Theme I & A
We all have respect and admiration for people
who inspire us.
Sometimes they serve as role models. By exchanging feelings
about their personal heroes, whether they are living or
dead, participants can grow to know each other better and
get an insight into different cultures.
• Heroes as elements and symbols
of socialisation and culture.
• Different readings of history and
different personal preferences and tastes.
• The differences and the things
held in common between people from different cultures and
• To make participants aware of the
differences and similarities within the group.
• To raise participants' curiosity
about other people's heroes.
• To get to know each other in the
• To be self-critical about one's
ethnocentrism (understanding the dominant cultural model
vs that of the minority).
• To reflect about the role of history
teaching and the media as makers of heroes.
Any size between 10 and 40 participants
• Flip chart and markers
• Paper and pencil for the participants.
If the group is large, divide the participants
into groups of 5 to 6 people.
• Ask people to start by thinking
on their own about three people who are their personal heroes.
• After about five minutes invite
the participants to share their choices and to say what
they admire in those people. Allow sufficient time for a
real exchange and questioning.
• Ask each group to list on a flip
chart the names of the heroes, their nationality and,
if appropriate, the areas in which they became famous e.g.
sports, music, culture, politics...
• In plenary, ask each group to present
its flip chart to the other groups.
Debriefing and evaluation
You should note down which heroes, if any,
are mentioned more than once or appear frequently. Then
invite the participants to say if they enjoyed this activity
and then to discuss the following questions:
• Were there any surprises or any
heroes who were unknown to anybody? Say why.
• Was there a trend in terms of,
for example, nationality or sex? If so, why are most heroes
from the same nationality, cultural background or gender?
Are they nationals or foreigners?
• What is it that makes us appreciate
some heroes rather than others?
• Do you think your heroes are universal?
Why or why not?
Tips for the facilitator
This activity can be made more exciting,
if the participants are briefed beforehand so they can bring
photos, records or newspaper cuttings of their heroes. As
an alternative, collect together magazines or newspapers,
especially youth magazines, and leave them for the participants
in the room.
The principle behind the activity, that
our choices of heroes are relative and depend on our culture,
works better if the group is multi-cultural. Age and gender
differences in the group will also prove interesting.
This activity may seem very similar to 'National
Holiday'. However, a careful look will reveal significant
differences in the way the aims are approached.
Suggestions for follow up
Identify a hero, either local, national
or international, who you think should be celebrated. Prepare
a celebration and invite others to come. The hero could
be someone who has shown great strength of character or
achieved something special combating racism, xenophobia
or anti-semitism, or could be someone you have identified
as having contributed to the fight against another issue
such as intolerance against people with AIDS.
People who have been heroic in the face
of prejudice and discrimination have had to show great courage
to say what they think. Have you got the courage to say
what you think? What do you think about things? Do you have
an opinion? Have a go at 'Where do you
The group may like to test their knowledge
about human rights heroes in the activity 'Fighters
for rights' in Compass. They may also like to
think about the many anonymous activists who have also fought
for human rights. They can find out more about those who
have battled against drug companies through the simulation
to medicaments' in Compass which focuses on HIV/AIDS,
the right to life and dignity and the right to property.