VISITING COURSE (VC)
The reality of modern society rarely leaves the space for us to consider and reflect upon any deeper or broader vision for our lives, the purpose which we will serve, the values which will guide us and the standards against which we can measure our progress. Recognising this obvious – but far from unique – need in newly independent states of Eastern Europe in the early 90s, Foundations for Freedom (F4F) has over 17 years developed and refined the Visiting Course process. It offers young people the time and space to explore these themes, and with an alumni in Eastern Europe of over 1000, the Visiting Courses provide an ever-expanding network of change-makers grounded in a commitment to moral integrity.
- To explore the relationship between personal change and societal change – the link between the intimate and the global.
- To encourage personal and collective initiatives that are grounded in an application of personal values and standards.
- To develop an understanding of the nature of change, and the conditions that create change.
- To explore the moral foundations for democracy.
- To provide concrete tools for effectiveness in teambuilding and communication.
- To develop and share insights and an understanding of freedom that is empowering for action in the world.
- To lay the basis for sustainable teams of participants equipped for joint initiative.
- To share understanding and insights, and build a network of people committed to living by values for sustainable and just democracy.
The VC works primarily through discussion, reflection, the exchange of views and experience, interactive exercises and case studies.
Specifically, the course includes:
- interactive tools and models that deepen insights into the different themes (i.e. basics of being human; identity;
- nature of change; personal values and moral standards; paradox of freedom; integrity/personal & social responsibility)
- exercises in teamwork, cooperation, communication and listening skills;
- discussions in large and small groups;
- sharing of life-stories;
- daily times of quiet reflection.
Key principles of the facilitation:
- The approach to learning is non-directive.
- The facilitators leading the course create a safe environment in which participants can express themselves without fear of condemnation.
- Participants come to conclusions which are genuinely their own.
- Participants are given the space to share personal experiences as much as possible, rather than simply theoretical perspectives.
Duration and numbers:
It lasts 7-8 days, for a maximum of 20 people. Generally participants are primarily from the same geographic area and a successful course leaves behind an established community of people, equipped with the skills and the commitment to moral integrity that can bring lasting changes to their wider community. Alternatively, participants come together specifically to develop their capacity as a team, already working together on a common theme, although sometimes more geographically spread out.
Visiting Courses are led by a team of 3-5 facilitators and trainers. Since its inception in 1993, F4F has offered Visiting Courses in 16 different countries, and the current faculty draws on its experience working at a community level not only in Eastern Europe, but also in Western Europe, the sub-continent, Asia and Africa. The input into the Visiting Courses also builds on the expertise drawn from over 60 years of trust-building and reconciliation work through Initiatives of Change (www.iofc.org), F4F’s main partner organisation. Visiting Courses regularly invite international guest faculty, bringing a deeper multicultural dimension to the process and a wider perspective to the different themes.
The courses are usually conducted in English or Russian. Local languages (Ukrainian, Latvian, Romanian) courses are also possible depending on situation.
If you are interested in participating in or arranging a Visiting Course, or if you have any questions, please contact us at: