Friday, September 28, 2012

Korean Teens Learn Conflict Resolution

Photo courtesy of Jihoon Sun of ROKing Korea

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

Photo courtesy of Jihoon Sun of ROKing Korea

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

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

Ricky Ahn and Jaehwi Lee working on the film

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Post-Revolution, New Egyptian Engineers Move Forward Toward Innovation

Israa El Taweel /
Volunteers at the Egyptian Engineering Day

By Ghada Abdelhady
Youth Journalism International
CAIRO, Egypt – Egyptian Engineering Day. If you haven't been there, then you have missed a once-a-year chance to be inspired, motivated and more importantly, to connect with minds that know how to create, innovate and give limitlessly.

On the other hand, if you have attended as an exhibitor, volunteer or even a visitor. I must infer that you are not the same person you were before the opening ceremony early this month. 

The Egyptian Engineering Day, organized annually by Egyptian board members of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, launched in 2002 as the first exhibition of its kind in the entire region for engineering graduation projects.
Held at the Cairo International Conference Center, the event paved the road for fresh engineering graduates to put their ideas into market products that can compete with breakthroughs in engineering industry all over the world.
I got to cover this year’s Egyptian Engineering Day as a reporter for Youth Journalism international, from the initial preparations till the closing ceremony and the distribution of awards and announcements of the winning projects.
After a year and a half of political struggle and development digression, we Egyptians were ecstatic to take the first step into the battleground of innovation with unprecedented fierceness.         
 “There cannot be any progress without democracy,” said Sherif Abdel Azim, founder and chairman of the NGO Resala. “Revolution was the key to the progress.”
The entire EED committee starting from Chairman Amgad Ibrahim to the youngest volunteer all worked collaboratively to not only supply exhibitors with the chance to be distinguished but also to embed in their brains the interpersonal skills and in their hearts the entrepreneurial spirit.
After giving an inspirational didactic talk titled ‘The change game,’ Amr Elfass, the chief executive officer of ZAD Group, said,  “What you love to do, is something that you can spend a lot of time doing it without getting paid.”
The Made In Egypt program, aimed at emphasizing the need for interpreting great ideas into industrial products, got started by the Egypt GOLD team in 2005.
Many public figures attended, coming to witness this edifice of talent and dreams of the next generation. 
Former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and Hany Mahmoud, minister of communications and information technology, honored the summit by their attendance and gave a boost to the spirits of the young engineers. 
With more than 9,000 attendees, we can say that Egyptian Engineering Day is not any more an expo but will be considered from now on as an annual gala of originality.
Speakers representing companies, academic institutes and NGOs participated. They played a role that might be referred to 10 years from now as “The Dawning of the Innovation Era.”
Fadel Digham, research and development director of Egypt’s National Telecom Regulatory Authority, said in his talk about recent trends in telecommunications market and research that society is in the “GIFT era” explaining that it included Google, the iPhone, Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Reporter's Notebook: Supporting A Woman Fighting Rare Form Of Breast Cancer
Meg Reed, who is fighting breast cancer, with her daughter Lexie and Queens of Pink from the Think Pink Organization. The group presented Reed with a check to help her with the cost of treatment.  In the back, from left, are Lexie Reed, Kristyn Boswell, Meg Reed, Jade Kingham, Kaley Willis, Pam Courmier, Toni Wilcox, Joyce Bennett. In front, from left, are Celise LaFleur, Brynlie Drounett, Brenlee Vincent, Cerenity Harmon and, Linley Wilcox.

