February Enewsletter: WorldLink: Youth Town Meeting Conference at USD

WorldLink: Youth Town Meeting Conference at USD
by Ana Maria Rubio ‘16

On January 21st, students from all over San Diego county and south of the border gathered at the University of San Diego to Heal the Wounds of Violence. The University of San Diego’s WorldLink program upheld it’s annual Youth Town Meeting Conference on Healing The Wounds of Violence. This Conference consisted of an opening panel, 3 briefing session that lasted an hour and fifteen minutes, a delicious lunch, and a closing panel. The Conference also upheld more than 15 speakers, that spoke to more than 700 people at the Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice.The conference was specialized to end violence by identifying violence, healing through medical and alternative therapies, transitional justice, restorative justice, and violence preservation.

I had the privilege to be an intern with the WorldLink program, and got the experience the conference backstage. Getting to work with high school students from San Diego and Tijuana was a genuine experience where everyone gets to know each other and converse about the issues that should be resolved in the conference. Getting to hear amazing speakers and their experiences with violence really opened up my eyes on how anyone can get involved to alleviate and end violence.

The day started off with a light breakfast station and waiting for all the participating schools to sign up and getting their assigned sessions. Then all of the delegates headed into the theater for a warm welcome and an opening panel which consisted of 4 speakers, Mr. Anthony Ceja, Mr. Ramesh Kharel, Mr. Arno Michaelis, and Ms. Dydine Umunyana, which inspirational stories and support for peace brought energy for the whole day and left the delegates craving for more. After the opening panel, it was of to the first briefing session, where I spent with Mr. Ramesh Kharel, who is a former police officer in Nepal where he helped abolish drug trafficking and cultivation with Nepal’s border with India, and talked about how to restrain from corruption. Next it was the second briefing session, which I spent with Mr. Mr. Ramesh again because of my obligations as a photographer for the program. Then it was time for lunch, where students could engage with the speakers and ask them questions, and a photo booth where they could use frames and props to create memories of what they have learned during their sessions and make new friends. After lunch, the third briefing session began and I attended Mr. Alex Sanchez’s talk, where he talked about his non-profit Homies Unidos, and advised students to not get involved with gangs. Last but not least was the closing panel where student delegates got to vote for the 2016 Youth Town Meeting Conference theme, and listened to 3 more speaker, Mr. Mark Wexler, Mr. Ted Miles, and Ms. Wendy Strenberg.

After a long day of adhering information, everyone seemed more than satisfied and ready to take action on Healing the Wound of Violence.