction, diversity and creativity in the future.

Invitation to Media

Media are warmly invited to attend this launch in the Beehive Foyer, 4-6pm, Friday 23 June 2000.

For more information please contact: Elizabeth Rose, Secretary, NZ National Commission for UNESCO. Ph: 04 499 1004

ENDS

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