Middle and High School Education Programs
The Colorado Springs World Affairs Council continues to support a variety of programs for local middle and high school students designed to foster a long-term interest in international relations. Financial support from Jim and Diane Cameron Education Contributors has provided the Council with the means to make major contributions to the following programs.
High School Symposium
Each fall since 1989 the Council has offered high school students in the area a lecture and small-group discussion program on an international topic. The Symposium is held at Colorado College and is free to all, thanks to an education grant from CSWAC members Jim and Diane Cameron. Average attendance has been 300 students, coming from a changing mix of high schools.
The day's program has most recently included a keynote lecture by a noted authority, a debate on one aspect of the topic by teams from the Air Force Academy and Colorado College, a short related film, lunch, and small roundtable discussion groups.
Dr. Robert Lee (CC) and Dr. Fran Pilch (AFA) direct the High School Symposium.
2014 High School Symposium — September 25th
Back to the Cold War? US - Russian Relations in the 21st Century
Location: Armstrong Hall at Colorado College, 14 East Cache La Poudre
Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, there is once again a chill in the air. Suddenly Russia and the United States find themselves in conflict over a number of matters.
What are the causes of this renewed rivalry? Do they lie primarily with American and Western European policy or with Russian behavior? Do Russian aspirations for an economic union centered in Moscow threaten Western interests? The countries of Eastern Europe that were part of the Soviet Empire are now free, and most have aligned themselves with Western European institutions, such as NATO and the European Union. How should the states located on the Russian border---Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, central Asia, even the Baltic states---figure into this calculus?
What are the boundaries of Europe? Are Russian fears of isolation in the center of the great Eurasian landmass responsible for this tension? Does the nature of the Russian state, which falls short of the Western democratic model explain some of the problems? Or is it European assertiveness and ambivalence toward Russia? To what extent do ethnic and religious ties complicate both national and international politics in the area?
How should the United States respond to such questions? Do American vital interests include defense of the Ukraine? The symposium will speak to these and other questions.
2014 World Affairs Challenge
What it is.
In this day-long gathering of high school and middle school teams from throughout Colorado, hosted by the Center for Teaching International Relations, students compete for recognition in several events. The topic, different each year, allows students to dig into a significant problem in international development and international relations. The central goal for the student team is to develop a creative presentation that represents what they have learned, why it is important, and provides solid action steps toward sustainable solutions.
The Challenge topic for spring 2014 is “Water, water, water!” The Challenge webpage (www.worldaffairschallenge.org) tells us:
Water is life – for better or worse! Across the globe, people and countries are vexed with lack of fresh water, drought and famine, water-borne disease, flooding, and conflict over the possession of this precious natural resource. On the flip side, water can provide health, electrical power, crops and forests, and commerce near and far.
The 2014 WAC challenges your school and team to select a problem and propose a solution for some concern that involves water on an international scale. Here are steps for your problem identification and solution:
- How do international organizations concerned with sustainable development address water issues?
- Do these organizations collaborate to refine their approaches to water challenges, leading to effective and efficient solutions?
- Which Denver-based international organizations address water and sustainable development?
- What specifically is “the water angle” of these local organizations?
When it is.
The Challenge will be on Saturday, 8 March for high schools and on Saturday, 5 April for middle schools.
What students do.
At the full and exciting day of the Challenge, students:
- Give the formal presentation that they have prepared in front of a panel of judges.
- Take the global awareness quiz
- In randomly constituted teams, STUDENTS are presented with a “collaborative question.” They get time to work up a presentation answering this question, which they give to a panel of judges.
- Hear presentations on the topic from experts.
- Visit displays set up by nonprofits working in the world to solve the problems that are the topic of the Challenge and talk with people working in these organizations at home and abroad.
The Center for Teaching International Relations, a Denver nonprofit, hosts this program on the Regis University campus in northwest Denver. Upon registration for the World Affairs Challenge, teachers receive access to online resources to support their team’s research.
The Colorado Springs World Affairs Council, thanks to the Cameron contributors, provides participation grants to El Paso and Teller schools. Go to the application form by clicking here.
