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Summer 2009

Awakening: the Atlantic College experience exposes students to worldwide issues

Yaroslav Zabavskiy

Atlantic College: opening visions

y little sister died. i watched the tears flowing down her face, seemingly endless streams, transforming her beautiful dark eyes into deep lakes of lament and sorrow. But I thought she just had a cold? Why did your parents not take her to hospital? I thought there was a trace of marvel at my naivety in her sad smile. Andrea, you dont understand. No, i did not understand. all i could do was sit down next to her, press her against me and feel the shivers going through her. This was different to me crying in my mothers arms over some boy that had dumped me. The idyllic world of my childhood was shattering around me, each memory a piece of broken glass painfully stinging its way into my heart with every sob of hers. One of the most striking features of the Atlantic College experience for me was the brutality with which it suddenly exposed me to everyday reality. Some of the ideals I had believed in were shred to pieces in

front of my eyes and I could do nothing but try to understand. always sheltered by my parents never-ending love, I had developed a very hopeful approach to the world. People love each other and there are difficulties, but together we may overcome these difficulties. or so i thought. She later explained to me that her parents could not possibly have raised the necessary money to take her to hospital. You must know that 300 is a lot of money in Africa. Again the smile around her lips, not powerful enough to extend to her cheeks. The feelings I had that night are blurred in my memory. but what i started realizing was that for some people, there is no tomorrow. My nave belief in Switzerlands aid to developing countries and in the goodwill of the world all the consolation I had gained from living in ignorance was being destroyed in that moment. While 300 in Switzerland buys some new clothes, the absence in Africa made a little girl die. In Switzerland, poverty in Africa is a

phrase repeated so often that it has almost become a leftist political clich. Thinking back, I believe that I had been living in total alienation from humanity. I think I needed a place like Atlantic College to understand the world as one. Africa is no longer a distant political concept; rather, it is part of humankind and therefore of me. Seeing inequality this close up is what struck me that night. I saw the extent of my former ignorance. there is a new reality now. Although it was hard in the beginning, I know that this step has been a step towards maturity. Andrea Daniela Mihic School: UWCAC 2007-09, Home country: Switzerland When I say today that I want to do good in this world, it is not for diplomatic reasons, but because Atlantic College taught me that poor or rich, we are all human and as such we all deserve love and care

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A book is like a garden that you carry in your pocket says an Arabic proverb. Welcome to the second issue of United Words, which we hope will be just as colourful and interesting as a garden to you. The articles will give you a glimpse into the lives of our students from around the world and illustrate where their interests lie. Every person has their own story to tell and United Words aims to make a few of those heard. to read more articles, please visit Feel free to share your thoughts and tell us your story. Bjrn Bremer

Atlantic College: opening visions UWC in Mostar under threat of closure Confronting poverty at home in Wales UWCs aim to promote global friendship UWC Waterford united against xenophobia peter Howe and the UWC boutique MIDDLE EAST The magical land of Yemen Unacceptable invasion of Gaza Israel and Palestine: a personal viewpoint AFRICA Working with the Darfur Boys in the Sudan ASIA/PACIFIC Aftershocks of the Mumbai terrorist attacks Memories of an idyllic childhood in Fiji A free Tibet: worth fighting for? Future of Tibet as part of One China

Cover 3 4 5 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 12 13 13 14 15 16 16 17 17 18 18

EUROPE Hopes for ending the Russia-Georgian conflict Segregation still stifles peace in Northern Ireland NORTH AMERICA How we can change our global leaders behaviour Life growing up in a fishing family in Alaska new US president brings hope against all odds Now its not just up to Barack, its up to all of us SOUTH AMERICA Bolivians turning to a new dawn Venezuela: slipping into anarchy

COMMENT Beating the economic crisis by saving the environment 19

INITIATIVE UWCAC charity - changing lives, one smile at a time 20 20 UWCAC, on behalf of the Spreading the UWC spirit through the airwaves United Words team United Words: the editorial team 20
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Uncertain future for UWC Mostar


ecember started with a huge shock; our whole school was in disbelief. After our Monday morning assembly, some students walked out with tears in their eyes and others could not get a word out of their mouths for the whole day. In the corridors, the most common sentence heard was this cant happen. that morning students at the UWC in Mostar were told that the school had very serious financial problems and that the Executive Board had decided not to enrol a new generation of students for the next school year. Under the circumstances, the board had to choose between four options: a complete closure of the school; continuing the school but losing the UWC status; continuing the school but decreasing the number of first-years, with the possibility of still not having enough funds; or lastly, taking an enrolment break while a more sustainable financial model for the school could be developed. Since closure was rather undesirable and the amount of money needed for a new generation was seemingly out of reach, the last option was chosen. As you can imagine, students were shocked. With all due respect, we can comprehend the boards decision in light of the financial crisis; however, we feel that we cannot accept it without trying our utmost to find the required funds needed for a new generation. We feel that UWC Mostar is so unique that it genuinely deserves the chance to continue. In todays world, the UWC concept is especially important in postconflict places like Bosnia-Herzegovina. Isnt the UWC mission statement to unite people, nations and cultures through education? UWCs mission is precisely fulfilled within the walls of UWCiM. This school does not only provide students from the Balkans a chance to make direct contact with other cultures, but also gives them an opportunity for a better further education, says Milana Kuzmonovic, a Serbian Bosnian. Under normal circumstances, Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs are separated into different educational systems. The fact that these three ethnic groups go to the same classes, live in the same rooms and become the best of friends, is a big step for Bosnia and Herzegovina and a realistic symbol of hope for their future. UWC Mostar is the only school in bosnia Herzegovina where such cultural interaction takes place. Furthermore, UWCiM also supports local teachers and improves their prospects through the ib program. Just by living in Mostar, students make changes to the daily lives of citizens. Not only through our CAS-activities are we a part of the citys every day life, but we

Students from UWC in Mostar are fighting for the schools survival due to financial problems

Under threat: the future of the United World College in Mostar hangs in the balance also integrate with the students in our shared Gymnasia building, as our school is just one of three different schools using the same facilities. We invite them to activities which we organize and give them the chance to be in a multicultural surrounding in a city and a country that is based on ethnic and cultural divisions. For us students, closure of the school is not an option, and a generation gap feels like a step backward. UWCiM is a young school, Already, several student meetings concerning the schools future have been held and throughout our winter break we have been working on a portfolio which contains information about student life, CAS activities, and other important issues which could be distributed to potential donors. Were working on press releases, letters to National Committees, and supporting the Development Task Force, which is being formed to determine how the school will function financially in the future. We know there are no easy solutions for our situation, but we hope that as fellow members of our UWC family, you too feel the necessity of UWCiMs continuance. No matter what happens, we feel the spirit in our school and we do not want to give up. If you feel you are in a place to help, please contact us. Visit our website for more information or send an email to Lara Savenije, a student from the Netherlands (, or to our Head Teacher Paul Regan, who is willing to answer all your questions ( We are thankful for any support you can give us. Riikka Karttunen School: UWCiM, Lara Savenije School: UWCiM, Home country: Netherlands

No matter what happens, we feel the spirit in our school and we do not want to give up
having existed for only two and a half years. All the activities created, all the traditions instilled and the hard work done suddenly feel useless when we realize that we wont be able to pass on that experience to a new generation of our own first years. We would love to teach them all about our school and its challenges, as well as help them to be inspired and educated by these experiences as we have been. This second stage of the UWC experience is crucial if we are to reach our potential and continue to heal the ethnic wounds so engrained in this country.

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Confronting poverty close to home

tudents at atlantic College always talk about being trapped inside a sort of AC bubble. It often does feel that contact with the outside community is awfully minimal, for example if you dont actively follow a news item, say something as gigantic as the ongoing financial crisis, you might well find yourself completely sealed from its signs and effects here, in our cradle of comfort, apart from the odd shop that closes in Llantwit Major, our local town. It is of course understandable, considering the busy schedules of staff and students, that there simply isnt the time for more interaction with our surrounding country and its people. It is, nevertheless, a shame especially as there is so much that needs to be done, and since our purpose of being here so heavily leans on the mission of compassion and service and action and personal example. Wales might be a part of one of the most prosperous countries in the world, according to some indicators, but, quite alarmingly, has some of the worst poverty statistics in the developed world. These statistics reflect the hushed inequality here, in what seems to be, from my perspective, still a quite a class-based society. Every third child in the UK lives in poverty, and every tenth in severe poverty, sustaining on average on 19 per day. Furthermore, the social situation in Wales, on its own, is in fact comparable with some of the poorest countries in the European Union, with its GDP per capita only 82 per cent of that in the UK as a whole. Personally, I came to understand these statistics and their consequences only recently and certainly not through arriving and departing at the flamboyant Heathrow airport and then perhaps visiting the confines of central Cardiff and London. I came to understand them partly through my project week, and partly through being in social services, perhaps the only college service whose primary function is interacting with and helping the community of people outside the college. The project week I spent teaching Year Three in a primary school in a fairly impoverished area of Barry, a historically working class town in Wales; an experience which echoed the array of social issues arising from poverty in the UK. One boy, only seven years old, told me excitedly about his grannys 60th birthday; then casually added that he only wished his mother hadnt had a drug problem, so that he wouldnt have to celebrate the occasion alone with granny, with mum in heaven. Fragments of stories like this werent wholly uncommon as the children