By Kaley Willis
Youth Journalism International
SULPHUR, Louisiana, U.S.A.  – Imagine this: You have just found out you have cancer. What if it was one of the rarest and most unidentifiable forms of cancer? For Meg Reed of Moss Bluff, Louisiana, this is a reality.
Reed, a teacher at Moss Bluff Elementary School, was diagnosed with metaplastic breast cancer on March 6. Also known as metaplastic carcinoma of the breast, it is an extremely rare form of breast cancer found in less than 1 percent of breast cancers.
It’s a cancer that begins in one type of cell and changes into another type of cell. Treatment is aggressive, and definitely takes a toll on Reed.
“Right now I'm taking FAC chemo,” she said. “It really puts a strain on heart, I'm just recovering from an intense treatment from a week and a half ago.”
FAC, a combination of three drugs being pumped into the body at about four and a half hours at a time, is a common form of chemotherapy used for breast cancer.
The cancer doesn’t always respond to regular treatment, Reed said.
“I'd normally start off with that and then go to another type of chemo.”

Meg Reed and Kaley Willis
The cancer is treated aggressively, and if it responds to the chemotherapy used, then doctors will keep on with it.
Aside from chemotherapy treatments, family is another big aspect in helping Reed cope with her breast cancer.
A mom of two, she tells how her family is affected by her diagnosis and how they help her deal with it.
“We have all come to terms with it. My daughter keeps my soul up, my son makes sure I actually understand what's going on with treatments and everything, and my husband keeps it all together,” said Reed.
“I know now that I just need to slow down and realize that God is in control. The only advice I have for people is to make sure to continue regular self-checkups.”
Cancer or no cancer, there's no doubt about it that Reed is an incredibly remarkable and very strong woman who will continue to touch the lives of many. 

Want to see One Direction? YJI has tickets

WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut – Don't miss out on a rare opportunity to see One Direction at Mohegan Sun this fall from the best seats in the house.
Youth Journalism International, a Connecticut-based, educational non-profit organization, has a limited number of tickets available to the public for the band’s sold-out performance on November 30.
"There's been a lot of interest in these tickets," said Steve Collins, president of YJI's board of directors. "So if you want to go -- and help out a great Connecticut charity at the same time -- let us know soon."
The sky box tickets were made available to YJI by The Mohegan Tribe, which has been a great supporter of both the free press and YJI, which is based in West Hartford.
Tickets are available for a $500 donation for each one to Youth Journalism International, a 501 (c)(3) public charity. Most of the donation would be tax-deductible.
View from the sky box at Mohegan Sun.
Because there are a limited number available, tickets through this fundraiser are on a first-come, first-served basis.
For tickets, contact Youth Journalism International at (860) 523-9632 or by email at
Based in West Hartford, Youth Journalism International began training young writers, artists and photographers in 1994. Student work is published online at and at

Sky box seats at Mohegan Sun.

Friday, September 21, 2012

YJI Wants To See You At The Mum Festival
Beautiful yellow mums are one sign of the start of fall in Connecticut
Youth Journalism International will have a booth at the Mum Festival in Bristol, Connecticut, on Saturday. We hope anyone nearby will stop by and say hello!
At our booth, we will have information about our work with young people worldwide, a map showing where our students are around the globe and news about our ongoing One Direction 'fun-raiser.'
We will be offering temporary henna designs for people who stop by, a festival tradition begun last spring at the Duck Race by Ameni Mathlouthi of Tunisia. She's back home now and can't help apply the henna, but we'll do our best. Watch this space for an update after the festival.
YJI started in Bristol and continues to be active in the community there. This is our second year as an exhibitor at the city's big fall festival.
See you there!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pakistan Protests Anti-Muslim Movie

