ICAR Hosts Youth for Understanding Program

Posted: July 11, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Over the next two weeks, the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) hosts a group of approximately 50 students from the Republics of Georgia and Abkahzia as part of the Youth for Understanding program. Faculty members, students, and alumni of ICAR are facilitating discussion groups, meetings, and social events for the teenagers from the two republics, which have been engaged in a civil war since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“The goal is to get these kids out of their countries and into a neutral site,” says John Holman, development director for ICAR. “We want them to sit down and discuss all aspects of life in a nonhostile environment. We want them to understand each other and their opposing points of view. As they become older, we want them to remain friends and have cooperative relationships.”

The teenagers, who are housed together on the Fairfax Campus, will participate in cultural and educational activities, learn about American society and the environment, gain negotiation and mediation skills, and work in teams to solve problems together. Also scheduled are several site visits to Washington, D.C. Following their visit here, the students will travel to New York, where they plan to visit the United Nations (UN) and meet UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Youth for Understanding is a federally funded program, which won the 1999 UN Association of the USA Blue Ribbon Award. This is the second year George Mason has served as a host institution.

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