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Brazil and Korea: New Partners for the Future



“Olá, amigos!” “Annyeonghaseyo!” Cheerful greetings rang out as the Live Class between Brazilian and South Korean high school students began on June 13th. The genuine excitement was palpable as the students who had been building virtual friendships over the last couple of months finally came face to face, eager to share their research and presentations with one another. Being first-term participants in the IVECA exchange, the Brazilian teachers and students were brimming with bright smiles and fresh ideas to share with their partners.


Starting in May, the students had been communicating through IVECA’s virtual classroom platform, exchanging interests, cultural insights, curiosities, and their anticipation for the activities to come. Engaging in the exchange, students were enhancing intercultural understanding and building what can become life-long friendships.  Through role-playing and critical thinking, students explored multi-stakeholder partnerships for change. By exploring the different responsibilities of society members such as students, educators, business owners, non-profit organizers, government leaders and members of the United Nations, students bridged gaps not only between countries but also various sectors of society.


Korean students kickstarted the exchange of partnership propositions with each group describing their goals as multi-stakeholders. Emphasizing the importance of multilateral action, one group proposed the United Nations take greater strides to listen to and interact with students around the world. Students shared that the UN’s local presence in countries such as Korea could be enhanced by implementing programs that enable student insights to be shared directly with their Ambassadors. Additionally, Korean students also highlighted the need for concerted efforts started within their local communities in order to create greater changes, particularly in relation to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #1: No Poverty. As one group shared through their role-play, “We must engage students through education to foster their interest in poverty and its impact. By doing so, we can lay the foundation for addressing poverty issues in the future.” 


Brazilian students also focused on the vital need for cooperation between multi-stakeholders throughout their country in order to achieve the UN SDGs. Narrowing in on the urgency of climate change and environmental pollution and degradation, the students shared critical insights with their partners. Acting as members of the infrastructure, farming and industrial industries throughout the nation, students pointed out the humanitarian consequences of climate change around the country, specifically following the recent, tragic flood in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Reflecting on the dramatic impact of the flood, they emphasized that true, preventative changes begin with improved, greener education. The students wisely advised that while longer-lasting improvements are being implemented, countries should take immediate actions such as improving accessibility to virtual education, local education material donations to schools, and sharing access to educational institutions. Touching on the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships and the ultimate achievement of SDG #17, Partnerships for the Goals, one Brazilian student brilliantly stated, “With coordinated efforts and well-planned strategies, we can build a more resilient and secure future for all.” 


Following an engaging discussion session, students shared inspiring and exciting cultural performances. Brazilian students shared a powerful battle cry, performed live by a group of students in one of Brazil’s indigenous languages, Tupi-Guarani. The chant was introduced by one of their teachers. “This chant is a symbol of strength, struggle, team spirit and bravery,” he explained. Echoing their partners’ strength and resilience, Korean students performed a striking Tae Kwon Do routine. Their efforts gave their partners an impressive glimpse into an integral part of their national identity. Cultural performances help immerse students in their partners' daily lives, traditions and histories, and remind them of the significance of preserving and sharing cultures with one another.


Wrapping up the joyous Live Class, students shared their bittersweet farewells with one another, celebrating their growing global friendships and newfound knowledge. “This experience has been extremely rewarding,“ Brazilian students noted, “The collaboration and interactions between the students from Brazil and South Korea have fostered a deeper understanding and appreciation of our diverse cultures. It has been a privilege to engage with you all and to witness the beautiful exchange of knowledge and perspectives.” The sentiment also was expressed by their Korean counterparts who summed up their shared experience, “Although it was a very short time, what we have shared with you will be unforgettable.”Their exchange was only a semester long; however, the students from Brazil and Korea are sure to remember and reflect on their exchange for many years to come, carrying with them the wisdom and awareness they gained from their partners, with the hope they may meet again one day.


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