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UK’s first global happiness conference promotes diversity

In a UK first initiative, The Bewdley School, Worcestershire, linked up with schools from around the globe to host the UK’s first Global Happiness Conference. The conference welcomed students from eight different countries to the West Midlands to celebrate and educate about new cultures. The Global Happiness Conference ran simultaneously with the Connecting Classrooms programme, an educational initiative supported by the British Council, bringing staff from schools across the globe to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to make a positive contribution to their world.

Between 3-9 November The Bewdley School hosted students and teachers from Jordan, Egypt, South Korea, Jordan, India, Morocco, Uganda, Palestine and across the UK for a week of activities with the aim of breaking down borders, spreading the message of happiness and encouraging students to experience cultures from other parts of the world through music, art, sport and dance.

The week was organised by Mrs Newbold, director of expressive arts and conference organisers with the event consultation services of local creative communications group DRPG who supported the programme by offering their event and design expertise as well as providing video production services to record the various activations throughout the week and to interview the students.

Students and staff enjoyed a wide variety of fun and educational activities including yoga, UN style training, dance and music classes and much more. The conference terminated in a Concert Gala hosted at the DRPG212 film studios in Hartlebury where all the participants gathered to showcase traditional, culture led acts such as poetry, dancing and music, mixing all the cultures together and celebrating diversity in what was an entertaining evening for both the participants and the audience.

Newbold said: “This has been a tremendous opportunity for our young people to develop valuable skills, to make new friends and to take part in a unique event that is dedicated to the theme of health and well-being of young people across the globe. The School would like to thank The British Council for their support of the Connecting Classrooms conference and the wider local community who have been so supportive and generous of the first International, student-led Global Happiness Conference ever to be held in the UK.”

Dale Parmenter, CEO of local creative communications group DRPG and former student at The Bewdley School commented: “It is great to be involved in such a worthwhile initiative and to see my old school breaking down barriers through this educational programme. As a global company, we understand the importance of developing international citizenship skills in an increasingly global and collaborative business environment. It is great to see this being encouraged from an early age through music, sport and art. We are thrilled to be able to lend our support and expertise to a project that helps support not only our community, but communities around the world.”