A Cultural Diplomacy Conference for Middle School Students presented by the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and the Penn Museum is the kick-off event of a rigorous Student Diplomat/Jr. Model United Nations Program, a five-month series of programs introducing students from around the Greater Philadelphia area to the world of international relations and cultural diplomacy. With an emphasis on developing students’ research, writing, and communication skills, the Student Diplomat Program meets a growing demand for international affairs curricula in area middle schools, preparing students for successful futures in an increasingly interconnected world.
Students come to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology on one of three days (250 students per day) in early January. At the Penn Museum, students will be introduced to a wide and culturally diverse world beyond their classroom walls, via docent tours of the renowned international collections and conversations with Museum International Classroom speakers from China, Greece, and Kenya, and archaeologists who have spent extensive time in Egypt and Italy. The conference program includes a keynote welcome and closing from World Affairs Council speakers, setting the stage for intercultural learning and framing the lessons that will follow in the spring semester.
The World Affairs Council, a non-profit organization whose mission is to create global citizens, devotes much of its energy to education. The Cultural Diplomacy Conference is for middle school students from all across the region in an effort to educate and prepare them to contribute to and succeed in a 21st century learning environment. The World Affairs Council brings students from public, private and charter schools around the Greater Philadelphia area together to debate and discuss issues of global importance.
Over the course of five months, 750 middle school students will gather to examine global conflicts and trends while working together to create promising solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges. The program emphasizes building cultural competency and diplomatic skills; expanding knowledge of world geography, cultures and political structures; and increasing understanding of how national and international institutions tackle key global issues. This year’s focus: “Ending Food Insecurity” and “Protecting Women’s and Girls’ Access to Education.”