High School Programs Report
International Student Summit on Information and Democracy
Wednesday, December 11, 2019 • Fox School of Business at Temple University
Approximately 270 high school students, representing 22 schools from across the Greater Philadelphia area attended the World Affairs Council’s meeting of international advocates for free speech, journalism, and a free and independent press. Through intensive research and group collaboration, students engaged with issues around pervasive disinformation, the suppression of free press, and a growing influence of anti-democratic regimes around the world. Students simulated the roles of free press advocates from countries around the world with varying ranks on the World Press Freedom index and using these countries as case studies, were tasked with debating and solving the modern challenges surrounding global communication and the relationship between governance and free press. Working in both regional groups and technical working groups that focused on specific key issues related to information and democracy, students used their roles to ultimately create an International Pledge that responded to these challenges and defined a set of objectives to be pursued while taking into account the rights and interests of various stakeholders.
Joint Pledge on Information and Democracy
Model Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Tuesday, March 3, 2020 • Fox School of Business at Temple University
After a ten year hiatus, the Council once again hosted a Model Senate Committee on Foreign Relations program for approximatley 150 high school students from 15 schools across the Greater Philadelphia area. Students played the role of Senators, Senators’ Aides, Expert Witnesses, and Journalists and were assigned to one of three Senate subcommittees: The Ongoing Political Crisis with Iran, Cybersecurity and Election Interference, and Migration in the Western Hemisphere. After hearing well-researched testimonies from panels of Expert Witnesses and having the opportunity to ask the witnesses questions, Senators and Senators’ Aides in each subcommittee were tasked with creating resolutions that suggested specific policies and proposals aimed at mitigating the threats posed by their specific issue and promoting desired solutions. Expert Witnesses were then once again consulted on their opinions of the resolutions in order for Senators and Senators’ Aides to make the most informed policy recommendations as possible. Journalists made detailed notes of the subcommittee proceedings and interviewed key players in order to compile a detailed summary that was presented at the program closing plenary to all participating students.
Model Senate Journalist Reports
Summer Global Leadership Seminar: Election 2020: U.S. Foreign Policy and America's Role in the World
July 13 - 17, 2020 • Virtual Program
Approximately twenty five rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors participated in the Council’s annual Summer Global Leadership Seminar. This year’s week-long program discussed issues central to our country’s national interest and explored topics related to America’s role in a changing world. Students also learned more in-depth about the modern history of U.S. foreign policy and explored the 2020 presidential candidates’ stances on key foreign policy issues. The program featured a variety of guest lecturers from universities and think tanks in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Students also participated in group activities, a debate centered on the U.S. - China trade war, and a crisis simulation based on the effect of a global pandemic on international relations and the global economy. At the beginning of the seminar, students were assigned one of six Foreign Policy Themes (Disputes Conflicts, and War; Migration, Refugees, and Displaced People; Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, and International Organizations; Advancing Democracy; Climate Change; and Global Trade). Throughout the week, each Foreign Policy Theme group researched and learned more about U.S. Foreign Policy in relation to their assigned theme and presented their findings to the rest of the seminar participants and Council staff on the final day of the program.
New Jersey Global Leadership Programs
Scheduled: International Student Summit on Information and Democracy
Friday, December 13, 2019 • Camden County College and Rutgers University - Camden
Scheduled: Model United Nations focusing on Combating Climate Change
Thursday, June 4, 2020 • Camden County College and Rutgers University - Camden
In our fourth year running this program, the Council was excited to expand our programming to include Rutgers University-Camden while maintaining our strong partnership with Camden County College. The three organizations planned on hosting two simulation programs serving over 200 students from 10 South Jersey high schools.
The International Student Summit on Information and Democracy simulation mirrored our other high school programming, allowing students to actively engage with issues related to growing issues of misinformation and disinformation. Students explored how misinformation has the possibility of harming both nascent and established democracies, and threatens long standing democractic institutions like a free and open media environment. For this program, we identified 5 schools, 7 student leaders, and over 75 student participants. However, shortly before the program, three of our registered schools pulled out of the program due to a variety of transportation and scheduling issues. We were very disappointed at the cancellation of the program, and were excited to reschedule the program for later in the Spring. Unfortunately, we were unable to run the rescheduled program due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second program we conceptualized with Rutgers University-Camden and Camden County College would have been a Model United Nations program scheduled for June 4th, 2020. This program would have focused on the critical topic of combating climate change. Unfortunately, this program needed to be cancelled in its early stages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we remain committed to these partnerships and programs, and most importantly to the students and faculty of Southern New Jersey.