Social services students of UWCAC in action probably felt like telling these kinds of things to someone other than a family member. The school had, however, done well in encouraging the students to express their feelings and you could read poems by the older students posted on the walls: slightly disturbing poems about dysfunctional families, bullying, loneliness, and deprivation. The history of inequality and poverty in Wales dates back to the English colonialism and suppression of Welsh sovereignty and economic independence, which is still to some extent the case. Margaret Thatchers economic policies in the 1980s, when she was Prime Minister, brought down the dominating coal and metal industries in Wales, resulting in mass unemployment and economic inactivity, as it took a long time to recover from such a shock to the economy. Also, if you asked the elderly Welsh couple I visit for service, the money from the industries never went to the pockets of the common people in Wales in the first place, rather to England. Wales is still classified as an exceptionally low pay economy. Now, although Wales has developed other alternative industries, unemployment remains an issue with a rate of 10 per cent for young adults, a dispiriting start for a life, combined with the high dropout rates of teens from education. Bridgend, close by, is known by every student at the College for its high nationally recognised suicide and teenage pregnancy rates. apart from a few social service sessions, we go there for shopping. The kind of outreach work that the Social Service does could be much deepened and extended. We students

Yaroslav Zabavskiy are more than eager to get a hundred of ourselves to Cardiff to protest for the cause of global justice in Palestine, but when it comes to the ideal of starting with local, we are still somewhat lacking in action and our knowledge of the surroundings. Much more could be done given the indispensable resource of such a diverse group of students who are willing and able. To me there seems to be a public sensitivity towards poverty in the UK: because the country is developed, it is as if there was no excuse to be poor no excuse to be fortunate at birth. Especially now, with the gloomy effects of the economic recession underway, people are going to face increasing unemployment as companies seek cheaper solutions. Youth in particular will face poorer employment opportunities when they enter professional life, wages might drop even lower and people will experience more depression and mental problems as a result. Also children will be born to these families receiving bad nutrition and exposure to discouraging factors as result of poverty and public services will be economically more strained in taking care of these children, the disabled, the unemployed and the elderly. So if we claim in times like these that there is not much for us UWC students to do service-wise in a developed country like the UK, we are wrong and should shrug off our presumption and act. Rina Kuuspalo School: UWCAC 2008-10, Home country: Finland

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Aim to promote global friendships
nited World College of the Atlantic hosted the UWCs bi-annual International Board meeting earlier this year. United Words was able to gain an exclusive interview with Tim Toyne Sewell, Chair of the International UWC Board. He conveyed his open approach to the students and faculty who were present. His eager nature in this regard is admirable and demonstrated a commitment at the very core of UWC. He also provided unique insights as to the vision and direction the movement will take. tim toyne Sewell recently retired after 12 years as Director of Goodenough College in London, having been a General in the British Army and Commandant of the royal Military academy Sandhurst. He was elected as Chairman of the International Board on October 1, 2006. He expressed his hope that the challenges lying ahead could be addressed effectively at the international board meeting. Most importantly, the start of a new fundraising campaign to find global donors, the expansion of the UWC movement and the revision of the governance at the colleges and the international board all needed to be dealt with. According to Tim, the movements main aim always has to be to fulfil the UWC mission statement. The movement constantly has to try to make education a force to unite

people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. In addition, the UWC movement has to seek to create a network which can increase global stability. Global friendship has to be further promoted. In order to achieve this, more people need to become aware of the UWC movement and more students need to be given the chance to attend a UWC. this is only possible by opening new colleges in the future or finding other vehicles such as outreach programmes to take the message forward. Yet, Tim emphasized that no new college can be opened at the expense of another, referring

In many ways, students are a lot better represented than they might think
to the financial pressures facing us all. realistically this means that a new college is only likely to be opened every four or five years. When asked what the main differences between the UWCs and other international schools around the world are, Tim said that most definitely it is the students that make the difference. At every UWC students

make the college and they are different to other students because they came under their own scheme. they choose to apply themselves and were selected by a national committee to represent their country. Also, the amount of social service is different. At other international schools, students mostly attend classes and only do a minimum amount of service and activities. UWC students on the other hand, tend to socially interact to a far greater extent. In fact, it is the core to the everyday life at every college. Nevertheless, Tim emphasized that student involvement in college life as well as in the decision and policy making process is a vital element of any college and key to their success. However, Tim also acknowledged that it is difficult to actively involve students into the work of the International Board, which includes many alumni and representatives from the national committees. They talk exclusively about students and their concerns. in many ways, students are a lot better represented than they might think. For the future, Tim says, alumni need to be used more efficiently as their experience as former students can take the movement forward. Bjrn Bremer School: UWCAC 2007-09, Home country: Germany

UWC Waterford united against xenophobia

aterford Kamhlaba has made a united front on the current xenophobic attacks in South Africa and our response is NO! No to the acts of violence that represent clear disregard of human life, no to the discrimination of the African people amongst one another and perhaps most distinctly, no to the fact that there was little that we as a college could do to address the problem. The Amnesty International group, led by Vivian Ojo, a Waterford student from Namibia, has formulated a core group of students initiative on the anti-xenophobia movement. It was her trip to Johannesburg that opened her eyes to the inhumane acts of xenophobia. I believe that anyone can speak of the spirit and the ethos of a United World College but the true challenge arises when one must step outside the open minded and culturally accepting community of a UWC to the wider world, said Vivian. The anti-xenophobia movement was launched at the Waterford Kamhlaba Fete.

The group manned a shack that would represent the plight faced by the recently displaced foreigners in South Africa. The stall contained articles and comments both globally and contextually concerning the xenophobic attacks and perhaps more importantly concerning the underlying reasons for the surfacing of what may appear as a spontaneous revolt. there were also quizzes and pointers involving the seven simple things you can do against xenophobia. it was at this stall that the anti-xenophobia chain was formed and it has since grown. This is a paper chain of black and white paper strips that each has messages inscribed on them and the names and ages of those who have donated at least 50 cents to the cause. the money that the school have raised has been used directly to buy blankets for the many foreigners who have been sheltering themselves in local police stations since the attacks spiralled out of control. Waterford Kamhlaba is calling on her sister United World Colleges to join her

in the building of the anti-xenophobia chain in their colleges in order to expand a gesture of solidarity to the victims of xenophobic acts. Information about the chain and its aims can be found on the Facebook group against xenophobia started for all United World College supporters to join. Over the past few months the actual attacks have halted, but there remains great distrust, uncertainty and general unease in the region. What is most disconcerting about xenophobia is that it is a reminder of the harshest era of South African history 15 years ago under the apartheid regime. A memory so bitter that even the scent of it is enough to arouse great concern in South Africa as well as in the entire Southern African region. This incident, although it hasnt spread into the Swaziland borders, is indeed too close to home. Karoline Komolafe School: UWC Waterford

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One of the youngest principals discusses the future of the UWC movement


Peter Howe and the UWC boutique

eter Howe, a Canadian, is one of the youngest principals of the UWC international board and is currently headmaster of the United World College of the Adriatic. During the UWC heads meeting held at atlantic College (aC) in Wales, he discussed the future of the UWC movement, focusing on the challenges and obstacles hindering the path towards the attainment of the UWC mission: to make education a force to unite people from all over the world, under a unique flag of hope and understanding. United Words was able to take this opportunity to interview him. One of the biggest issues related to UWCs is their ideological frailty within the local communities. Adriatic College is very different from AC, since it is actually set within a small village called Duino. How does that ease the relationship between the college and the community? Being set in a village undoubtedly has its advantages: the 200 students studying at the Adriatic are likely to be easily considered as part of the local community. However, you cant change much in the locals minds. The north east of Italy is one of the most conservative regions and as such, there will always be a portion of the population looking with angst at people coming from all over the world with different religions and different cultures. I am talking about the eldest layers of the society, those which may still be influenced by the fascist era. One of the greatest problems of AC is that most of our services do not actually have the desired impact upon the community. We do not help as much as we should. In this case Adriatic can be proud of his own peculiarities, I guess. And, to a greater extent, we could look at this as a metaphor for one of the greatest questions hindering our future. What about the lack of effective help towards the community? There is a lack of realism between the UWCs. We still hold the suppositions that all our students will become diplomats, or politicians, and we delegate positions to them in hope for the future. But times and the whole system of politics, have changed. We may run the risk of seeing our students ending up as pieces of clothing in a boutique. The question is: are we sure that they will be able to change things? diplomats or politicians have now lost their predominance. I wonder where that will lead.

