Friday, September 28, 2012

Korean Teens Learn Conflict Resolution

Photo courtesy of Jihoon Sun of ROKing Korea

At a barbecue break during the summer Conflict Consortium 2012: Brian Oh, David Choe, Jason Chung, Hawk Kim, Ben Lee and Jeffery Ahn.
By Rachel Kim, Kate Park, 
Jessica Um and Michael Yoon
Junior Reporters
Youth Journalism International
ANSEONG, South Korea – After two hours of traveling on the bus, we finally arrived at the Korea Leadership Center in Anseong. Except for a few familiar faces on our summer adventure, we were surrounded by people we didn’t know. Though full of excitement, we were also concerned about the next two days we would have to spend in the new environment, for we did not have any idea of what to expect of Conflict Consortium 2012.
Moving into a large conference room and awkwardly forming into groups, we immediately proceeded to ice-breaker activities. We quickly learned each other’s names, interacted through various games, and shared good laughs as we built new relationships. With a friendly atmosphere, we easily transitioned into the introductory speech made by Jeffery Ahn, the director of Q& Education Group, who explained the main concepts and objectives of the camp.

Photo courtesy of Jihoon Sun of ROKing Korea

Ben Lee, David Kwak, Rachel Kim, Lisa Kim,
Hawk Kim and J.S. Huh work on the film.
What are intractable conflicts? This was the question that was to serve as the base of Conflict Consortium 2012.The main goal of the camp, presented by Ahn and Prof. Lyman McLallen, was to learn how to accept the existence of intractable conflicts while developing a “way out” for these world-wide disputes. We were to view ourselves as future leaders of the world who would, one day, find ways to dissolve destructive conflicts with constructive solutions.
On the second day of the camp, we trudged into the room unsure of what would happen next. After Ahn walked us through a conflict simulation, we talked about the situations in Korea. Each group was given an issue in Korea to research in preparation for a presentation on the final day of camp.
Photo courtesy of Jihoon Sun of ROKing Korea
Nayoung Kang, Jessica Um, Kate Park, Brian Oh, Michael Yoon and Rachel Kim working on their project.
After some brainstorming, we watched a documentary called “Seoul Train,” which told stories of North Koreans trying to escape their harsh life. It was heartbreaking to see so many people suffering for freedom, and often failing to obtain it.

As the day went on, our group became closer and closer, laughing and making jokes. We worked intensely on our presentations about the conflicts in Korea. Our topic, “Bullying in Korea,” was something we were all familiar with. We decided to take on the challenge of making an artistic and informative collage that depicts all of the factors that make this common, yet hardly acknowledged issue, an intractable conflict.
After almost two hours of working on the project, it was time for a barbecue party. From the backyard of one of the cabins, we could see the sun set over the mountains. We watched the Olympics as we ate and bonded with students outside our group.
However, we still had to finish preparing for our presentation. Our group stayed up until 1 a.m. to work on our poster. We were all tired from the day’s work, and our hands started to hurt from all the scissor work.
Photo courtesy of Jihoon Sun of ROKing Korea
Rachel Kim, Nayoung Kang, Kate Park and Jessica Um making their collage.
But of course, hard work pays off.
The next day when we presented in front of everyone, many people were impressed by our collage. The eye represented how bullying is everywhere but many people neglect it, and we portrayed all acts of bullying in the pupil to show the severity of the bullying problem in Korean schools.
Each of the presentations was meaningful, and the effort that everyone had put in was visible. By listening to each other’s presentations, we were able to learn about various conflicts occurring in Korea and how crucial each conflict was. This camp was a valuable program where everyone learned about and discussed problems in Korea that we hadn’t really noticed or thought deeply about before.
Photo courtesy of Jihoon Sun of ROKing Korea

Ricky Ahn and Jaehwi Lee working on the film

After giving our presentations, we worked on a film about stereotypes about Korea. It was a special project for our team to promote awareness of the typical stereotypes that are made about Koreans. The four of us were the directors, and we involved all of the other students in portraying the stereotypes on camera.
It took patient leadership to get everyone – even the youngest students – to cooperate and do their best, but with everyone’s efforts, it turned out quite well.
Right before we headed back, the teachers handed out awards to the groups with the best presentations and the groups that earned the most points from different activities.
Overall, Conflict Consortium was an unforgettable experience that afforded us an opportunity to learn about intractable conflicts and their severity, while also building new relationships.
Together, we worked as a family to cooperate and play our roles as future leaders of tomorrow. We shared moments of discovery, teamwork and laughter. And we are proud to have played a part in bringing attention to conflicts around the world and raising hopes of resolving them. 
Photo courtesy of Jihoon Sun of ROKing Korea
At the closing ceremony of the Conflict Consortium

1 comment:

LeaMikhaela said...

I think that you've build bridges in your activity and it's much better that you've got them kids get involved in the said Conflict Resolution event. That way they would learn on how to resolve conflicts in a subtle way. You did a very good job.