Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Stand in Solidarity for Peace

After an extraoridinarily exciting first day of the World Summit, our hopes were high as we stepped back into the theater hall this morning. Our first session focused on Unheard Voices, Inequalities in Social Justice. Nobel Laureates Muhammed Yunus and Lech Walesa were joined by Colin Archer from the International Peace Bureau, Jayantha Dhanapala from the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, and Shan Cretin from the American Friends Committee. The discussion attempted to reach conclusions regarding peace, democracy, and justice. Can the issues of our world really be confined to boarders? Do we need to break down boarders literally or figuratively in order to appropriately solve these issues? How do colonialism, racism, and poverty contribute to the systems that perpetuate certain issues? All of these questions were address and debated. the conversation was intense, informative, and of course, moving.

Muhammad Yunus made inspirational remarks where he referred to the world's poor as "Bonsai People." He went on to explain that a Bonsai tree is grown from the same seed as a full size tree from the forest. The difference is that, a Bonsai is planted in a flower pot, thus isn't given sufficient soil or space to grow into the giant that it has the potential to be. Poor people, like the bonsai, are from the same seed of humanity with the same potential, but aren't given adequate environments to properly grow.

Fourth Row from the Stage! 

Laureates getting their peace on. 

The second morning session talked about Old and New Threats to Human Rights. Shirin Ebadi, F.W. de Klerk, Steve Crawshaw, and Lee Hoesung led a riveting conversation that extended from terrorism, to human rights, to democracy. Essentially, one major thing that came out of the discussion was the idea that we must know and understand the root of a problem in order to ever solve it. Although a simple statement, we must promise to keep it as simple when applying it to the very real, very complex social issues plaguing our society today. As various social issues were discussed, it was agreed upon that poverty is a root cause of most, if not all, of the major social issues of our time.

Hanging around in between sessions

Heated Discussion

Mr. Ives showing off his socks!

Xavier getting some advice from Professor Ives

Session on Millenium Development Goals

Our afternoon sessions were incredible. The students helped out Professor David Ives and Anat Biletzki by distributing the reading material for their session. Of coure, the students sat front row- as they always have been doing- and listened as a discussion flourished about the Millenium Development Goals (MDG). The students were surprised that the session, in fact, focused on criticisms of the MDG's. Furthermore, both Dr. Bieltzki and Mr. Ives called upon students for the solutions to some of the issues with the MDGs. The students took pages of notes and we debriefed after the session to answer or expand upon any questions that they had.

The sessions ended a bit early today so we decided to do a bit of shopping. From local shops and street vendors to the comercial shopping center, we were certain to open ourselves up multiple types of shopping. While we were shopping, the students mentioned that they had never eaten gelato before. So, of course we let them have dessert before dinner! They thoroughly enjoyed the delicious treat, but were still quite hungry from today's events. As you may have read from yesterday's post, the students fell in love with pierogis. Pleased that the students enjoyed a traditional food so much, we took them back to the traditional Polish restaurant we had eaten at just a couple nights before. The food was just as delicious the second time around and I was happy to see that the students ordered something new and different!

First Gelato Experience!

Boys will be boys!

Who knew Belgian Fries could be so enjoyable? 

On the walk back from the restaurant, Xavier and Kaylanie wanted to try Belgian Fries. Not even 10 minutes after ordering, you would find 5 excited teenagers raving about the deliciousness of Poland's fries and chicken tenders! We are glad to see that students are open to trying to new things and are truly building strong friendship in the process!

Tomorrow will certainly prove to be an exciting day! It is the last day of the conference and, of course, the busiest. We can't wait to update you!

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