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Quaker Youth Leadership Conference: Higher Ground Through Common Ground
Rebecca Megginson ‘22

This year, nine Upper School students participated in the Quaker Youth Leadership Conference at Sidwell Friends, co-hosted by Baltimore Friends and Sandy Spring Friends. We gathered with Friends schools from Canada to the Carolinas to discuss this year’s theme, "Higher Ground Through Common Ground." Students explored various aspects of media including media literacy, media polarization, and media consumption.

The conference kicked off on Thursday, January 31st with keynote speaker John Biewen, director at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. He spoke about his podcast, Seeing White, which investigates the roots of racism and white privilege.

On Friday, the Friends schools metroed to the Newseum and attended a panel discussion with professionals in media that touched on diversity and bias in media. Students also rotated through a workshop on lobbying led by a representative from the Friends Committee on National Legislation. After spending some free time exploring the Newseum, we went back to Sidwell, where many students wrote letters to their congressional representatives about issues they cared about. 

On Saturday, February 2nd, students participated in peer-led workshops. Samaa Eldadah (‘19) and Begai Prom (‘19) led a workshop titled "Common Ground through Conversation," which recognized the ways in which we unconsciously interact and perpetuate partisanship and polarization and explored how to tackle it. Seth Gorton (‘19) led a workshop titled "Empathetic Art" where spontaneous sketches and cartoonified objects were analyzed as a gateway into a deeper understanding of oneself. Ben Gruodis-Gimbel (‘18) led a workshop titled "Free Speech and Hate Speech," in which students explored the line between free speech and hate speech, and how edging this line has made politics divisive in America. The peer-led workshops allowed students to share their interests and expertise in a concrete, constructive manner.

After workshops, all conference participants convened in a final Meeting for Worship where many spoke about the unique connections and community found at QYLC. It was a wonderful way to end the amazing conference.

Quaker Youth Leadership ConferenceThis year, nine Upper School students participated in the Quaker Youth Leadership Conference at Sidwell Friends, co-hosted by Baltimore Friends and Sandy Spring Friends. We gathered with Friends schools from Canada to the Carolinas to discuss this year’s theme, "Higher Ground Through Common Ground." Students explored various aspects of media including media literacy, media polarization, and media consumption.

The conference kicked off on Thursday, January 31st with keynote speaker John Biewen, director at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. He spoke about his podcast, Seeing White, which investigates the roots of racism and white privilege.

On Friday, the Friends schools metroed to the Newseum and attended a panel discussion with professionals in media that touched on diversity and bias in media. Students also rotated through a workshop on lobbying led by a representative from the Friends Committee on National Legislation. After spending some free time exploring the Newseum, we went back to Sidwell, where many students wrote letters to their congressional representatives about issues they cared about. 

On Saturday, February 2nd, students participated in peer-led workshops. Samaa Eldadah (‘19) and Begai Prom (‘19) led a workshop titled "Common Ground through Conversation," which recognized the ways in which we unconsciously interact and perpetuate partisanship and polarization and explored how to tackle it. Seth Gorton (‘19) led a workshop titled "Empathetic Art" where spontaneous sketches and cartoonified objects were analyzed as a gateway into a deeper understanding of oneself. Ben Gruodis-Gimbel (‘18) led a workshop titled "Free Speech and Hate Speech," in which students explored the line between free speech and hate speech, and how edging this line has made politics divisive in America. The peer-led workshops allowed students to share their interests and expertise in a concrete, constructive manner.

After workshops, all conference participants convened in a final Meeting for Worship where many spoke about the unique connections and community found at QYLC. It was a wonderful way to end the amazing conference.