How would you implement the UWC system? I was shocked when I heard of the fall in the number of applicants for the Italian national committee during the past few years. My experience has taught me that this is not a trend confined to Italy. Although I come from the same country, I had never heard about the Canadian UWC, although it has been established since the 1970s. i guess the blame for this lack of knowledge ought to be put on protective parents trying to lessen the chances of possible competitors when their sons/daughters try to apply for the UWC network. As long as this problem persists, we will not be able to change the situation. yet the issue is now extended to nations and governments: UWCs tend to be economically avoided, in terms of support, whilst they should be treated as testimonials for democratic status by the nations hosting them, especially for rich countries such as italy.

And the Adriatic, I presume? The UWC of the Adriatic was built in the middle of the barrier between communist world and Western Europe. As a challenge, I guess we accomplished a lot. Is there still friction between the sons and daughters of the east-west cold war? Europeans constitute just a small portion of the actual alumni body: most of our students still come from the Balkans. As such, we are lucky to witness the relations between the outcome of the cold war generation and the world of today. What makes us different from an international boarding school? This is one of the most pressing questions for the international board. Celebrating about ourselves and our idealistic creed is pointless; by doing so we would end up being like every other international school. We need to remind ourselves that only UWCs can recruit students from 80 countries. We need to foster the role of service alongside the IB diploma programme. I personally found it liberating to be told that i must engage in community service as part of my job. I strongly believe we all benefit from it, no matter where it is aimed at. But, most of all, we need to make our mission central to the UWC core. We should ask: does focusing on the diploma make us lose the ideological strength we all share and therefore lessen our chances of reaching our goals? What is the current role and what will be the future role of the UWC movement? The most important task we have been given is re-imagining our mission. UWCs aim to make students the ethical leaders of the world. Times have changed, but ethics need to be at the core of the mission. We shall reassess everything, bearing in mind the beliefs sustaining our institutions enabling students to carry out our idealistic changes. It will be a united, fundamental mission and not just an experience peculiar to colleges as separate entities. We need to remind ourselves that this is all about joining a movement, a movement destined to turn idealism into practice. Leonardo Goi School: UWCAC 2007-09, Home country: Italy Atlantic College taught me the importance of always questioning the validity of concepts I had taken for granted, but it did so with humility and simplicity.

UWCs have to make students the ethical leaders of the world

Do you think that expanding the UWC movements with other colleges is the best solution to tackle this issue? Once more, this is the question. The UWC in Maastricht will be a good indicator of the future trend. UWCs should be advertised, and a much greater role should be put on the international board. We have come to a turning point of the UWC history: most of us heads have not come through the traditional UWC path: studying in a United World College, going to University and then come back to the same college and become teacher and possibly headmaster. We are all young, and as such eager to foster the network with new ideas coming from outside the UWC boutique. I particularly like this metaphor. Its sinisterly accurate. UWCs and UWCers have become clothes to be exposed in shops, as a status of political superiority. But how much can they actually change to improve the system? If we want to be effective, then we should look at the conflict areas the Middle East, for instance, rather than building new UWCs in the richest nations on earth. the United World College in Mostar was built upon those foundations.

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Heritage site: Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen, is one of the oldest surviving cities in the world

The magical land of Yemen

part from its geographical location I did not know anything about Yemen when I moved there last year, nor did I have any idea that the next twelve months of my life would be so rich in experiences. Once you get over the initial shock of seeing piles of rubbish littering the streets, or the reckless driving, you begin to appreciate all that yemen has to offer. There is something magical about the land that boasts one of the first highrises of the world, built some 1,500 years ago in Wadi Hadramaunt - home to the Bin Laden family. These mud buildings are often referred to as the Manhattan of the east. Bottom heavy they taper upwards casting an alluring, magical scene against the backdrop of the setting sun. Marib, in northern Yemen, was also the home of the queen of Sheba. Her throne as well as the relics from the tribe of Saba (ancient name of Yemen), still stand as proof of Yemens rich heritage. It does not end there. Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen, is one of the oldest surviving cities in the world. a UneSCo world heritage site, it is home to a culture deeply embedded in a society that refuses to advance with time. It is 6 oclock and I was standing in front of a burning flame with a man who could well be as old as my great grandfather,

waiting for him to hand me my tea. He takes his time; each cup is made individually. He spends time putting the correct amount of condensed milk and sugar in the tea. It is a perfect muddy brown colour and very hot. I have to set it down on the sidewalk of the saila (main road in the old city). As I sit there, carefully sipping the tea so that it doesnt burn my tongue, I take in my surroundings. This is Sanaa gadima (old Sanaa) where the souk of spices, incense, jambias and silver jewellery is timeless and thriving. It is easy to get lost in this maze of unique architecture, bustling with men nagging you to buy what they have to offer. And true to the Arab style, no deal is struck without some bargaining. It is a mans world, where women hide behind black veils. However this isnt to say that purdah has utterly destroyed the power that women have. The home is still their terrain and they are very much in command. The people of Yemen are very mild and contrary to popular belief unaggressive. Their generosity knows no bounds, and as a foreigner walking on the street you are likely be approached by a stranger just wanting to welcome you to his country. Despite their poverty they are proud people who are not bothered by anything. Come noon, a bag of qat (a plant that is chewed in social gatherings) coupled with a bottle

of water is seen in the hand of almost every Yemeni man. Cheeks stuffed with leaves do not provide a pleasant sight, but it is a must in their society. Its side effects are serious and though not additive, it is a habit that is costing the nation immensely. Yemen is home to me, not only because I have lived there for a year, but because my family is originally from there. Although, I dont look like the people and dont follow the same traditions, their warmth and love has won me over. Being in Yemen, one is transported back in time to a period when life was simpler. It is strange that in a place labelled dangerous by the West, I feel safer walking the streets as a woman than anywhere else. From its rich heritage, vibrant culture and magical feel, to its delicious food and generous people, Yemen is probably one of the most misunderstood countries of the world. Zainab Syed School: UWCAC 2007-09, Home country: Pakistan I appreciate the diversity of my expatriate life, so I came to Atlantic College to immerse myself in a place that brings together people from everywhere. The richness of this experience is second to none.

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Unacceptable invasion of Gaza
Israels attack fails on all three criteria for a justifiable war, argues Alex Michie

he assault and invasion of Gaza is completely, 100 per cent unacceptable, and the failure of the leaders of the free world to say so is sickening. The line taken is that Israel was in an untenable position, left with no choice but to invade Gaza in order to stop the unprovoked, incessant rocket attacks. However, the rocket attacks were not unprovoked, the population of Israel was not in an untenable position, and Israel had not run out of alternatives. When the situation is clearly analysed there can be no doubt even to the most hardened Zionist that Gaza was in a genuinely untenable position. Israels economic blockade of the strip had led to widespread poverty even humanitarian aid was blocked from entering Gaza. The apartheid wall had separated communities. Freedom of movement was nonexistent. Farmers could no longer tend their land. Education and infrastructure were terrible. Precious water in Gaza was being used to tend the land of farms once owned by refugees in Gaza, now owned by Israeli settlers. young men and women had little or no prospects of earning a living once leaving school. False imprisonment or murder of family members by Israel was not uncommon, even during the ceasefire. This could not continue indefinitely. No nation could withstand this. earlier this year the economist cited three criteria that must be fulfilled in order to fight a justified war: a country must have exhausted all other means of defending itself; the attack must be proportionate to the objective; and it must stand a reasonable chance of achieving its goal. 1. Alternatives. Gaza had exhausted its one other alternative method to end the blockade it asked Israel to end the blockade as condition of the continuation of the ceasefire. Israel said no and the international community did nothing. This left Gaza with two options: sign the treaty and continue withering indefinitely until Gaza eventually died, or to fight. 2. Proportionate. Prior to Israel invasion of Gaza, the rocket attacks tragically killed 4 Israeli civilians. This, however, is a tiny number of deaths compared to any other war in human history waged in defence of a country, indicating that

