Choices for Britain
Young people are our future. So it is particularly vital that young people around the world imagine, debate, and deliberate on what kind of future they would like to see for their country.
Inspired by the Choices Project, in 1992 I founded and led Choices for Britain, a pilot project of the non-profit peace and security organization Saferworld. Choices for Britain asked nearly 3,000 high school aged students in the greater Bristol, England area—about 1 in 20 full-time students—"What kind of country would you like Britain to be ten years from now?”
After considering four different expert-vetted scenarios for Britain’s role in the world in 2003 that emphasized different national priorities and different relationships with Europe and the rest of the world, students voted on which future they preferred. They then designed a future scenario of their own reflecting their personal aspirations for their country. The project received wide acclaim from teachers and students alike.
“The lesson of the experiment is that children
have reserves of political interest and engagement that could be better
developed to prepare them for citizenship.
As the best teachers know already, they respond when taken
seriously and listened to...It deserves wider application.”
--Editorial, The Independent
“We had teachers of other subjects coming up
and saying that students had been to them and told them what they had
been doing in their Choices lessons which I find quite extraordinary;
I’ve never known that before! I
think they like being asked for their opinions, and we’ve been
stressing that opinions are valued, and that they are the citizens of
the future, and they’ve really taken to this.”
--Meg Keene, Instructor, Norton Hill School, Somerset
“I liked Choices because I think we have
a right to say how we want the world to be.”