The Diamond Jubilee High School, Mumbai

The Second DJHS ABL Mumbai International Conference 2018 - Writing for Peace

12 October 2018

My association with Andover Bread Loaf (ABL) began in 1997 when my school, Diamond Jubilee High School, Mumbai (DJHSM) sent me to Phillips Academy Andover, MA, USA to attend the 2-week teacher workshop under the Interna-tional Academic Partnership (IAP).

The IAP connects Aga Khan Schools across the globe with outreach programs at Phillips Academy. ABL was one of them. Thus, began a personal relationship that has endured for 21 years. 

The first conference, “Writing for a Better World” was held in 2015. Hosted by DJHSM, we had 7 facilitators from the US, Kenya and Pakistan, who came to Mumbai and spent a week in our schools, team teaching with our teachers, con-ducting student and teacher workshops and learning and growing together. The result, ABL became an acronym that every student and teacher in DJHSM under-stands perfectly.

When we announced the ‘Writing for Peace' International Conference in Mum-bai, Teachers and students across the Aga Khan Education Service, India (AKE-SI) network were excited about what was to come.  

The facilitators arrived in Mumbai from the USA on the 4th of August 2018 and the planning workshop started the next morning. Unfortunately, our facilitators from Pakistan could not make it to the workshop due to visa delays.  This year the ABL team taught 26 different classes, with 21 different teachers from Grades 3 to 10.  Most classes had double periods and all the classes had more than one team teaching lesson.  

In two days, we covered various topics like Music and Math, Science, History and English, Writing across the Curriculum, Dance, Theatre and Art across sub-jects. Both days ended with an intense Debrief Meeting over lunch where each facilitator and partner teacher shared their experiences. 

For the first time ever, the Family Literacy Night was hosted at DJHSM. Over 120 parents and students (Grades 3 to 5) attended the Literacy Night. All the participants wrote, read, and shared their memories and thoughts about Peace. "I didn't know I could write!" Said one delighted participant after sharing her work during the evening. Many teachers from Diamond Jubilee High School attended the workshop.  

77 Teachers, from across 17 schools attended the Teacher Workshop conducted in the Multi-Purpose Hall at DJHSM. The attending teachers were overwhelmed with the workshop. One teachers said “Thank you Miss Lee, for letting us be a part of this Peace Conference.”, while another said ‘" Why didn't you include all the Science and Computer teachers? This isn't fair!"

On Saturday, 11th August, the last day of the conference, 94 students from across 9 schools in Mumbai attended the Student Workshop. This was an action-packed day for the students and the facilitators. This facilitator-lead workshop involved many writing prompts for the whole group before lunch and the students were split into groups for the small group workshops. Every child submitted a piece of writing for the anthology. At the end of the day a student asked "When is the next ABL conference?"  This brought tears in the eyes of the ABL team and facili-tators, who had worked crazy schedules to make the Diamond Jubilee High School, Mumbai and Andover Bread Loaf “Writing for Peace’’ International conference a reality. 
Finally, a two-line story from a student that sums up our Writing for Peace Con-ference.

'Ammi' took me to the mosque on Friday, my father took me to church on Thurs-day. 
The prayer I heard was the same.

This is the power of writing. 

Ms Lee Krishna - Conference Coordinator.