Hamas rocket attacks were entirely proportionate to the objective of ending the blockade. 3. Reasonable chance of success. Israel has now shown signs that it may end the economic blockade of Gaza showing that Hamas had a reasonable chance of achieving its goal. Israel, on the other hand, fails all three criteria miserably. Additionally, it was not in an untenable position. their land and water is fertile and plenty. Their economy is relatively strong and subsidised in the billions by the USa and the eU. their military power rivals that of all but America. It has gained ever more acceptance into the European community it clearly isnt a part of (this ranges from trivial things like an entry into the European song contest, to far more important things like European Unions Favourable Trade Agreement, stimulating exports and economic growth). To end the economic blockade that was so crippling to Gaza would not have ended this high quality of life in Israel, it would have just improved the lives of millions in Gaza. The blockade was continued for political reasons, not security ones. Israels refusal to end the blockade led to deterioration in security and to a drastic downturn in southern Israels quality of life due to the resumed rocket fire. Do not be fooled however, whilst terrible, the rocket fire was not crippling Israel the way the Blockade or the Wall was in Gaza. More Israelis were being murdered by other Israelis than by Hamas rocket fire. This is because the legitimate army of Gazas democratically elected government is not well equipped, nor well trained, it is not large, and it is not well funded. Its inadequacy means it is of no real threat to Israel. However, Israel can never defeat it. So long as there are angry young men and women in Gaza (and there always will be until they are treated better by israel and the

international community) there will be home made rockets entering Israel. The incessant murder that was caused by the israeli invasion of Gaza will not remedy this, it will make it worse. Israel had numerous, less inhumane, and all far more effective, ways to stop the rockets. Firstly, it could have ended the blockade of Gaza, ending some of the poverty and misery there which fuels Hamas, and allowing the continuation of the cease fire. This would have improved the lives of Israelis and Palestinians alike, without having to resort to war crimes. If feeling truly charitable, Israel could have dismantled the apartheid wall condemned whole heartedly by the UN and even half-heartedly by the UK, Germany and the USA. It could have released Palestinian prisoners held without fair trial. It could have apologised for unjustifiably murdering protesters, including an English aid worker killed whilst trying to protect a group of children from Israeli fire. Thus, Israels war fails on all three counts of justification: it had not exhausted all other means of defending itself; the attack is certainly not proportionate to the objective; and it does not stand any chance of achieving its goal. Those who refuse to condemn Israels actions, whilst claiming to be on the side of human life are hypocritical. only by widespread international condemnation of the invasion of Gaza, of the economic blockade, of the apartheid wall will the human right to life in Israel/ palestine be supported by the international community. At the age of four, I had learnt that the way to deal with injustice was not further injustice. At the age of 60, Israel has yet to do the same. Alex Michie School: UWCAC 2006-08, Home country: England

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israel and palestine: a personal viewpoint

Online debate
Watch a video of Israeli and Palestinian students debating the conict in the Middle East as well as other videos covering global and college affairs on the United Words Channel:

am looking, observing. It is strange hearing your family and friends being talked about on the news. I can see, from here in Wales, disturbing images of war. Faces of people and places I know so well, in the midst of a war which never seems to end. I quietly listen to the news, follow every development and now must make judgements without being surrounded by a community which always agrees with me. Being with people from all over the world opens my mind to a variety of opinions and ideas. I am glad for that; Ive zoomed out and i see now a much bigger picture. Sometimes I wonder what its like to grow up in a peaceful country like Britain, Norway or Japan. What its like to walk the streets and not be afraid. Not having to justify your existence to people who will never accept you. i made the decision to come to atlantic College (aC) in order to learn about peace and what others believe. i wanted the opportunity to listen to Palestinians shouting, debating, crying and understanding. It is an emotional subject, but its about time we open it up. If a solution is reached for the Gaza conflict it must be permanent. We cannot stand for another ceasefire that will crumble in less than 24 hours. there must be a real solution to this very real problem. Saying that, we still have obstacles to overcome. people on both sides decided to use their religion as an excuse to murder others. Recently the UN has blamed Hamas for causing this humanitarian crisis. I believe that Hamas is the enemy for all peace seekers, and for the Palestinians themselves. But this is not what this article is about. this article is about my hope that we can build a new future, for the residents of Sderot and Gaza, and find a resolution. When we reach that agreement, we can really work for a better future. But an agreement must come first. I can easily act like everyone else and choose a side, but that is exactly what our parents have done for the past 60 years. We are a younger generation a new, open-minded generation, who have come to this school to find solutions and to make the changes they think are for the better. There is no time better than now. Yarden Ben David School: UWCAC 2008-10, Home country: Israel

Articles regarding the Middle East online at Atlantic Colleges Failure to reach a constructive standpoint on Gaza Gaza Conflict: Entirely the fault of the Palestinian government Atlantic Colleges Israelis and Palestinians debate Gaza

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Let us hope that we will be able

Charles Taban, a Salesian Brother of Don Bosco working with the Darfur Boys in the Sudan talked to Valentin Jeutner at the UNESCO NGO conference in Paris last September
Charles, how difficult was it for you to get here from the Sudan? I had to travel from the south to the north to Khartoum City and before coming to France we had to make several arrangements. We had to get an invitation from the Salesian Mission in Paris. I was the last person to get my visa because I had to travel to Khartoum from the south, and the only way to do that is by lorry. That takes you about three to four days. Eventually I arrived in Paris. How did you hear of the conference? Two month ago I received an email from the representative of the Salesians to UNESCO asking us to attend. What was your mission here at the conference and what did you expect? First of all I thought it felt good to come, to get out of my surroundings in the Sudan and to see what was going on in the rest of the world. I wanted to see what people were talking about and I felt it was also a good opportunity to tell the international community about what is going on in Sudan and to draw the attention of the world to my country. What are you and the Salesian Brothers doing in Sudan? I am a teacher by profession. Last year I moved from Tanzania to Sudan after spending time in Nairobi working with street boys. We have a reach out programme to empower young people. This involves groups of young people working for other young people. We have youth groups trying to help others the same age, because young people seem to listen more to their peers rather than to elders or other people who come giving talks. I worked closely with a group who run a similar programme in tanzania. When I came to Sudan, I was asked to


Sudan has been at war for the past 50 years and many people still do not know their legal right work with the Darfur Boys. I would supply them with food and clothes whilst keeping an eye on them and spending time educating them. What drives you while working with the boys, where does your passion to help other people come from? Being a victim of a forced migration myself and a victim of a violation of human rights I felt I was the right person to help. I felt I could work with them, to help them to realise higher goals in life, rather than just be stuck in the situation. The boys of Darfur were especially affected being displaced and having their rights violated. They have all gone through the same, but Darfur seems to be the focus of the international community. Is there anything you think that people who do not come from Sudan, people from outside could do, apart from nancial assistance, to improve the situation in Sudan? Many people do not know of their legal rights, Sudan has been at war for the past 50 years. throughout all those years our people did not know what their rights were, so how can I help them to know their rights? How we can do that is the thing we have to find out. For me the first thing I would like to do


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e to transform our societies

what was going on outside. When I moved to Kenya I was not completely unsure of what lay ahead, but I guess I put my trust in God and my companions helped me find the right way. During your work with the Darfur Boys did you experience any other help, such as the government for example? There are some agencies that are providing funds, but most help we receive is from individuals, their number is huge. There are people who contribute small amounts of money, which is okay because all these small amounts add up to help others around us. there are other agencies including Manos Unidas who help us with other projects. besides that there is the Salesian congregation, which has been very good to us. Our head from Rome quite often sends something to us and that helps. Do the Salesians as a catholic congregation also provide help to nonChristians and victims of other faith? Some of our own teachers are Muslims and are doing a great work. They are helping a lot. our centre is open to everybody whether you are Christian, Muslim or even without faith. Do you have a vision, a perspective for Darfur for the next 10-15 years, or do you get the impression you are working for the good in order to avoid that which is getting worse? Regarding the Darfur issue I have no idea. When we were starting the programme for the Boys of Darfur, there were few of us. At first there were only 50 of us. Then there were 100, then 150, then 200 and last year 400. this year we are also expecting 400. but regarding the youth for youth movement, I know it is something which will work out. There are many young people in the Sudan who are willing to get involved in the project, but need someone to tell them what to do. In the two days that I spent there, I was able to gain useful information and learn a lot. I was able to gain knowledge and insight in to a different culture and when I get back - though I will not be directly able to change everything - I will start the new programme to try and inspire young people, whilst educating them. It will all work out. Let us hope we will be able to transform our societies for the better. Valentin Jeutner School: UWCAC 2006-08, Home country: Germany

ts is to start a movement with young people for human rights, which means organising young people to go out and teach their peers about their rights. that can be through seminars, debates, organising conferences and even through games and sports. These are the kinds of things I will try to do, having been influenced by the conference in paris. and although i may not be able to reach out to so many people in Sudan, even if I am only able to educate a small group, it will be a break out a point where the youth can learn about their rights. When did the Salesian Brothers come into your life?