By Arooj Khalid
Youth Journalism International
LAHORE, Pakistan – Usually whenever the government announces a holiday, everyone’s faces brighten up with the thought of enjoying an extra holiday, especially if it’s coinciding with the weekend.
But this time, it’s a lot different. The Pakistani government has announced a holiday on Friday, the day when 25 official and numerous unofficial rallies and processions will be carried out as a protest against the anti-Islamic movie “Innocence of Muslims.”
Along with neighboring Afghanistan and nearby Bangladesh, Pakistan has already banned the use of YouTube because of the film.
Several times those against Islam have devised vile maneuvers to outwit Islam, and at the same time, it would be wrong to say that no Muslims ever defiled others.
But first of all, I would quote a dialogue from a Pakistani movie, “Khuda Ke Liye” (In The Name of God).
In that 2007 movie, a torture victim – thought by the American government to be responsible for the 9/11 attacks, writes in a letter to his American wife, “I don’t hate all Americans because some of them harmed me. Please don’t hate all Muslims because some of them harmed your country.”
Many people think that all Muslims hate all Americans and vice versa but this is absolutely wrong.
Obviously, when someone, anywhere in the world, would perform such an immoral act as making a film like this, all the Muslims all over the world will protest.
Islam is a very peaceful religion and it does not encourage any contradiction with anyone, even of another religion.
It teaches us to respect and not harm believers of other religions. What recently happened was totally unbearable and wrong. At least they should try to build a peaceful relationship at the international level.
How can it happen when we don't even respect each other’s beliefs?
It is our right and we will protest against this film, but the protests shall be peaceful rather than those which end up in destroying property, and I surely hope that no Christian institutions or people will be harmed.
I don’t even get the point of it because it’s not them who are responsible. As a whole, I think that these people should be punished for this act and further attempts like this shall be stopped.
We love our religion and our Holy Prophet Muhammad and this is disrespectful of our religion. No one shall ever tolerate such nonsense. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Get One Direction Tickets In YJI 'Fun-raiser'

WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut – Fans of One Direction who missed the chance to score tickets to see the wildly popular British boy band at Mohegan Sun this fall have another opportunity.
Youth Journalism International, a Connecticut-based, educational non-profit organization, has a limited number of tickets available to the public for the band’s sold-out performance on November 30.
“Thanks to the generosity of the Mohegan Tribe and its respect for press freedom, we have tickets for this terrific show,” said Jackie Majerus, executive director of Youth Journalism International.  “All proceeds will support our programs serving young journalists around the world.”
This month, the five-member band won Best New Artist and Best Pop Video in the MTV Video Music Awards for their smash hit “What Makes You Beautiful,” a single from their first album, “Up All Night.”
“Up All Night” made history when it topped the U.S. Billboard 200 chart on its March debut.
Their new album, “Take Me Home,” containing the single “Live While We’re Young,” is due out just days before the concert.
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer comfortable skybox tickets to the hottest show going,” said Steve Collins, YJI board president. “The help of the Mohegan Tribe makes it possible for One Direction fans to not only see the show, but support YJI’s mission to use journalism to bring young people with different countries, cultures and customs together.”
Tickets are available for a $500 donation to Youth Journalism International, a 501 (c)(3) public charity. Most of the donation would be tax-deductible.
Because there are a limited number available, tickets through this fundraiser are on a first-come, first-served basis.
For tickets, contact Youth Journalism International at (860) 523-9632 or by email at
Based in West Hartford, Youth Journalism International began training young writers, artists and photographers in 1994. Student work is published online at and at

Celebrating The Bill Of Rights, In Song

Yelena Samofalova /

Singers take the stage to perform composer Neely Bruce's "Bill of Rights" at Faneuil Hall in Boston Sunday.

By Kiernan Majerus-Collins
BOSTON, Massachusetts, U.S.A. – The Bill of Rights: Ten Amendments in Eight Motets has come a long way since Wesleyan University Professor Neely Bruce penned the piece seven years ago.
One hundred and seventeen miles, to be exact.
Bruce’s musical setting of the Bill of Rights made its premier performance at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall Sunday, in a celebration of Constitution Day.
Kiernan Majerus-Collins /

Composer Neely Bruce with a program
for the "Bill of Rights" performance 
Sunday at Faneuil Hall
Yelena Samofalova /

Boston's historic Faneuil Hall
“Isn’t it incredible?” said Bruce. “You can feel the history.”
A small chamber orchestra and a large concert choir performed the piece. Towering overhead was a massive painting of Daniel Webster speaking in the Senate, and behind the choir stood busts of John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster.

