Unity College will again host the annual PeaceJam Maine Slam, a one-day youth leadership conference for energetic students and community leaders from across the Northeast, on Saturday, Nov. 12.

The purpose of the conference is “to inspire and equip youth to step up and actively engage in creating a future they can be proud of – a peaceful, just world, full of hope and opportunity,” according to organizers. High school students engage in presentations, workshops, service learning projects, and family groups led by trained Unity College PeaceJam mentors.

“Unity College is proud to be part of powerful partnerships such as PeaceJam,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, who will deliver the keynote address. “The PeaceJam conference helps students understand how emerging leaders in the environmental century must have the cultural competency to work in diverse environments.

“In that way, PeaceJam becomes a gateway in which young adults can learn what it means to be global environmental citizens and leaders for the 21st century. I am proud of the work they do, and I am very proud Unity College is a PeaceJam partner.”

At the one-day conference, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., students will explore their roles as leaders and learn tactics to bring positive change to their communities with projects that engage students in the core principles of peace education.

“The mission of the PeaceJam Foundation is to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities, and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody,” said Cathy Roberts, of Montville, a PeaceJam organizer.

“Our Slam themes will focus on youth leadership and facilitation skills, as well as encouraging students to engage in activities in their communities that promote positive change,” she said. “We will explore topics such as positive role models, traits of leaders, different leadership roles, facilitation and team building skills. We are thrilled that Unity College PeaceJam students will mentor high school and middle-school students for this event.”

As an example of the enduring partnership between Unity College and PeaceJam, Roberts announced a $5,500 Maine Community Foundation grant will be used to fund a part-time Community Youth Leadership training position.

Dean Sheehan, a recent Unity College graduate and former president of the Unity College PeaceJam scholars group, will be the first to serve in that function, meeting with current PeaceJam groups, working with them on leadership and facilitation skills, providing ongoing support for community service learning projects, and more.

“Unity College is dedicated to a culture of inclusivity and diversity,” Khoury said. “That’s why we’re delighted to host this event every year, to provide a forum where the highest ideals of diversity and cultural competency can take root and flourish in our next generation of environmental leaders.”

Registration for the PeaceJam Maine Slam is $12 per person; $15 after Nov. 4, with a suggested donation of one nonperishable food item or one new pair of socks.

Limited scholarships for students are available. For more information, or to register for PeaceJam Maine Slam, click here.

Monday, November 07, 2016