Subhadip Mukherjee i studied at a Salesian school in my hometown before I moved to Kenya when I had to leave my country, the Salesian brothers helped me. Seeing the good things the Salesians did to me, I felt, I could do the same for other young people. And I can do it by joining the same congregation that helped me. That was also a driving motive. A few months before you moved, did you get the impression you could do something, maybe change something? At the beginning when I left I never thought of changing the situation because of where I was I was living in a place where there was no information about

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Aftershocks of the Mumbai attacks

hat if? was the choice phrase on the Mahindra United World College of india (MUWCi) campus in November last year. It was whispered in the cafeteria, muttered in classrooms and discussed in our houses. What if it had happened two days later, when MUWCI students would have been enjoying a meal at Leopolds Caf, or using the toilet in luxury at the Taj Mahal Hotel, or trying to find a train in the Victoria Terminus? What if we had been there when it happened? As horrifying as these thoughts are, no what ifs are needed to create a general sense of terror and loss. What really occurred is frightening enough by itself. On Wednesday 26 November at about 22.00 hours, a group of highly armed terrorists raked havoc on Indias economic capital, the megacity of Mumbai, roughly 160km away from MUWCI. Their targets seemed to be symbols of decadence and foreign involvement in India, places such as the Taj Mahal and Oberoi Hotels, two of the most luxurious establishments in the city. Others included Leopolds Caf, a favourite haunt for generations of backpackers (and MUWCI students), Mumbais central railway station, near the tourist hub of the city. Over 150 people were killed. Although bomb blasts are unfortunately frequent in India (earlier last year both Delhi and the north-eastern state of Assam were hit), this situation has been different because of its magnitude and the targets.

Safe on the hill: Mahindra United World College of India In addition to bombings, there were hostage situations at both the taj Mahal and Oberoi Hotels. Gunmen stormed the popular tourist neighbourhood of Colaba (the location of the two hotels), and the city along with its stock market centre, Sensex, sat silent and motionless. Foreign citizens were primary targets: the terrorists seemed to be hunting down Westerners, and those with US and British passports were singled out during the hostage situations at the two hotels. the continuing impact on the MUWCi campus is unknown, despite the obvious ban of leaving the immediate area until the situation calms down. For now, we are safe at the top of our hill as we anxiously read reports on the situation, and its implications on Indian foreign relations and policy. it has also been reported that there may be implications for Indian-Pakistani affairs and communal relations within India. Amanda Lanzillo School: MUWCI

Memories of an idyllic childhood in Fiji

e spent hours swimming in the flooded streams, from sunrise to sundown until our eyes were red and our vision was blurred. Nobody ever drowned, but it really hurt when you came home and got a good hiding. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the sun went down. No one was able to reach us all day. no one was abducted. No cell phones. We did not have Playstations, Nintendo Wiis, XBoxes, DVD movies, surround sound, mobile phones, personal computers, or internet chat rooms. We made toys from empty boxes, dolls out of rags, vases from tin with crepe paper wrapped around it. We made toys from tobacco tins and toy cars from left over timber. We rode horses using bags as saddles, sometimes two or three on the same horse with the last one usually slipping and falling off at the back when we were going

Tropical paradise: Fiji

Gavin Mills

up a hill. We played rugby, soccer with balls made out of cloths tied together, used empty coke bottles or even used coconuts and we could run bare foot on gravel roads for miles. We had fights; we punched each other, stoned each other, but always got over it by the end of the day. We made up games using sticks, tennis balls and empty tinned fish cans (pani.) Sometimes the tennis balls really hurt when the other

team connected to get you out. Some students werent as smart as others, so failed their exams and were held back to repeat the same class. Horrors! the teachers smacked you for every wrong answer you gave and if you complained at home, you got another beating. It was always your fault, teachers and schools were never wrong. We had freedom, failure, success, responsibility, and we learnt how to deal with it all. I am proud to be from here. With love from the Fiji Islands! Letila Batisaresare School: UWCAC 2007-09, Home country: Fiji AC has broadened my thinking zone and helped me think beyond boundaries. It has helped me use my critical thoughts and appreciate the Almighty Lord even more!


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Should I compromise or take the risk of ghting for a free Tibet?
However, is this the right target? Is boycotting the olympics a just way to demonstrate? If not, then what is the right way that can be as effective as direct action? If not this time, then when? The youth inside me says with the peace of the Dalai Lama, we are not getting very far. Radical action is needed. But then I think about the irony. In order to resolve the injustice and violence in Tibet, we are subjecting others to violence and committing injustice to other innocent people. now raising awareness and attention, but I still feel that something is wrong. Maybe, The Dalai Lama was right. Violence is never an answer to peace and justice. He used to tell us, Ours is a unique struggle, as we are peaceful people. I associate with it as being a part of my Tibetan identity. But there is a new face of Tibet, a face of violence. When protesting, our intention has never been to be antagonistic towards the Chinese, but our action makes it susceptible to ill considerations. Quoting the Dalai Lama, perhaps Autonomy is our only way to fight for our right in a righteous way. China has wounded us so much; can I forgive and trust them? They say, Forgiveness is the greatest form of love. But when the forty years of peaceful dialogue has failed, shall I take the risk of compromising and achieving nothing or shall I take the risk of fighting for independence? Tenzin Yewong School: UWCAC 2007-09, Home country: Tibet What makes AC special is that when you learn of things happening around the world, you get opinions from people, mostly teenagers, who lived there. As such, it brings lively debate around campus as well arlier this year in the Guardian and on the BBC website, I found articles about Tibet on the front page. When I first saw those articles in the worldwide media, I felt happy knowing that someone was noticing our struggle; even though it was at the expense of violence and riots in my land. I felt that somewhere there was still hope. Maybe, our voices were going to be heard. Maybe, the radical youths were going to bring some fruition as the government had already given up on independence. But when I looked at the pictures of my fellow countrymen and our supporters protesting over the Olympic torch relay, I was torn. I felt ashamed that protests were against innocent people and asked myself why we were threatening boycott and protesting against those who wanted to celebrate the spirit of humanity? Its not the athletes or people of China that we are against - they deserve to host the Olympics - its the communist party we are against. But just as I started thinking that way, I felt guilty. How can I let go of this opportunity, at last we are able to tell the world about the almost silent oppression that has been happening for over four decades. How can I betray those Tibetans who sacrificed their lives for Tibet? If the athletes and common people are innocent, then so are Tibetans. I should use this chance to campaign for justice and our rights. What have we done wrong?

Its not the athletes or people of China that we are against... Its the communist party we are against
For far too long, I used to feel that whether we adopt Free Tibet or The Middle Way, it didnt matter. China is becoming a superpower economically. Consequently lots of nations are going to be interdependent on it for financial reasons. What country would give up their economy for Tibetan Independence or autonomy? The Olympics came and with it, the unprecedented uprisings in tibet. We are

SFT: misleading and hindering progress

irst I would like to claim that as a Chinese national; i insist there should be One China and do not support any political ideas of separating tibet. yet it is always my pleasure to discuss the Tibetan issue with Tenzin, my tibetan second year student at atlantic College. Discussions usually focus on the main barriers blocking communication between Students for a Free Tibet(SFT), an Atlantic College Organization, and Chinese people at the college. Let me illustrate one of the main contributors to differences between the groups, misleading and misconception, by means of an example. To attract the attention of Atlantic College students, SFT had placed posters outside the dining hall, the first sentence on which said Tibet is not a part of China. They demanded for independence in another poster. Note that even the Dalai Lama acknowledged in an interview with the South China Morning post (a Hong Kong

based newspaper) in 2005 that We are willing to be part of the Peoples Republic of China, to have it govern and guarantee to preserve our Tibetan culture, spirituality and our environment. No doubt, people may have different opinions about notions of autonomy and degrees of self-rule in regard to the preservation of culture, environment etc. Yet just looking at the SFT sentences, we note that they clash fundamentally with the Dalai Lamas words. Autonomy is in fact completely different from the concept of independence. Self-rule is carried out within a nation while independence is breaking a region apart from the state to become a separate one. the statement saying that Tibet is not a part of China is misleading to both the Chinese and the tibetans and thereby possibly indicating that the actions of SFT hinder the progress of the two sides to build mutual trust. Reading through the interview of Mr. Sonam

Dagpo, general secretary of the Department of International Relations of CTA (Central Tibetan Administration based in India), published on November 10, 2008 on United Words, I appreciated his effort to make dialogue with the Chinese Government and to respect Chinas unity and stability. In contradiction with the medias tendency to encourage acts of separatism, neither side is actually seeking to create a new nation. Without such common ground, it is almost impossible to establish any useful conversations. If SFT and any other people supporting Tibet aimed to begin constructive dialogue with the Chinese and tried to reach mutual consensus, they should change several directions and policies. Chris Cheng School: UWCAC 2008-10, Home country: Hong Kong

