Peer Mediation Graduation Ceremony
Congratulations… your Peer Mediation training in now complete…You are now members of a special group of young people. One that has been entrusted with the tools to be change makers. You are now the super heroes of your school, the ones armed with special skills. In this age where the DC and Marvel comic book super heroes have been brought to life on our cinema screens you understand even more that with great power comes great responsibility.
Your new skills will aid You as You guide your colleagues and friends to solutions to the day-to-day problems that affect them. You are best positioned to listen as they express their opinions and ideas. You are best positioned to be part of the solution in your schools, in your community and in the wider nation. Many of you who have strong opinions on a variety of issues, now and you can use the tools you have been given to analyse and suggest solutions from a unique and often overlooked perspective.
As was reinforced in your training you know the value of informed decision-making; you know the importance of looking to the future and taking responsible actions; you know that actions bear consequences. Your ideas on every issue counts, your opinions matter; you are best placed to be the force of change. Let me see how I can say this in a different way. How many of you have seen Avengers, Age of Ultron? Let me see a show of hands….
Well like in that movie, you are like Vision, you bring new perspective, not taking either side but the side of the greater good.
We have all witnessed, through social media, occurrences of our citizens engaging in physical and emotional violence to solve a problem or resolve a conflict. As Peer Mediators you have the responsibility to use your knowledge as a pre-emptive mechanism to address interpersonal differences between or among students, thereby reducing the probability of matters escalating into major incidents. With your intervention you will go a very long way to changing someone’s life for the better and it will also help you develop new skills with each intervention. It is therefore a win – win situation.
To the Principals, Teachers and Parents here this morning I recognise and applaud your commitment to your school and to a better Trinidad and Tobago. This is an opportunity for you to participate in a venture which will have a far-reaching impact. In this collaborative effort, your school /institution can become a catalyst for the holistic development of a community. I say community because your students and your schools don’t stand in isolation; they are part of a community; a village; an ecosystem that requires all elements to work together.
Our education system stands at the frontline of the battle to reclaim our communities, as in some instances it is the adults that bring discord within the walls of the school environment, impacting learning and putting students at risk. And I am heartened to see the adults here, as key stakeholders, owning your responsibility in finding the solution and equipping yourselves with the necessary tools to better address issues in a non-violent manner, as well as supporting young people to do the same.
The Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts is committed to supporting you in the implementation of this programme. I await, with great anticipation, the evaluative aspect of the Programme within the coming months. Because you have dedicated yourselves to this form of intervention, I know that a culture of harmonious co-existence would once again become the norm within our communities.
Our capacity to influence the environment of our schools, our homes, our communities and our nation is multiplied if we collaborate our efforts. Let us continue, “to ignite our youth to create a country where peace, mutual respect and tolerance is embedded nationally”.
I thank you for the courtesy of your attention.