Peace Week at FA is a time where the entire school comes together to learn about and discuss a global issue. We adjust our weekly schedule and use assembly and PE blocks, as well as meeting for worship and advisory as a time to listen to speakers, watch videos, and educate ourselves on the matter. We also split up into peace groups which is a treat, as it is one of the only times our entire school, lower, middle and upper gets together as a whole. This year the topic of peace week was poverty.
Peace week began on Tuesday, with an upper school gathering in the theater. TASQUE opened the assembly by reciting a query regarding poverty, which was followed by a slide presentation. The slide show was a great way to give the students a general background of the amount of people poverty affects globally.
On Wednesday upper school students split up into paired advisories, where we watched two videos teaching us about poverty throughout the United States; the first video discussed the affect that the recession has had on our country’s rate of unemployment, and the difficulty of finding work in such a tough economy. The second video discussed children in poverty, and how hard it is to go to school when after going to bed hungry and trying to study without electricity. Following the videos we had to fill out a questionnaire educating us on the different cultures, ages and races struggling with poverty throughout the United States. Many Students were surprised to find out that the majority of impoverished people throughout the United States were of white descent.
Thursday was the highlight of Peace Week for many of the upper school students. We were given the opportunity to hear an outstanding speaker named Hugh Evans teach us about global poverty, as well as ways to fix it. Hugh Evans is the CEO of the Global Poverty project, and one of the key leaders behind the Make Poverty History campaign. Often, students feel that they are informed of global issues, but are not given the resources to help end the problem. Hugh Evans, however, did just that. He told us that individually we can all make a big difference by spreading awareness, visiting his global poverty project website, donating to our favorite organizations, personally getting involved in service on a local level and purchasing fair trade products. Fair trade is both a social movement, and a market-based approach that aspires to support producers in developing countries to make better trading conditions, as well as promote sustainability. The goal of the movement is to advocate for higher payments to exporters, and higher social and environmental standards. Be sure to look for the symbol on packages signifying that the item is fair trade.
On our final day of Peace Week we met in our peace groups in the gym. We participated in an activity where we “shared how we let our lives speak through service.” We also were lucky enough to listen to two FA alumni’s speak about their experience with service and how they try to end poverty. Michael Fox is involved with “Humanitainment,” which is an organization that produces “mini-political movies” that blend entertainment with political awareness. Courtney Lenoir started the organization, Generation Y Not, which reaches out in creative ways to raise community awareness and assist grassroots organizations working to change the face of poverty, education, disease, peace and social justice around the world. Michael Fox ’91 and Courtney Lenoir ’10 have two very different experiences with service but have both dedicated their lives to making the world a better place.
Photo Courtesy of Amanda Fisk