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Russian Federation
Name: Arzumanyan Sofia
Organization: Education Support Foundation NOOSFERA


www.fondnoosfera.com
Director (from the very start of the foundation)
Author of a number of books on teaching tolerance (Religious culture of the world, World kids’ games, Simulation game “UNESCO” etc)
Author of a book  “Fairy-tails for grown ups” on the basis of Hindu Mahabharata.

Previous employer
State Customs Academy
559-94-45

Professor at the Linguistic Department
Author of the first text-book for Russian Customs “English for Customs”

Education / Professional background
State Linguistic University
An expert in methods of teaching and organizing a teaching process.

“NOOSFERA” was established as Education Support Foundation in 2003. Its activity focuses on working out various educational projects for children and youth. The main project is tolerance education.
During 10 years the employees of the foundation created and held educational projects in such areas as art, applied science, business, religions, foreign languages, ecology, children’s charity, ethnography, astronomy etc.

“NOOSFERA” cooperates with specialists from the Moscow State University named after M.Lomonosov, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow State Institute of Art named after V.Surikov and some other Universities.
NOOSFERA cooperates with Moscow Department of education, Moscow Department of culture, with Russian Geographic society headed by V. Putin and others. We have joint projects with educational institutions in Bulgaria, Great Britain, Austria, Serbia and Cameroon.

Philosophy
The aim of the Foundation is to cultivate the spirit of tolerance in younger generations and to develop planetary thinking on a global level.
We define tolerance as sharing universal values in all spheres of life – traditions, art and science. So in our vision tolerance education should be conducted according to several principles:
The universal moral, cultural and scientific values – are the basis for the teaching process.
Secular approach is a must.
Systematic teaching of tolerance matters should be organized for all ages.

Recent projects

NOOSFERA is holding a number of projects in Russia and abroad but there are at least two which directly relate to diversity and tolerance issue:

“Tolerance Bag” and “Religious culture exposition”

The bag contains materials for making exposition, which demonstrates culture of five world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism. The bag houses Holy Canons of five world religions and corresponding modeling kits. Schoolchildren are recommended to paint Easter eggs, decorate a Judaic kipa, and make a mosaic Islamic ornament, write a Chinese character and others. When all handicrafts are made, they are put on display. During classes children get basic knowledge about time and place where world religions were born, the religious forefathers, holy canons, ethics and get acquainted with cult architecture, sculpture and painting.

“Tolerance Team” Festival

The aim of this festival is to disclose the true meaning of “tolerance” to the children in an interactive form during a festive ethnic holiday.
Understanding tolerance as a reception of universal laws, principles and tendencies, the organizers divide the festival site into three big stations such as: “Science of the World”, “Traditions of the World” and “Art of the World”. Children develop tolerance by learning universal laws of morale, aesthetics and science.
It is rather symbolic that “Tolerance Team” Festival is held during the Day of Russia in Moscow. Usually 15 – 20 000 people come to the festival.

- Suggestion
We can initiate educational projects on tolerance globally in several formats; 1) Tolerance bag in several countries as a pilot project (Cameroon and Serbia for a start) 2) summer school for teachers who will get from us the material, instructions and methods and start teaching locally 2) festival “Tolerance Team” travelling from Moscow to other cities in the world.