The program cover for Sunday's performance 
Bruce told the audience that this was a particularly special location—Massachusetts debated and approved the Bill of Rights in this very chamber.
“The historic residue is palpable,” said Bruce. “It’s very exciting.”
Bruce says he plans for the piece to be performed here “every year on the Sunday preceding Constitution Day.”
Here's a short video interview with 23-year-old Lee Fuchs of Cambridge, Mass.,  one of the singers from Sunday's performance at Faneuil Hall: 

This is another short video from the performance itself, the singing of the First Amendment:

Kiernan Majerus-Collins /

Composer Neely Bruce looks 
over the score of his "Bill of Rights" 
YJI reporter Kiernan Majerus-Collins wrote about Bruce, a Wesleyan University music professor, as part of his American Composers series. He wrote specifically about Bruce, about Bruce's work and about him setting The Bill of Rights to music.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Shofar Sound Signals Rosh Hashanah

Eli Winter demonstrates how to blow a shofar

By Eli Winter

HOUSTON, Texas, U.S.A. – So guys, you may know (well, if you’re Jewish, you sure do) Rosh Hashanah (ראש השנ) starts tonight, and millions of kids are happy that they don’t have school on Monday.
Well, at least those in the Houston Independent School District are happy, because we don’t have school on Monday.
Rosh Hashanah is, to oversimplify, the Jewish New Year. The name comes from the Hebrew for “Head of the year” (ראש Rosh means “head”; השנה means “the year”) which means the beginning of it, but in a more literal way.
Maybe that’s what the guy who gave Rosh Hashanah its name thought, anyways. When you tell people about what it literally means, you tend to get confused looks.
It’s the first of the High Holy Days in Judaism. Sadly – for, perhaps, some Californians – that doesn’t mean Jews the world over light up some currently illegal drugs to “find themselves.”
Nope. It’s basically one of the most important days of the Jewish year. Didn’t mean to scare you prospective converts away, though.
Why’s it so important?
“It’s the first day of the Jewish year. Duhh.”
Heyy! Look who decided to come to Hebrew school today! You want some raisin challah? It’s a special kind of challah that’s braided and twisted and it looks great, but ... it has raisins.  I stay away from it, because I hate raisins with a passion. I’m tolerant of religions, not fruit.
Or how about some apples and honey? You eat them on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize a “sweet New Year,” which is about as corny and obvious as how in some Scout troops when you give a “round of applause” you clap your hands in a circle. But still. It’s a big crowd pleaser.
Now me, personally, I turn down the apples and honey when it’s offered to me; not because I’m some evil, bitter, old man who doesn’t like apples and honey, but because I don’t like apples and honey. Can’t help it. Anyways.
Another crowd pleaser on Rosh Hashanah (and the High Holy Days) is the blowing of the shofar.
The shofar is basically a ram’s horn that’s got a really cool, curvy shape. It looks great. A drawback to that is that unless you’ve practiced blowing it – obsessively – it doesn’t sound good at all.
So, if you know what you’re doing when you blow it, the sound that comes out sounds regal – fantastic – like Morgan Freeman, all rich and full and the perfect voice to narrate those Visa commercials you see during the Olympics.
If you don’t know what you’re doing when you blow it, …
Let’s not go there.
Back to the ram’s horn. The shofar is blown in a certain order during Rosh Hashanah services. If you don’t blow it in that order, you very well could get struck by lightning (What? Technically anything could happen...) and that sure wouldn’t be a good way to start the year.
The blowing order, while certain, tends to vary from branch to branch of Judaism, depending on how conservative or traditional you are.
First is Tekiah, when the shofar is blown for a moderate-to-longish amount of time. Next is Shevarim, when three or nine notes from the shofar are blown quickishly.
Next, Tekiah again.
Then Teruah, which is nine very fast notes from the shofar.
Following Teruah comes Tekiah again.
Finally is Tekiah Gedolah. Oh, this is the good one! This is the one where the rabbi/cantor/shofar-blower blows the shofar for as long as they possibly can without falling over and dying.
That sound like a long time? Well, it is.
I’ve seen faces turn red, faces turn pink, and notes just kind of fizzle out because the shofar-blower doesn’t blow into the shofar correctly. Sometimes they look so desperate to get some air that you’d think some of the more intensely religious members at the service would pray for them, to get just that last little bit of air for one awesome shofar blast.
A final custom of Rosh Hashanah – though not the only one, oh God, there are a lot of them – is to toss out bread crumbs in some water.  No, not like a glass of it. That won’t fly with your rabbi. Try more like a lake or river or some body of water.
This symbolizes “casting away” your sins, if you will. Some folks also toss pebbles in, or toss those in instead of the bread. Either one works, really.
Anyways guys, hope you all have a Shanah Tovah – a good year!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First Day Of High School Isn't Doomsday

