2021 World Affairs Seminar

Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution:
Emerging Lessons and Skills for Our Schools and Communities

For the past 32 years, the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown and the Rotary Club of Martinsburg, West Virginia have convened an annual World Affairs Seminar for students from area high schools to engage in dialogue on a topic of both local and global relevance.

Because of on-going COVID conditions and the uncertainties of holding an in-person event at Shepherd University, the World Affairs Seminar for 2021 will be held virtually, similar to the seminar for 2020-21 in 4 phases. The participants are students from the seven high schools in the Eastern Panhandle (covering Berkeley, Jefferson & Morgan Counties). The topic selected for 2021 was based on two guiding principles: relevance and alignment with the Rotary Youth Peace Action Initiative. Special thanks to our presenters, faculty advisors, and to Chazz Printz, representing The Rotary Club of Martinsburg for over 25 years as co-coordinator in Berkeley County, along with Richard Anson and Bill Howard, co-coordinators for the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown.

Video Welcome & Introduction: Dr. Richard Anson

for the Rotary Clubs of Shepherdstown and Martinsburg

SEMINAR OBJECTIVES

SUB-TOPICS & PANEL

APPROACH

Seminar Agenda and Follow-Up

Phase 1

Brief Video Presentations by Our Panel Members (15 minutes each)

By November 15, 2021, for each of the 3 sub-topics, our 4 panel members will address 4 guide questions, based on individual zoom recording. Each of the presentations will be available here by video link by November 19, 2021. The 4 guide questions are: 

  1. What is the relevance of the “eight pillars of positive peace” and the core values of peace for our schools and communities?
  2. What are the “systemic” causes of the two challenges and “conflicts” presented?
  3. What are emerging lessons learned, good practices and skills for enhanced peacebuilding and conflict resolution? 
  4. How can these lessons and practices be applied to peacebuilding and conflict resolution in our families, schools, communities?

Phase 2

Breakout Discussion Groups

By December 10, 2021 (at a date and time convenient for each school), faculty advisor(s) will convene the participating students to view the video recordings of the panel members and facilitate a discussion session by the students guided by 2 questions: 

  1. What are key points made by the 4 panel members? 
  2. What are possible specific initiatives to promote enhanced peacebuilding in our schools and communities?

Phase 3

Collective Sharing (1.5 hours)

On December 15, 2021 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. (date and time to be confirmed), all participating high schools will join together for a live zoom event. One student per participating high school will share the main points arising from their discussion session and responses to the 2 guide questions from Phase 2, with the aim of stimulating dialogue among the participants in the spirit of learning and sharing. Also, the coordinator for the Rotary Youth Peace in Action Initiative will provide a brief overview of the YPA initiative, see links below*, and how your school can participate, as part of the Phase 4 follow-up. The video recording captured from this Zoom-based event will be edited for use and distribution by the participating schools, and shared within the network of the Rotary Youth in Peace Action Initiative.

*Youth Peace in Action Overview:
 

Phase 4

Follow-up Action and Engagement

From January, 2022 to end of May, 2022 (and hopefully beyond), the students from each participating high school will be encouraged to engage in follow-up initiative(s) in their school and community, using the lessons and collected resources found through the seminar, with support from faculty advisors and community volunteers including Rotarians and Shepherd University student mentors. Each high school is encouraged to participate in the Rotary YPA initiative, becoming certified peacebuilders, and carrying out peacebuilding initiatives in your school and community.