[tsl/leadership] Fireside Workshop: The Low Down on Darfur

On Monday, July 21st, Global Kids’ U.S. in the World: International Law and Foreign Policy Program was proud to welcome Dr. Francis Deng, the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, to speak about “Stopping the Genocide in Darfur: The Role of the UN, the ICC and the International Community.” Before Deng’s arrival, students in the program, which is held at the Council on Foreign Relations, participated in a workshop on the Sudan. The students were divided into four groups, with each group taking the role of either the United Nations Security Council, the Government of Sudan, the United States and International Community, or the International Criminal Court. Students had handouts which they could use to devise strategies on how they would protect the civilian populations and Internally Displaced Persons of Darfur.

Fireside Workshop -  The Low down on Darfur
Teens in Second Life doing an icebreaker during the workshop

As the workshop was run in “real” world at CFR, a similar workshop was being run online in Teen Second Life. This was the first time that a workshop was run simultaneously with students at CFR and the students on the teen grid, this summer, so it was interesting to see both sets of students processing the activity. Students in TSL did a warm-up activity on a large checkerboard in which they had to take one step forward if individual statements applied to them, such as “You or someone you know has been evicted from their home” and “You know one place in the world where children have been used as soldiers.” The TSL students were then given notecards with the information needed to break into the four groups and further discuss these issues.

Fireside Workshop -  The Low down on Darfur
Teens listening intently to Dr. Francis Deng, the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide

After the workshop, students in TSL and adults on the main grid listened to Dr. Francis Deng talk about the problems facing the international community and the roadblocks we face in making the necessary strides for peace. Students at CFR were able to watch the TSL simulcast being projected onto a screen, so they could watch the back channel of discussion taking place as Dr. Deng was speaking. During the Q & A, some of the students in TSL had the opportunity to have their questions answered by Dr. Deng. It was inspiring to see people from a wide-ranging locations engaging this important discussion through different means.

- By Mike, GK Watson Fellow