In preparation for the May 2010 Youth Conference, the Confronting Concerns program staff held workshops with four organizations that have programs for youth. The workshops were designed to help the youth enhance their dialogue skills and to see how dialogue leads to making peace. In this video produced by students from Marymount Manhattan College, you will view some excerpts from the workshop with freshman students of Mott Hall High School, Bronx who are involved in the College for Every Student Program. The adult and youth facilitators shown in the video prepared and presented the youth workshops and participated as staff in the May Youth Conference.
Here is a video showing the prepartion and development of youth to lead the conference.
The Goals of the Network for Peace through Dialogue's youth program for 2010 was to engage New York City youth in a process of learning skills of dialogue as a means of making peace and to connect New York City youth groups to one another.
An initial objective was to identify and to outreach up to five organizations either schools or youth organizations throughout New York City which were already involved in some action for change in their communities and neighborhoods. The action was to invite them to participate in a one and one half hour workshop to teach them dialogue skills and to show how these skills are important in peacemaking. The workshop design was prepared by the youth coordinators and this was presented to four youth groups from January 2010 through mid May. The groups participating in the workshops were invited to then prepare a workshop and to present their workshop at a Youth Conference held in mid May 2010. In addition the Network staff used the participants' evaluation and feedback in developing the entire program for the Youth Conference.
Youth will be presenting sessions regarding concerns they have for their community which relate to poverty, exclusion and alienation with a hope for positive change. What they have to say is very important both for themselves and for the adults. This kind of activity will enhance their ability to engage in positive political activity. A conference by youth for youth can be very inspirational and will give them the opportunity to meet others with similar hopes and to network to make changes.
The young people involved in planning, as well as the participants of the conference, will be coming from communities that can benefit greatly from their participation in this kind of event. The model of Confronting Concerns has always been to make presentations to intergenerational audiences in the youths' home communities in order to share the learning that has happened and even inspire others to take action to make positive change as well. We hope to continue with this practice and have the youth at the conference make a plan for how they can incorporate what is learned into their own communities. In addition, all proceedings will be carefully collected and made available on the Network website as well as in the Network's newsletter. The Confronting Concerns program has also worked with a Marymount Manhattan College student to produce a short video about our program. With adequate funding, we can also produce a video highlighting what youth learn at the conference and use that to educate others beyond the day of the conference about how to use the techniques of dialogue for positive change.
Dialogue is an essential and initial element in the peace making process. The focus of this program is to teach youth collaboration, communication, listening, ability to cross ethnic boundaries, and will learn to respect the cultures of other groups of people. As there can be no peace without justice, the youth will learn how to change the structures that are of concern to them violence being the major one. This confrontation of the patriarchic system of domination, control and violence as a response to conflict is part of all the programs of Network for Peace through Dialogue.
All of the skills can translate into other parts of their life!
Barbara Jordan says, ""Education remains the key to both economic and political empowerment." The proposed conference aims to bring youth together to educate themselves and to equip youth with a very important skill that, if used effectively, can amplify their voices in spaces where they have not been traditionally heard.
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