Bringing Play for Peace to University Students: Youth Leadership Training in Pune, India

When it comes to partnering, universities are a natural fit for Play for Peace. Not only are education and learning important focuses for us both, but also, educational institutions are the perfect setting to introduce our experiential learning methodology to students who are eager to apply Play for Peace to their coursework and their lives. 

For this reason, on October 12-13, we conducted a two-day youth leadership training at SNDT Women’s University in Pune, India, with a group of 14 participants in the Department of Communication Media for Children, along with the head of the department, Shilpa Hattiangadi. Led by Play for Peace certified trainer and regional coordinator Archana Magar, the purpose of the training was to create a positive environment for students to experience and apply Play for Peace methodology, which in turn can help them while working with each other and with children during their field and project work. The group learned different Play for Peace activities and also watched a Play for Peace documentary film that reinforced the play experience and gave a different perspective on experiential education. 

After the session, the youth discussed their experiences. Many participants commented on the sense of ease that was created among them, as well as the feeling of inclusion and safety they all enjoyed.

One participant commented, “I have never played games where there is no competition, but today, after playing, I believe we can create the same inclusive spaces for children today.”

Another group member said, “Even though we have been studying together, we never knew much about each other. During a simple Play for Peace activity we can understand so much about others in a short span of time.”

After the training program the students prepared their action plan for applying Play for Peace and conducting practice peace sessions. They were so inspired by what they learned that they conducted two different sessions soon after the October training: a session with children through a local NGO in Pune and another at a children’s festival.

The training and practice peace sessions that followed were amazing experiences for all: the children were smiling, laughing, and playing with each other, and it was wonderful for the youth leaders to see the joy and connection the children had with one another. We look forward to reporting about future practice peace sessions and are excited about working with more universities to bring experiential learning to their students!