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I pray the situation will get better
Sunniva DaviesRommetveit talks to a russian student at atlantic College about the conflict between Russia and Georgia
Why do you think this conict started? The conflict started in the 1990s during the collapse of the USSR. Countries were breaking away from the USSR and there was some uncertainty about some territories. Tension has been ongoing for a long time but flared up once again recently because Georgia attacked South Ossetia. The Georgians bombed Chinvali to the ground, with no warning at night; this is unacceptable. When the Russians announced South Ossetia to be an independent country, are some peoples worries that the Russians just want spheres of control in those areas justied in your opinion? Georgia and Russia do not have a good relationship, it is true and I find it sad. However, the Russians do not want this territory; they have recognised its independence. Mikheil Saakashvili, the President of Georgia, has grown up in the USA and has, become very close with the USA. Do you believe that the American-like policies he seems to hold close have had an adverse affect on Russian/Georgian relations? If so, why? Yes, I believe so. Saakashvili is a bit strange in that he does not seem like a leader, he is too nervous: in one television interview he quickly looked up and ran away from the cameras believing that someone was out to bomb him. I believe he is too dependent on the West and therefore will only lean on america when times are hard; in the long run this is not a positive trait as leader. But I hope this tense situation between russia and Georgia, Russia and USA will be over one day, and we will develop, supporting and helping each other, living in peace. This is certainly the only way. What about your Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, what are your opinions on him? Some would say that he is a fan of the communist regime upheld during the times of the USSR what do you think of this? I personally dont support him much and cant

see what people think is so good about him, but then again he is a strong leader who has gained respect even from the opposition parties. You dont see Putin hiding from imaginary air attacks and embarrassing the nation whilst doing so. in regards to responding about whether Putin is pro-USSR, he has said: We should never forget the USSR regime but we should never go back to it. people would not allow there to be another communist regime even if he wanted it to happen. In Russia, there is no censorship of the press and people are free to travel as they wish (Im here right now, arent I?). However, there are problems with the low wages in Russia for doctors and teachers, problems within the army, the roads need repair and many more problems, but Putin still hasnt done much about it. As I said before, I dont see why people like him so much, but look back and anyone can see that he is the best one in a long, long time probably since Lenin. It could be better, but the way things are in the country right now is okay. And we cant blame Putin for everything; Russians should probably do more ourselves. If each of us did a bit more good, we could live in a better country. Before Georgia attacked South Ossetia, was there ever any apparent tension that Putin or any other politicians expressed caution about? there were some tensions between russia and Georgia, but, not about South Ossetia if there were any worried politicians, they kept it quiet. Have you noticed anything that differs in the Georgian and Russian media? Yes. Shortly before the Georgians stopped the Russians from entering the country, a Russian journalist went to visit Georgian friends and what he saw on the television was quite shocking. The Georgian news was showing pictures of Russian soldiers sifting

through dead bodies (all Georgian) and making them out to be monsters. However, there have never been such scandals as this, it is untrue. This extreme propaganda is of course not very good for Georgian/Russian relations. In Russian news, there have been white lies told to try and exaggerate the size of the Russian army and how fast it has moved, but this is just to show how strong the Russian army is. But nothing like the Georgian media, who are really putting russians in a terrible light. One last question, are you personally ashamed of Russia in this situation and do you think what the West have accused Russia of being is right? If Russia had attacked South Ossetia, I would be ashamed. If Russia attacked Georgia for no reason, I would be ashamed. However, it was Georgia who attacked South Ossetia, not us and so I am not ashamed of russia helping to stop the South ossetians from being killed without warning, like at Chinvali. After accusing Russia of acting in a dangerous manner the West, including America, has now accepted that Russias actions were justified. However, I find it strange that nothing has been mentioned about South Ossetia in all of the havoc, and I can just see the presenters on a Georgians family TV saying that Russians are monsters, but nothing about what Georgia has done to South Ossetia. I do feel very sad and upset about this war and in my soul and in my heart I sympathize with the families who lost their loved ones on all sides, no matter what nationality. i hope and pray that the situation will get better and that Georgian and Russian people will stay friends in spite of what our governments will do. Sunniva Davies-Rommetveit School: UWCAC 2007-09, Home country: Wales


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Worlds apart: the Peace Wall in Belfast separates communities and keeps alive the old prejudices that stand in the way of peace

Segregation still sties peace

few years ago I was at a family barbeque. Irish Catholic families are big and everyone was there: my little cousins playing in the garden, my fat uncle flipping burnt beef burgers and sausages on the grill, my grandmother sipping sherry outside in the sunshine. I sat beside her, put my arm around her and asked if she remembered anything like this when she was my age. Of course I knew her childhood had been very different from mine; she carries the weight of it around with her, something typical of the older generation of Northern Ireland. This was just one of the many occasions on which she would tell me about how oppressed we were, about the atrocities committed against us by the British and the Loyalist Protestants. She doesnt even try to disguise the hate: she wears it like a second skin. An hour later I was being driven across town to a protestant area to help my best friend fundraise for the renovation of her Baptist Church. Id lied to my family, telling them that i was going to a birthday party. Feeling like a traitor to both sides by refusing to stick to one or the other, it was only afterwards that I realised how fundamentally wrong it is to demand people choose a side, to allow no alternative. Because by creating an us and them mentality, by each side defining themselves as the victim and then hiding behind this using it as an excuse, we polarise ourselves. We separate ourselves further. Yes, we reached peace with the Good Friday Agreement but it focused on the politics more than the ordinary people.

Belfast has been divided for too long between Catholic and Protestant, writes Kavita Thanki
The recent killing of two British Army soldiers stationed in Co. armagh and a Catholic police officer by the Continuity irish republican army (ira) and the real IRA respectively, have been met with shock by most. the peace process in northern Ireland is hailed as one of the best success stories of conflict resolution. However without educating the young, how can we ever hope for reconciliation? The politicians might sit together in government, the population remains divided. But I do not believe all is lost, or that we will slide back into the Troubles: even my grandmother agrees that peace is whats best. These attacks have been condemned by both sides, politically and publicly (as seen in the mass vigils that were held for the dead). it is the younger generation who are now starting to put the old hatred into action again. Those who remember the Troubles dont want to go back to that. Only if we start to bring in measures such as integrated schools, only if we bring down the Peace Walls, only if we stop spending 1.5billion on keeping the two communities segregated, only then shall Northern Ireland truly know peace. Kavita Thanki School: UWCAC 2008-10, Home country: Northern Ireland

It didnt diffuse into the culture, and still today we have the Peace Walls which divide the capital, Belfast, into different areas where even the street curbs are painted the colours of the Irish or the British flags: either green, white and orange if its Catholic or red, white and blue if its protestant. as children we are raised to believe that politics and religion combine to create one force and we see this manifest in the physical separation of people. Separate shops, separate post-codes, but most importantly separate schools. Despite the demand (when questioned, 82 per cent of parents wanted integrated schooling), only 5 per cent of children actually attend schools where both Catholics and protestants are present. Why? because the schools themselves are run by minorities of sectarians who favour segregation. The few integrated schools which we do have are vastly over-subscribed. This leaves the other 95 per cent of the population to fear and hate the other side. If you only live within your own closed community, if some of your best friends arent of the other religion, if you dont see them every day in class and copy homework off them or swap jewellery or flirt or fight or interact with them as individuals then of course you can get sucked in by your grandmothers horror stories from the past. Of course you see everything in black and white.

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Power in the leaders mighty hands descending into immoral actions

ust the other day i stumbled across an article about strained relations between the United States and Pakistan. Strained relations and violent reactions concerning the United States and the Middle East no longer make surprising headlines, but my textbook sense of the United States relationship with Pakistan says that the two countries are allies. Curious, I looked further into the issue. What I found was a complex net of unclear intentions, with one government doing what they want and claiming it to be all towards the cause of the war on terror. The United States government and military is sovereignty of another, civilian casualties, miscommunications leading to bullets between allies, interfering with Pakistans jurisdiction under the claim that it is cleansing the country of al-Quaeda. I walked away confused by the politics and the complexities of the situation. What I do understand is the part of the story that makes me feel something. What I understand is that Pakistani civilians are killed in this violent attempt by the United States military to exterminate terrorism. I struggle in painful desperation to comprehend the apparent ease with which these leaders draw out death sentences for ordinary citizens, claiming that the end justifies the means. I am seared by the breach of initiative displayed and practiced by these power holding individuals again and again. I am angered when I see great potential, in the form of power, handed to this elite section of people and then wasted. In their mighty hands it evaporates and condenses into actions that fail to measure up to any basic moral or ethical standard. I am completely baffled by the disconnection that these leaders must feel

Pakistan: under attack

Qwais Khan

from humanity, in order to live with the fact that they pick unripe lives from the vine without a glance back at the waste and the chaos and the irreparable pain of those who survive the victims. at this point my criticism bleeds beyond the borders of my own country and its leaders, spreading to a universal irresponsibility amongst powerful leaders. It is this irresponsibility that has caused global crisis after global crisis, and allowed the crises to continue as human lives are washed down the drain. All around, I see a lack of honour in the actions of our world leaders and I think its appalling. This immorality marches forth masked by the enticing possibility of some utopian goal which will justify it all. Equally appalling is the widespread lack of integrity on the part of the bystanders of this global carelessness, those who watch without calling forth the perpetrators. people always react in the same way to my devastation over world events: Are you

surprised? they say. The answer is, yes. I am appalled. i am appalled that our world is governed in such a manner that the most prominent, dominant characters in its theatre are allowed to act so carelessly without being held accountable. But who am I to criticize, without moving forward myself to call forth and cease the actions of my countrys president? Is that not the very hypocrisy that I criticize? So how on earth can we, the general population, regulate the accountability and common moral sense of our leaders? We are but diminutive citizens, who hold no power to begin and end wars with our signature on a piece of paper; we have no power to decide if a civilian family living on the PakistanAfghanistan border close to a suspected al-Quaida haven should live or die. However, we do hold the power to bring moral values into each small decision that we face within our days, within the borders of our own lives. It is just as thoughtless to live our lives parallel in carelessness, on a different plane, with smaller effects, so that we are never held accountable or even judged for these decisions. It is our job to begin at the hub of the situation, our own actions, working our way outwards from ourselves. We must put our intention into our every action, no matter how small, and focus on the fact that each small stone tossed into a body of water creates a ripple. If we cannot seize this as an opportunity to put something positive into the world at our own level, I do not know how we can expect it ever to be achieved in the great hierarchies of our governing bodies. Arianna Sullivan School: UWCAC 2008-10 Home country: USA

