STUDYING THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF OUR PRESENT TIME TO GET NEW KNOWLEDGE AND A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF THE ECONOMICAL, POLITICAL AND HUMAN CONDITIONS OF TODAY’S WORLD, AS A BASIS FOR PRACTICAL INTELLECTUALISM DIRECTED TOWARDS THE FUTURE.
The first period is organized in three parts, each being of one month’s duration. The title points out the direction for the studies of that month:
- 1st Month: The forces that run the world
- 2nd Month: Big issues of our time
- 3rd Month: Riches and potentials of the world
The new team meets, both students and teachers, in a fresh and lively mood, and with a big appetite for making decisions concerning; how to organize and run the team, how to run the school, and how to plan and organize the teaching and learning within the framework of the program. You get down to business on all three counts and The Present Time is the agenda.
The forces that run the world
In the first month, the team tries to figure out who is actually running the world. Is it the true forces that are shown and explained in the news media? Do the truths we are told about motive and aspiration hold water?, or what is the real agenda? Are there other powers behind the scene? Are Arab uprisings really for and by the people? What say do the people have in the democratic world? What does IMF and the World Bank do? Who decides about commodity prices and economic bubbles? Who runs third world countries? What has happened to liberation movements and popular organizations? Who owns everything?
The team puts up the questions and statements it finds important and relevant to study. Books and other sources of information are used to solve DmM tasks, and you discuss and debate among yourselves. You go on investigations. You arrange debates with experts and other invited guests. You dig into the history to understand the character and workings of the forces running the world, and you formulate your conclusions along the way by writing essays, reports, speeches, poems, and songs.
Big issues of our time
In the second month, you dig into the big defining issues of today. The team puts up questions, statements and hypotheses relevant to work with. It may be issues like: How can we stop war? Global Warming and Climate Change, Can the Earth feed one billion people or 10 billion? How to stop the unequal North-South development? Can globalization be redirected? How to empower The Poor? What are the demographic issues concerning urbanization?
A study group might choose a big issue and work with it in depth during the whole month or work with several related issues. A team might also decide to work with only one common issue together. In any case, you get down to it, studying, investigating and writing; interviewing experts, politicians, and people who know about the issues first hand and are affected by them in their life and work; presenting, debating and concluding, all in order to get to the truth of the matters at hand, while finding the ways and means to solve them.
Riches and potentials of the world
To understand the present time, one must also get to grips with the human, natural, and material resources and potentials that humankind has at its disposal. Few people have an overview. Sometimes you hear about oil and minerals as the true incentives of war, or you hear voices disagreeing when third world countries cut down the forests. You hear about a lack of resources in developing nations, you hear about the effectiveness of industrialized agribusiness, and you hear about droughts and famine in poor parts of the world.
Many people in the western world think they are well informed and that they know about the world and the problems facing humanity. What is the truth? Do we hear about how rich the poor countries are, and what about the wealth of the world at large? How does it look in terms of land, water, minerals, agricultural, industrial potential, people, ingenuity, and experience?
Looking at the different countries of Africa, the Indian sub-continent, Latin America, Southeast Asia, Europe and Russia, you find out where arable land is not in use. You learn about rivers and rainy seasons, about countries that were self-sufficient with food before, but now have to import corn, rice and wheat. You study food production – what is and what could be produced. You follow where the production goes and make your conclusions. You find marginal lands where crops and new forests could be planted.
You find out where the oil reserves are, as well as copper, iron, nickel, diamonds and other minerals. You investigate who has the rights to mine them and where they end up.
You study the reality and potential of people and nations: Life expectancy, food intake, education level, health, and economy – and measure it against the natural and material wealth of the countries in question. You imagine how it could be.
Your team produces a grand exhibition, film or other product, as an encouraging and telling eye-opener to show to others, combining the knowledge and understanding you have gained during the three months of the first period.
In the first period you organize yourselves in Trios for your training and your Development Instructor work in the Third World. At the ‘Humana People to People’ projects and National Headquarters (NHQS) Development Instructors receive their positions as Trios. Your Trio will choose from the positions presented, with the work and responsibilities described, and you will be able to see the location of positions available on a world map.