Friday, February 22, 2013

Students Participate in Axis of Hope

The following information was originally posted in the February 11th Eblast from Superintendent Gormley.

From Barbara Wright, Humanities Department Head:
Students Participate in Axis of Hope:  Milton High students, along with students from Milton Academy and O’Bryant High School, were recently asked to negotiate peace for one of the most volatile areas of the world – the Middle East. Their goal during a one-day workshop was to determine who would control and provide security to Jerusalem, and they were asked to see the issue through the lens of both Israelis and Palestinians. Many were forced to take on positions with which they did not necessarily agree, but each gained a valuable lesson in Middle Eastern history as well as negotiation. 
Twenty freshmen Milton High students traveled to O’Bryant High on February 5th and worked with students from all three schools as part of a program called Axis of Hope, created by Boston University professor Carl Hobert.  Axis of Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and applying negotiation skills to resolve conflict.  Professor Hobert hopes that by bringing students together to practice negotiation skills, they can learn about conflicts around the world but also apply what they have learned in their own lives.
Students arrived early Tuesday morning and joined students they had never met before, and by noon time they were communicating as if they were old friends. As the day went on, students became more animated and enthusiastic in their conversations as their confidence on the issue grew.  Professor Hobert said, “This kind of exercise allows students to improve their communication skills, their comprehension of material they are studying, their ability to compromise, their compassion for others, their creativity, their critical thinking skills – and so much more.”
The partnership between the schools was not a one-day event because there is already conversations about doing the same type of summit again in the spring, maybe around the crisis in Rwanda or US immigration policies.