Students end year with forced migration symposium


Kim Young

Students work during the History Symposium.

Eunho Lee, Staff writer

The Forced Migration Symposium is an event for the 9th graders who have finished the Global Inquiry Project. Students participated in various interactive activities and listened to experts speak on the issue of forced migration. In the third year of this event, there were many improvements that made it a big success.

“It’s a chance for the 9th grade students to be able to use the information they’ve been researching and also think about the larger significance of the projects they’ve been doing,” History teacher Kim Young said. “It’s also a chance for 9th graders to interact with experts and people who are working in the field on issues of forced displacement.”

The symposium consisted of hands on activities where the students could be more interactive with what they were learning.

“As high school teachers, we are looking to develop a lot of different sets of skills in  students. It involves reading and writing, but it also involves communicating and asking good questions,” Young said. “You have to go and talk and do. Learning is a lot more active rather than passive. You’re not just a student in a classroom, but you’re a leader in an activity.”

Along with the interactive activities, the symposium had many experts that spoke with the students.

“I think having an alumni speaker come back and talk to students was a really powerful experience,” Young said. “I also think having local speakers come in so students can see how this global issue of forced migration is relevant in their local communities, or how people in their local communities are active in these global issues, makes it seem much more relevant and real, as opposed to just something that exists on a website.”

Some of the speakers were high school students. Sophomore Daanish Qureshi and junior Afnaan Qureshi spoke to students on their experiences helping Syrian refugees in Jordan and teaching robotics to Kenyan street children.

“The fact that we are high school students making a difference in rather large scenarios is an important aspect of our work. Although we are high school students, and the situations these people are in is rather terrible, we are able to make a difference in their lives little by little,” Daanish Qureshi said.

In reaction to the symposium, students have given positive feedback about the benefits of having the symposium.

“I think it was just nice to do things instead just sitting in a classroom and listening. It made what we were learning more interesting and I think it made a lot more people want to participate,” Freshman Lucian Mahoney said.

Although the event was a success, improvements are still looking to be made.

“I can say that we always do things different every year, but one thing that will be different next year is that we will be able to involve five other school districts in the symposium, so I think that next year will be significantly bigger and it will probably be offsite. It will include more diverse perspectives because it will have lots of different schools participating,” Young said.