Students Tackle Mideast Peace

Taking on the roles of world leaders, drawn by lot, first-year students negotiate as they try to forge their own version of a Middle East peace agreement. The talks are part of Global Interdependence, the freshman history class, which is taught by Scott Rhodewalt, Betsy Crofts, Rachel Bond, and Scott Spence. The eleven-day exercise challenges students to walk in the footsteps and think the thoughts of those who grapple with the very real and very dangerous issue of Mideast peace.

The students are given a clear plan created by their teachers. Each day’s specific goal and assignments lead students through an intensive study of the region, its history, its politics, and its people. Each student is required to keep a journal of the thoughts and events that culminate in a three-day peace conference.

“These ninth-grade students achieved a level of empathy higher than most adults,” their teacher says at the conclusion of the conference, “because they were willing to take risks and because they worked so hard to learn the history.”