By Tae Hyun Yoon
Junior Reporter
SEOUL, South Korea – I recall that Mary Ann Evans, the famed English writer better known as George Eliot, once said, “Adventure is not outside man; it is within.”
This quote fits quite well to my current situation, as I approach my much-anticipated first day of high school. Therefore, I am happy to believe that high school will just be another one of the many adventures I will have in life, and that everything will go perfectly.
Let me rephrase that: I am trying to believe that everything will go perfectly.
As I await that fateful “Day of Judgment,” my heart never ceases to pound furiously as if I were about to bungee-jump off the Empire State Building.
High school. That dreaded epoch of sleepless nights and endless piles of work. That moment when a healthy young boy magically starts to grow gray and white hairs on his once-robust scalp. Although high school has been idolized as a period of “fun” and “partying,” any serious student will look through these false depictions at once. And so it is that I find it impossible to relax during the few days I have before “Doomsday.”
But enough with the hyperboles – the main reason most kids find high school menacing is not because of the workload involved. It’s more related to getting one’s independence tested out on the playing field for the first time.
Tae Hyun Yoon
In high school, more is expected from you than ever before, and the stakes are high, especially for kids that want to go to Ivy League colleges later on in life. 
So in order to cope with the kind of difficulties that high school life presents, one must learn to discover how to be independent and be able to handle challenges by one’s own means. The time for depending on mommy and daddy to do everything is over.
In this sense, high school is a kind of entrance exam to society – only with a pass or fail grade.
As with many of my peers, I am starting to doubt my ability to be independent enough to succeed in high school in the few days I have left before D-Day. Of course, I don’t want to admit it to anybody else, but the fear is present, and I can’t deny it.
High school represents the arrival of my freedom, which is something I’ve wanted my whole life. But on the other hand, it represents a whole new variety of hurdles that I have to jump over, a whole new set of problems to solve. Even now, it’s my job to handle all of the concerns I have the best I can and appear strong on the outside, and I can’t expect anybody else to do it for me.
Come to think of it, though, I’m ignoring a lot of the benefits that high school presents to me.  I will be able to encounter an entirely new community of people with unrivaled diversity. My opportunities are more limitless than ever, as I will be able to choose from a broad selection of courses that just keeps on growing as I move on.
The things I learn in high school will stay with me forever, and I expect that the diversity of the individuals that I will meet will help me discover both new things about the world and myself in general.
I’m a businessman in the early days of the Industrial Revolution – able to pick and choose from a list of thousands of opportunities. The risks run high. But the possibilities are immense, and the lure of uncertainty is stronger than ever. 
Oh look, I’m relaxing a bit already. It seems that high school isn’t so bad at all – the place is a gold mine for opportunities. And I guess that I don’t need to worry about my independence anyway, because I have four long years to prepare myself for the famed horrors of society.
Even then, I have college and grad school to go to, which makes a total of about 10 or 11 years. Now that’s a lot. So I guess it’s a good time for me to get a small taste of the world and its mysteries, because after all, it can’t be too bad, can it?