Registration along with additional information about the competition are available at www.worldaffairschallenge.org.
The Council’s education outreach committee administers the participation grants.
The World Affairs Council of America began hosting national competitions in this “knowledge bowl” of world affairs in 2005. Each year, our Council hosts a local competition involving area high schools in February. The teams are comprised of four students from the respective high schools, and the questions address 10 categories of world affairs topics in a multiple choice format. Recent winning teams have represented Rampart High School and Air Academy High School in 2011 and again in 2012. The Council then sponsors the winning team to travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the national Academic WorldQuest competition that takes place in the spring of the year. Pam Lively, a social studies teacher at Air Academy High School, directs this program.
Rampart High School Wins Local Academic WorldQuest Competition
Our local Academic WorldQuest competition was held on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at Air Academy High School. The high schools participating in this 10 round multiple choice event were Air Academy, Rampart, the Colorado Springs School, Lewis Palmer, and James Irwin Charter. The Vista Ridge team had to withdraw at the last moment because of illness among its members. In an extremely tight contest, Rampart won by a 62-60 score over defending champion Air Academy. The topics in this year’s competition included U.S. Economic Competitiveness, the Middle East, China, Afghanistan/Pakistan, and Current Events. Each high school team is comprised of 4 players who collaborate to answer each of the 10 questions during the 10 rounds of topics. The Rampart team includes Adrian Bogart, Luis Bernabe Betancourt, Harrison Meyer, and Gautham Viswaroopan and is coached by Casey Walter from the Rampart faculty. The team will travel to Washington, DC for the national competition at Georgetown University on April 27, 2013 thanks to a very generous grant from the Jim and Diane Cameron Education Contributors. Pam Lively from Air Academy High School is our local coordinator for Academic WorldQuest and once again oversaw the entire competition extremely well.
High School Model UN
The Council, in cooperation with the Pikes Peak Chapter of the United Nations Association, has provided funding to the Colorado Springs School to assist with the school’s participation in a series of Model UN competitions over the past three years at the state, regional, and national levels. In 2010, 12 students and 2 faculty members traveled to Washington, D.C. for the national competition featuring teams from across the U.S. and around the world. Another team will be attending the national competition later in February this year. We would like to see additional area high schools become involved in this worthwhile program and stand ready to support such participation.
October 23-29, 2013 — BratMUN
The Colorado Springs School Model UN team of 12 traveled to Bratislava, Slovakia, for this year's international conference. BratMUN, as it is called, is an annual event that involves 150 students from around Europe and the world. There were eight councils being simulated, including the General Assembly, UNSC, and UNDP, discussing varied topics ranging from global warming to terrorism. The team was in Slovakia from October 23-29.
The students posted the following on their blog:
On behalf of the club officers and the entire CSS MUN team, we'd like to say a hearty thank you to our sponsors, Mr. Benson and Mrs. Hedden. In addition, we'd like to express our gratitude to the Colorado Springs World Affairs Council, who generously provided us with a significant grant, which enabled us to participate in this truly once-of-a-lifetime experience. Finally, the Colorado Springs School and its teachers deserve our gratitude for being supportive and helpful in accommodating missed classes and schedule anomalies as a result of the past week's absences.
Many thanks to you all!
You can read the entire blog, which is very informative about their trip, at:
Beginning in June 2011, the Council offered a workshop for local middle and high school teachers. The topic for our first workshop was Iran and was held in the Penrose House complements of the El Pomar Foundation. The most recent workshop was conducted in February 2012, and the topic was U.S. Economic Competitiveness. The El Pomar Foundation again was a major supporter and provided access to the Penrose House. Sue Dilloway is our coordinator for this program.
Student Monthly Speaker Events
A limited number of middle and high school students are most welcome as part of a school group to monthly speaker events. As part of a school group, students and adult sponsors may attend at no charge.
The number of students taking advantage of this opportunity continues to expand and remains very popular with attending students and teachers.
For more information on any of our educational programs, feel free to contact Susan Dilloway at 719-538-7647. We look forward to expanding our programs and invite your participation and that of your students.