Life growing up in a shing family in Alaska

e sometimes forget the importance of context, that palette of colours that shades around the edges of our lives, without which we would appear only in shades of grey. So many things shape us and make us who we are. For me, the place I call home played an important role in shaping my individuality. Much of my early childhood was spent fishing on the waters of South East Alaska out of a forty-six foot salmon troller. I grew up watching the islands of the area drift by as, year after year; we fished up and down the pacific coastline in pursuit of the Chinook

and Coho salmon. i made sand castles on the beaches of Chichigof Island and skipped stones across the coves of Chatam straight. I caught minnows in streams that looked to have never seen the shadow of another human being, and cowered behind boulders watching the passage of grizzly bears foraging for food. that place made me the person i am today. though the most exciting times i ever had in that world occurred before I was five, those few short years made my home an inseparable part of me. When I left the state for the first time I was told by

friends of mine that I would be back. When I asked them how they could be so certain they replied, There is too much Alaska in you for you to stay away. They were right, wherever I go I shall always have the same sea rolling beneath me and the same sky overhead as nursed me as a small boy growing up in a fishing family in Alaska. Dylan Hitchcock-Lopez School: UWCAC 2008-10, Home country: USA


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Hope against all odds

only is he truly African and American, he is also well educated, forward-thinking, courageous and greatly endowed with the gift of oratory. It is in consideration of the enormous potential he has as a leader, that one clearly sees the great amount of pressure that he faces as he takes on the role of 44th president of the most powerful nation on earth. Obama seeks to address core issues in America that will undoubtedly have an impact on the rest of the world as well. His desire to deal with the current economic crisis, the war in Iraq, environmental matters and foreign policy seems well thought out and meaningful, yet it goes without saying, that the road ahead is steep and the hurdles will be many. In spite of the long trek ahead however, I am hopeful that the straight talking, charming and determined president who braved all odds during his life to get to the top office, is indeed the change that America and the world, has been waiting for. Now, more than ever, a poor scantilydressed child in a village in Kenya can foster the ambition that if they really strive against all odds and give life their best shot, then they too can be that change, that difference, that future. If we could thank Obama for nothing else, we must thank him for being that young childs source of hope. Anne Ogake Angwenyi School: UWCAC 2007-09 Home country: Kenya

sense of excitement and expectation took over many parts of the world earlier this year with the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of United State of America. Obamas supporters celebrated as they revelled in the reality that change had finally come to America and indeed to the world as a whole. So grand were these celebrations that in Kenya, the birth place of Obamas father, a national holiday was declared in honour of the son of the land who had brought pride to his people. Obama has become the man of the moment. For centuries to come, he will be remembered as the man who changed history. It is evident that Obama is uniquely suitable for his position of president. Not

Now its not just up to Barack, its up to all of us

An appeal by Ken Corn, a teacher at Atlantic College, after the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the US. Dear Students, Colleagues and Friends, As Im sure you realise, as an American, I am delighted and thrilled by the election of Barack Obama to become the 44th president of the United States. I also realise that though many of you didnt have the vote in this electoral process you too have a great stake in the outcome, and many of you are as excited and hopeful as I am. Yet, the election was the easy bit (believe it or not). Now the real work begins. Barack Obama recognises this and I am confident that he and his team will do their utmost to bring about the real sense of positive change that is so desperately needed for the US and the rest of the world. But nothing positive can be accomplished without the hard work and energy of all of us to transform these necessary changes into solid realities. i urge us all to do what we can to help make it so. If you look to the UWC Mission Statement and indeed our own AC Statement, these are the areas which I believe will be at the forefront of the new administrations agenda, and we should reaffirm them in ours. We are all Global Citizens, and we need to act like this together. We all need to take up the challenges of Environmental Responsibility. There will be a re-newed call for Service and we must continue to answer this. We must use the privilege of Education to Transform ourselves and the world. and just as obama was awarded Scholarships based on Merit we must affirm this as a fundamental goal. Whatever your feelings about American politics, lets savour this moment of possibility and seize the initiative to forge a better future. What else are we here for? Ken Corn Teacher at: UWCAC Home country: USA

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Bolivians turning to a new dawn

skin, money in their pockets, and out-ofstate education, we have arrived at the battle of, and for, beauty. This is the beauty that states that we are different but we are Bolivians; we live differently, but under the same sky; we speak differently, but we still understand one another. This beauty doesnt exist without justice and equality; this beauty has a unformed shape in our minds, but it is gaining clarity as we leave the land of night and begin to open our eyes. Now is when Bolivia says: Turn off the lights. and the right way to assume the moment that we are now living as a country. We say turn off the lights as a symbol of this new period in which we are to break the repetitive flow of the past. The day is coming and artificial light is no longer necessary. We are awaking and it is time for Bolivians to see themselves anew, without the shadows of the past or its comfort, because no past time demands commitment and the future can be dangerous if no attention is paid to it. I say turn off the lights because like many others, I seek an accomplishment of unity among Bolivians. I seek this possibility, so that Bolivia can see the world through its own eyes, from its own position and so that the world can see Bolivia without the mask that a privileged few have imposed upon it. I say turn off the lights as a call to reunite in peace; to restate that this country is ours and that it deserves, and needs a better faith; a faith that we have already started to build and defend. Together, all of us.

group of young people self-called the guardians of democracy, violently forced a small group of countryside men to walk half naked towards the 25 de mayo [25th of May] Square in Sucre, the capital of Bolivia. The men had been walking on a peaceful protest which favoured a new state constitution, and were then forced to kneel down in front of the House of Liberty, the place where Bolivia changed owners. It changed from being a Spanish colony, to becoming the backyard of some northern powers, which benefited a few Bolivians with no love for their country. Once there, the supporters of Evo Morales government were forced to kiss the ground and the states flag, to sing Bolivias anthem and burn their Whipalas [the indigenous flag] and placards supporting Morales. this is an example of what two hundred years of inequitable governments by the Bolivian white minorities upon their own people has wrought. The past governments can still proudly say that racism exists in Bolivia, as well as intolerance, poverty and discontent among the people. They can say that Bolivians have killed Bolivians. They can say with less pride that it is only now, under the new government which has left them jobless that Bolivia can hope for change. After the long night of the five hundred years of oppression, where the only rulers were those with foreign surnames, white

We are awakening and it is time for Bolivians to see themselves anew

But, how should we interpret this? Some may understand this statement to be Bolivias decision to stop people from seeing a unified country, the negative of some to recognize themselves in others. The will to be kept out of context, to go to sleep until everything is back to normal, to stay numb and to numb others because, unfortunately, some people have lost hope and others do wish that turning off the lights means all of the above. Nevertheless, I believe that turning off the lights will lead us to discovering the truth

Iara Guzman Vallejos School: UWCAC 2008-10, Home country: Bolivia My journey to Atlantic College has been a completely different experience where I have learned about others and myself. It has also helped me to put things into perspective.

