Call for Participation: Online Training on Pluralism and Resilient Societies

Date: 20 July 2020
Other languages: Русский язык |
The University of Central Asia is pleased to invite registration for a 20-hour online certificate programme on how pluralism can help make societies more resilient, and build capacity during Covid-19. The training will enable participants to better understand pluralism, mental health and crisis management to increase social emotional intelligence during these unprecedented times. It will also cover tools on how to support others, and will provide an opportunity to develop stronger communication skills.

The training will be offered free of charge to all UCA students, faculty, staff, and staff/faculty family members. For other interested participants, the cost is $150. Participants will receive instructions on how to pay the tuition upon registration. Participants must attend 90% of all classes and sessions to receive a certificate.

Register online by July 20th 2020 at

Training Format and Dates
The training will be conducted three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) through Microsoft Teams between August 10-24th between 8:30-10:30 am (Bishkek time). There will be six two-hour classes, and three small group practice sessions.

The training will be conducted in English.

Workshop Topics
  • Personal Identity and Pluralism
  • Communication Skills 
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Defusing Anger and Stress
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Mental Health and Well-Being

Nicole Fournier-Sylvester, Global Center for Pluralism
Nicole Fournier-Sylvester is the Education Manager at the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa, Canada. She has a PhD in Education and an extensive record of conference presentations, workshops and publications on pluralistic dialogue, digital literacy, and critical thinking. Her dissertation, "Connected: Facilitating Transformative Online Dialogue in Peace-Building, Reconciliation, and Global Citizenship Education Programs", compared international online education programs designed to facilitate intercultural dialogue, promote mutual understanding, and advance 21st century learning capacities. Nicole has over ten years of experience teaching courses on democracy and cultural diversity, ethics, education and social change.

Robin Higgins, Counsellor
Robin Higgins is a Counsellor at UCA. Prior to joining UCA, Higgins worked with Canada’s Selkirk College for 12 years, where she provided personal and career counselling as well as course advise. She served as Selkirk’s Trauma Assistance Team coordinator and Status of Women Committee’s Union Representative. Higgins was part of the design team for her provincial Healthy Minds/Healthy Campus project. A passionate advocate for student engagement and wellness, Higgins piloted residential projects in nutrition, creativity and community building. She trained campus residence advisors in suicide awareness, communications and leadership skills. Before working at Selkirk College, Higgins worked as a youth mental health clinician and provided counselling for women and children who experienced violence.  Higgins holds a Masters in Counselling from the University of Victoria, Canada. In addition, she is a certified English as a Second Language instructor, high school English teacher and undertaken Mediation and Mindfulness Based Art Therapy and Stress Reduction Training.

Randy Janzen, Conflict Transformation Instructor
Randy Janzen, PhD, teaches Peace and Justice Studies at Selkirk College in Canada. He is the past Chair of the Mir Centre for Peace at Selkirk College and is a former Board Member of the North American Peace and Justice Studies Association. Randy has studied and/or worked in peacebuilding in Canada, Kosovo, Guatemala, South Sudan and Israel/Palestine and is also a community mediator. His research interest focuses on unarmed civilian peacekeeping (UCP) and he is a founding member of the international Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping Research Network.

Mary-Ann Morris, Nursing Professor and Health Educator
Mary Ann Morris is a nurse educator who views health as a basic human right which encompasses the physical, spiritual, social and psychological elements of well-being.  She has worked in nursing and community-based health education programs and currently is focused on programs related to diabetes prevention and self-management across the lifespan.

Jonny Morris, CEO Canadian Mental Health
Jonny Morris is currently the CEO of B.C. Canadian Mental Health. He is a beloved and respected instructor of Counselling Skills and Group Skills courses at the last two UCA Summer Institutes.  Director of planning and Strategic Priorities for British Columbia Ministry of Mental Health. Was Senior Director of Policy, Research and Planning for Canadian Mental Health and sessional instructor teaching counselling skills and therapeutic group processes for Douglas College and the University of Victoria. He is a Narrative Counselling Therapist with numerous mental health and suicide prevention programs.

Katie O'Brian, Global Center for Pluralism
Katie O’Brian is a Program Officer at the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa, Canada where she works on the Education and Award programs. She is a UN-certified intercultural dialogue facilitator and brings this technical expertise to program and content development. She leads GCP’s work on MOZAIKO, their new online education platform. She has a Master’s Degree in International Development and Global Studies and spent five years living in Taiwan where she taught English and conducted her Master’s research.

Learning Outcomes
Participants will be able to:
  • Explain dimensions of their personal identity and how it shapes communication and community.
  • Discuss principles of pluralism and how to apply a pluralistic lens to personal, educational and community initiatives
  • Demonstrate effective helping conversation skills in dyad and group situations.
  • Analyse stages of change and how to use motivational interviewing techniques with varying stages of readiness.
  • Analyse elements that lead to conflict situations.
  • Demonstrate skills in de-escalating tension.
  • Recognise warning signs of mental health distress.
  • Recognise warning signs of suicidal intention.
  • Explore cultural approaches to supporting people who are in crisis and/or grieving.
  • Develop personal plans for how they can use these skills and approaches in their personal and professional lives.
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