Students Learn Pathways to Peace This Week

Posted: March 13, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Fran Rensbarger

Several thousand elementary, middle, and high school students from the mid-Atlantic region will converge at George Mason this week to hone their conflict resolution skills and work for peace in their schools. They are participants and workshop facilitators at Pathways to Peace, the 10th Annual Northern Virginia Regional Student Mediation Conference on Thursday and Friday.

Gail Pennybacker, a reporter for WJLA-TV Channel 7 News, is the keynote speaker. While the events of Sept. 11 will not be specifically addressed, one workshop will focus on the tremendous challenge peer mediators have faced since that day with a role play on the subject of mediating difficult situations.

“Not only is Pathways to Peace for youth, it is led by youth,” says Frank Blechman, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) faculty member and leader of the event. “Ten years ago, all the workshops were designed and led by adults; this year, nearly all of the workshops were designed and will be led by high school or middle school students.”

Nearly 2,700 participants are registered for the conference, with students coming from 280 schools in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and North Carolina.

The event is sponsored by Fairfax County Public Schools and ICAR. The conference is funded in part by the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1994.

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