Peace Day at Kutztown Area Middle School: Discussing the Global Refugee Crisis

This September, the South Asia Center sent Dr. Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher to address over 400 students, faculty, staff, and community members, as the keynote speaker for World Peace Day at Kutztown area middle school in Kutztown, PA. Dr. Ghaffar-Kucher, a senior lecturer at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Associate Director of the International Educational Development Program, spoke to students on the theme of, "Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for all." 

Dr. Ghaffar-Kucher began the discussion by first presenting the question of what peace means. She introduced children to the concept of positive and negative peace, and from there she challenged students to think about questions like "what is peace?" and "Who is a refugee and how does one become a refugee?" Using examples pulled from South Asia and the Middle East, Dr. Ghaffar-Kucher spoke to the group of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders about refugee experiences around the globe. Students, as well as adult members of the audience, who included the principal of Kutztown area middle school, the district superintendent Dr. Fiore, and the district curriculum coordinator Dr. Quinn, were engaged throughout the lecture, and asked critical questions about what can be done to support refugees. 

Following Dr. Ghaffar-Kucher's presentation, students at Kutztown area middle school created pinwheels for peace with their art teacher and submitted more than 100 essays on the their experience. 

This event was organized in collaberation with Penn's Middle East Center.