Teachers from Central Florida high schools gathered at UCF on Wednesday, June 12, to participate in the Teaching Global Peace and Security Workshop. Designed to bring issues of global peace and security to high school classrooms, the workshop covered a broad range of topics.

The teachers heard from multiple presenters throughout the day. John C. Bersia, special assistant to the president for Global Perspectives at UCF, shared personal anecdotes of lessons learned from Nobel Peace laureates. Ted Reynolds, Global Connections Fellow of Terrorism Studies and an adjunct instructor at UCF, discussed the growing problem of xenophobia in Europe, and how it poses a threat to security in several countries. Amal Kahn, advisory board member of the UCF Global Peace and Security Studies Program, focused on the topic of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan, and whether they are an international responsibility.

Keynote speaker Ambassador Gary Grappo discussed mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his former role as administrative head of the Quartet on the Middle East, and outlined the steps that would be most effective to resolve the conflict. The Quartet is a partnership of nations and international organizations led by Special Envoy Tony Blair.

After lunch, representatives from three Central Florida educational institutions discussed peace and security teaching resources. Paul Chapman, professor of humanities at Valencia College, talked about the school’s Peace and Justice Initiative. Bersia discussed UCF’s Global Peace and Security Studies Program, which he co-chairs. Vincent Intondi, professor of History at Seminole State College, talked about his work against nuclear weapons. Each school, while engaging peace and security issues from different approaches, offers materials and opportunities for high schools to get involved.

Jessica Gagnon, public affairs coordinator for the UCF Global Perspectives Office and an advisory board member for the Global Peace and Security Studies Program, gave a presentation on resources available to teachers to implement the lessons learned at the workshop.

This workshop was made possible by a partnership of the UCF Global Perspectives Office, UCF Global Peace and Securities Studies Program, United States Institute of Peace, UCF Terrorism Studies Program, UCF Political Science Department, Valencia College Peace and Justice Initiative, Seminole State College and the Global Connections Foundation.