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BCTF International Solidarity Blog

Opportunities for members 2018-19

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Making solidarity links with teachers and their unions internationally is an important element of the BCTF International Solidarity Program. During 2018–19 several opportunities will allow some members to take part personally. 

Head to our Get Involved page to learn about these opportunities, get inspired by the stories of past participants and consider if this would be the year you'd get involved.

The 13th Tri-national Conference will be taking place this November in Mexico;

Project Overseas, in collaboration with Canadian Teachers' Federation will pilot in July 2019; 

Pedagogia Conference in Cuba will be happening next February;

International Solidarity Committee Conference, hosted by CoDevelopment Canada will take place in Vancouver, in October 2018. 

Non-sexist and inclusive pedagogy: A weekend of solidarity

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Linked here is an article on Non-sexist and inclusive pedagogy by Steven Lloyd, President, Sea to Sky Teachers' Association. In it, Steve talks about deconstructing sexism and about oppression done in the name of "progress." He brings attention to the story of Berta Caceres, a member of the Lenca indigenous people of Honduras, who was assassinated for trying to protect their river from dam construction. A clear parallel exists with the story of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

The article was published in the Social Justice Newsletter for Summer/Fall 2016. For those that are interested in reading further on the topic of social justice, the entire newsletter could be found here.

12th Tri-National Conference for Public Education Defense

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Linked here is an article on Tri-National Conference for Public Education Defense by Nicole Jarvis, Vice-President, Early Career Teachers' Association, and teachers teaching on call in Surrey. In it, Nicole talks about her experience at the Tri-National Conference and learning about the common issues effecting public education in Canada, the US, and Mexico. A big common issue facing public education are constant cuts, creeping privatization, and socio-economic segregation. She stresses the need to educate the public on these issues, to hold the government responsible, and strive for an educated, equitable society.

The article was published in the Social Justice Newsletter for Summer/Fall 2016. For those that are interested in reading further on the topic of social justice, the entire newsletter could be found here.

International solidarity opportunity for members

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The Tri-national Coalition in Defense of Public Education is holding its 12th conference in Vancouver in mid-May. The BCTF has been involved since the coalition was created in 1994.

This conference is an opportunity for interested members to learn about issues that are challenging public education on an international level (the neo-liberal agenda, privatization, “austerity”, etc.), and get involved in grassroots solidarity activities to counteract those challenges. There will be participants from BC, the rest of Canada, the US, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

For more information about the Tri-national Coalition, and to apply if you’d like to be considered as a delegate to the conference, please go to http://www.bctf.ca/IntlSolidarity.aspx?id=39549 and follow the links to program highlights and the application form. Please apply by April 11, 2016.

The BCTF International Solidarity Program especially encourages early-career teachers (first five years) to apply.

Teachers' solidarity makes a difference in post-quake Nepal

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Teachers’ solidarity makes a difference in post-quake Nepal

Miriam Palacios of Oxfam Canada came to speak to the BCTF Executive Committee October 22, 2015, offering an update on the amazing humanitarian work they are doing in Nepal following the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck last April 25. Oxfam has assisted more than 445,000 people, with emergency food and shelter, water and sanitation, rice and seeds, and much more.

Palacios also presented the BCTF with a thank-you plaque in recognition of the Federation's significant support for the relief work. The plaque has a beautiful photo of a Nepalese mother and her baby daughter, who was born only one hour after the earthquake hit.

 Teachers' solidarity makes a difference in post-quake Nepal

As war ends, Colombian teachers build peace schools

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As war ends, Colombian teachers build peace schools

By Nancy Knickerbocker, BCTF

October 5, 2015


As teachers around the globe celebrate World Teachers’ Day, BCTF President Jim Iker and a pan-Canadian delegation are showing solidarity in the world’s most dangerous place for teachers: Colombia.

Between 1985 and today, 1,100 teachers have been killed, according to FECODE, the union representing 300,000 Colombian teachers from pre-school to post-secondary.

The visit comes at a crucial moment in the history of Colombia’s 50-year civil war, with a peace accord on transitional justice signed by President Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of the FARC, Timoleon Jimenez.

As war ends, Colombian teachers build peace schools

BCTF President Jim Iker gives a radio interview on Canadian solidarity for the Colombian teachers’
peace schools project.


Iker is travelling with BC Federation of Labour President Irene Lanzinger and representatives of CoDevelopment Canada, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, and the Centrale des Syndicats du Quebec. All three organizations are jointly funding a union project promoting schools as “territories of peace.”

Called the Pedagogical Project for the Post-Conflict Period, the project has involved teachers in study circles around the country gathering to reflect upon how public education can support the process to ensure a durable peace. Their biggest challenges in building peaceful schools are in conflict zones where students’ parents have been combatants on opposing sides.

However, these challenges are being confronted with tremendous energy and commitment by Colombian teachers, who emphasize their “pedagogy of hope and love,” which they say is profoundly needed by traumatized children who have known nothing but wartime throughout their young lives.

Iker and delegation members met with students and teachers from an elementary school in a highly conflict zone in the southern province of Pasto.

The teachers have given their school the slogan of “a paradise in the middle of the conflict.” Their courage, despite the assassination of two members of the school staff and the abduction of another teacher, was inspirational and humbling for the Canadian visitors.




BCTF workshop: From Ayotzinapa to Vancouver--Mexico in crisis

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From Ayotzinapa to Vancouver—Mexico in crisis

A BCTF Workshop, in person and online

4:00 pm, Monday, April 13, 2015

In person: BCTF building, 550 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver, BC

Online: on Livestream, at https://livestream.com/BCTF/Apr132015.

International coverage of the disappearance of 43 Mexican student teachers from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa in Iguala, Guerrero, in September, 2014, has brought attention to the massive killings and repression that have been taking place in Mexico. 

Two speakers will be in Vancouver as part of a cross-Canada tour to tell the stories we need to hear about what is happening in Mexico. They are Jorge Luis Clemente Balbuena, a student at the teachers’ college, and Hilda Legideño Vargas, mother of Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño, one of the disappeared students.

Translation will be provided.

This workshop is a part of the Campaign to make Mexico Safe (http://www.makemexicosafe.ca/), a cross-Canada project calling for action by Canadians:  

  1. to press Canadian parliamentarians and policy makers to acknowledge the human rights crisis in Mexico;

  2.  to hold the Mexican government to international human rights norms;

  3.  to review Canada’s program of co-operation with Mexico;

  4.  to eliminate barriers for people seeking protection in Canada.

For background, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Iguala_mass_kidnapping and related blogroll items on the BCTF’s International Solidarity web page, http://www.bctf.ca/InternationalSolidarity.aspx ; follow the “Ayotzinapa to Ottawa Caravan” at http://makemexicosafe.ca/ayotzinapa2ottawa/ .  

BCTF contact: Anne Field, 604-871-2251 / 1-800-663-9163; afield@bctf.ca .