Every four years, IAAR helps sponsor the PRH-International conference, so that at least two educators from each country are able to attend. This year, due to the corona crisis it turned out differently, with some major consequences.
The PRH-International congress is always an event that every educator looks forward to, in order to:
- exchange experiences,
- get acquainted with the individuality of the different cultures,
- take on new challenges for the PRH mission in the world,
- find a balance between the international strategy and the local developments,
- do some research,
- follow refresher courses for the educators,
- reach agreement on new guidelines that are achievable for everyone,
- and gain some knowledge about new scientific developments that are important for the PRH-education.
Under normal circumstances the four-yearly PRH-International congress would have taken place in Cordoba, Argentina from 5th to 21st of May.
IAAR invested considerably to support this congress financially, in order that at least two educators from every country could attend: paying for airline tickets, local contracts, logistics, etc…
As a result of the corona crisis, this year’s congress could not take place. But in the matter of a few weeks, everything was put into action to still host an alternative conference. The program was reduced to what was digitally possible in the course of four consecutive daily meetings, each spanning three hours. And all educators were invited to participate in these digital meetings.
This however is not that evident, because in the 31 participating countries spread over the five continents, the time zones differ as much as 12 hours: when it is 14h in Europe, it is still very early in Argentina, and in Australia on the other hand, night is falling. Participating therefore means that inevitably for some educators, this results in a night shift.
On top of that there is a huge difference in digital infrastructure. European countries and countries from Asia, North and South America, have the logistics to be present on an internet platform. But for some countries, mostly from Africa, everything depends on the availability of electricity and the internet at the given moment. And that can vary considerably from day to day and even during the day itself, which makes the participation of these educators uncertain until the last moment.
In the end 141 educators were able to log in and it turned out to be, in spite of the restricted possibilities for exchange, an impressive event. Even more educators were able to participate than had been anticipated initially, given that they were in possession of the necessary logistics.
Each country in turn presented itself with its strengths, its weaknesses and its challenges. The mutual connection was powerful. So was the drive. And there was no distinction between rich and poor either.
As everyone is staying at home at present without physical contacts, some extra initiatives were taken for after the congress. Some groups will continue to do research together, others will develop new programs. Extra courses were also organised for the educators (in French, English and in Spanish) based on mutual interests. Consequently, IAAR will sponsor some educators in order that they may receive the additional training they need at present.
Mutual support and solidarity were, and remain indispensable, even after the pandemic.