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English Montreal School Board combats disinformation and racism on UN Day of Peace.

Fifteen students at Rosemount High School mark International Day of Peace with an anti-racism workshop.
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Fifteen students at Rosemount High School mark International Day of Peace with an anti-racism workshop.

Olivia O'Malley / Global News

On the United Nations International Day of Peace, 15 students at Rosemount High School are participating in a first-of-its-kind workshop. They are helping develop an international teaching session to combat disinformation and racism that exists in their everyday lives.

“Youth today are consuming about six times the amount of media that their grandparents did at a rate that is just unproportional to even put a number to,” said Ryan McHugh, workshop facilitator.

The session is hosted by the International Forum on Peace, Security and Prosperity, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to educating youth by promoting world peace.

“We are aligned with the sustainable development goals for the United Nations, which is all about how do we bring in the youth, how do we combat racism, how do we make a peaceful society?” said John Hannan, International Forum on Peace, Security and Prosperity director of international partnerships.

The hands-on session encourages students to collaborate in small break-out groups before coming together to discuss as a class.

“That’s what really this program is about. It’s not about me or anybody else standing there and lecturing them. It’s about them bringing ideas together to teach their own peers,” said McHugh.

Secondary 5 student Leyan Tran shared her experience with racism for her and her classmates to grow.

“I want to know about other perspectives, other people, how they experience, and also put my experience, what they could learn from me,” she said.

The goal is for the students in the room to now take what they’ve learned and teach their own friends.

“We have to tell them, you know, when something’s not right, you should put your opinion out on there and you should tell them, like, how you feel about it, how … it makes you uncomfortable,” said Megan Ruscitto, Secondary 5 student.

The forum’s founders hope to take the findings from this group of pioneers and bring the workshop to a larger audience.

“It is our hope and expectation that we will learn and take what we find here, and we will replicate that across the world,” said Hannan.

They plan to turn this into an annual event in conjunction with the United Nations Peace Day to teach peace and spread the word to generations to come.

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