Venezuela: slipping little by little into anarchy

The following is a letter by Eduardo Whaite Paredes (UWCAC) to Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela. Dear Mr President, How about a life without limitations? How about lives where you can do anything you want, whenever you want, with no strings attached? A life where there are no rules to follow? In truth, it goes a bit deeper, dont you agree? You might think the above questions are the consequences of a well-managed democracy, but they are in fact, the causes of what we in Venezuela have known in this past decade: anarchy. We started believing in a candidate at the end of the 1990s, in a leader who could let us take part in the abstract concept known as globalization. A few years later one of the biggest companies in the world, PDVSA, by far the greatest oil company in Venezuelan history, was in danger and began experiencing deficit problems. This occurred after laying off more than 10.000 well-educated citizens from Caracas, the capital. The only reason they were fired, is because they voted against the Bolivarian Government. You will have to agree with me in that our President is known for harbouring more pride than anyone else, or at least more than anyone else in Venezuela But well, now that we are certain the PDVSA issue is in the past, its up to us to enjoy ourselves as our biggest asset is being managed by a group of revolutionary people who know exactly what they are they doing. Here are some notable examples of the good management of our country: we are now considered to be the most dangerous country in all in South America, with more than 300 people murdered every month; there is only one television channel not being managed by the government (which in my opinion, will not last more than a year.) And the most impressive fact, from my personal experience: the government tried to change the entire constitution for which they lost the elections. this is actually not at all impressive, is it? No, of course it isnt. Presently, our prideful president has managed to change every law in the Constitution. He has done this, in the words of Noel Gallagher, little by little and has changed over 65 per cent of the old Constitution into, in his own words, his artistic masterpiece. We are experiencing a vast set of changes; in the future I am mostly sure of our regret of what happened yesterday, what is happening today and what will happen tomorrow. This regret is our regret of the social, economical and political aspects of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. But who are we to judge right? Thank you in advance Mr. Chavez, for taking some of your time to read this... Truly yours, The Venezuelan People Eduardo Whaite Paredes School: UWCAC 2008-10, Home country: Venezuela


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Clever investments are needed right now to help tackle climate change


Save the environment, save ourselves

he way I see it, we can pull our way out of this crisis in two ways. We can try and run as fast as we can up the down escalator or we can make a concerted effort to jump over the barrier to the stairs. From all corners of the globe experts have been calling for and granting fiscal stimuli. We can spend our way out of this. The question is how? Personally I think it would be good to have something to show when we come out the other end of this crisis. The easiest short term option would be to just support what we have at the moment arguably what brought us down. by supporting these industries we are running up the down escalator, fighting against the mass lack of demand. We could succeed, in the short term, by supporting the production of millions of products and services that arent wanted at the price they are being offered at. There is an imbalance, so the immediate reaction is to balance it out through subsidies, tax cuts or investment. But we all know this cant last forever. When things level themselves out and the down escalator slows its pace well be able to breathe out a big sigh. but we wont be any more stable, it will be the same, only with lots and lots of debt. At the same time, weve been building up a massive environmental debt that somebodys going to have to pay off. Nature has been bailing us out so far but its coming close to crunch time. To avoid catastrophic climate change the IEA, Lord Stern, McKinsey &Co. and the UN have called for around US$400bn to be spent this year on transition to a low carbon economy. The weight of financial support needed to keep our world from collapsing seems impossible. In fact, similar to the wide-spread call for fiscal stimuli, experts from every continent have called for a green new deal. It seems we may be able to solve both these crises at the same time. there is a back-log of environmental projects just waiting to be released upon the economy, only they dont have the capital or support to start. Clever investment could unleash a wave of creativity and innovation in greening the economy. Economists and environmental groups from all over the world have converged in their support of five main ideas: 1. Investing in transition to renewable electricity 2. Modernising our inefficient electricity grids 3. Supporting (financially and

Up in smoke: unless we act now, the future for the world looks grim Kriss Szkurlatowski legislatively) low carbon transport and improving communications to reduce unnecessary travel 4. Massively improving energy efficiency and retro-fitting current infrastructure and appliances 5. establishing secure and trustworthy Green Investment Banks to scale up green industry and green infrastructure, providing huge market opportunities. The sociological, economical and ecological benefits to this would be tremendous. The fiscal multiplier of improving efficiency, investing in new, clean technology and building new infrastructure that will support a low carbon economy are all very high and can produce millions of jobs. We have a rare win-win chance to use the same money for both these problems. Its quite incredible. Its an unprecedented opportunity, some could say a miracle. Amazing, but if we ignore this we wont have another chance to supply this level of green investment without damaging the economy in the short term. now we have a mass of under utilised resources and a need to spend money to revive the economy. There would also be a heap of ancillary benefits: local air pollution, energy security, fuel poverty, mitigating climate change and lowering long term costs across the board are just a few. In the words of the British Government, we could be hitting a flock of birds with one or two stones. However, we in the UK are at the bottom of the league table when it comes to green stimuli. It is time for us and the world to act on our rhetoric. We need to jump over the barrier and start climbing the stairs. Recently there have been many criticisms of using fiscal policy to level out the crisis. Some claim its like throwing money down bottomless pit. This pit has a bottom which is very near the surface. We need to stop thinking purely in terms of money. By being overly frugal now we could sign ourselves up to future generations of crime, welfare dependency, childrens problems, mental illness and a ton of social ills that are as much of a burden as debt. Then there is the threat of planetary meltdown. The economic crisis is not the end. After this I will move into adulthood and grow old. I have a life ahead of me which, if we dont make clever investments now, may have to deal with catastrophic climate change. i am genuinely scared that due to oversight at the G20 summit and into the future, I and my generation will be signed up to a future that we do not want: a future from my nightmares. the decision is in our hands. now is the time to act. Charlie Young School: UWCAC 2008-10 Home country: England As an environmental campaigner whos fascinated by politics and international communication, this place and its students are as close to perfect as I think it can get

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UWCACs Operation Smile Club is funding reconstructive facial surgery


Changing lives, one smile at a time

pound? a dollar? a euro? Last time you donated money to a charity or non-profit organization, did it once again go into a mysterious abyss, leaving you clueless to what, or whom, your generosity went to? This is not a worry for donors to the UWCACs Operation Smile Club. Founded with this in mind, and with the founders experience with an Operation Smile Mission in Jordan, the club offers donors the security of knowing exactly how their donation is being utilized: namely to give children the gift of a smile. operation smile (www.operationsmile. org) is a not-for-profit, volunteer medical services organization that provides reconstructive facial surgery to children and young adults. In as little as 45 minutes, and for as little as $240, one cleft lip surgery can change a childs life forever. UWCACs club focuses primarily on fundraising in a manner not only focused on providing funds for Operation Smile, but in a way that also is positive for the donors. The

first fundraising event of the year, a Jumble Sale, was held shortly after the new students arrival at the College. This provided the opportunity for many to purchase winter clothes, bedding, and other goods collected at the end of last term. Nearly every item in the sale was sold for 2 and the leftover clothing was sent to charity to reduce waste and continue helping charity. the second fundraising event was an American-style Bake Sale, with Czechoslovak honey cake, homemade cookies, cupcakes and cake, as well as the popular Krispy Kreme donuts. Needless to say, the Bake Sale was a welcomed relief after a half day of classes. With these two fundraising events alone in the span of a month, approximately $960 has been collected to fund surgeries, enough to grant four children brand new smiles.

UWCACs Operation Smile club also received the prestigious title as the International Club of the Year, given by operation Smile Headquarters this summer during the 16th annual Student Leadership Conference in San Diego, California. With new leadership and a dedicated group of active members, our Operation Smile Club hopes to work with local schools on awareness of cleft lip, fundraise in the local community and open up the possibilities for our members to work with Operation Smile missions during breaks or after graduation after a period of intensive training. With the hope of funding at least double the surgeries of last year and increase cooperation and collaboration with operation Smile headquarters, our members are Changing Lives, one Smile at a Time. Kevin Irby School: UWCAC 2007-09, Home country: USA

Spreading the UWC spirit through the airwaves

tlantic College radio: spreading the United World College spirit through the airwaves. A Radio Show which is organised and produced unilaterally by atlantic College students. It seeks to provide a platform to discuss the differences and similarities of a wide range of cultures represented by students from all over the world no matter what social or economic background. It is the hope that this show will become a mechanism through which the unique ideas and creative vision of the United World Colleges can be exchanged and circulated. Furthermore, it will give those not yet familiar with the United

World College community some insight into its motivating forces in their most energetic and exciting form. We were very proud to be the hosts of the pilot show in April 2009, which we hope will inspire other United World Colleges to follow our path. In this very first show we interviewed Atlantic College students from Israel and Palestine. The objective was to emphasize the unique cultural and personal identities of the region and give an understanding of life outside of the scope of the highly publicized violent conflict in the area. all shows will appear on in the internet

on our home page at as a way of expressing the vision of Atlantic College through yet another medium. Severin Engelmann School: UWCAC 2007-09 Home country: Germany

Dylan Hitchcock-Lopez School: UWCAC 2007-09

Photography: Yaroslav Zabavskiy United Words also has teams of editors in 10 UWCs around the globe (Hong Kong, India, Swaziland, Costa Rica, Canada, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, Norway, UK, Venezuela) Editor-in-Chief: Text: Layout: Editorial: Bjrn Bremer (Germany) andrea Mihic (Switzerland) Stephen ashton (UK) Lena Sophie Goergen (Germany), Leonardo Goi (Italy), Honor Mishcon (UK), Daniel Prinz (Hungary), Tenzin Yewong (Tibet), Rina Amanda Kuusipalo (Finland), Gala von Nettelbladt (Germany), Alexandra Sanchez (USA), Hannah Smithies (UK) It was established with help of the AC Development Office and financial support of AC Graduates. Thanks go to Valentin Jeutner (Germany), Hannes Ingwersen (Germany) and My Tra Dang (Germany).

Website: Video Blog: E-mail:


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