Inside USD

Youth Town Meeting Provides Platform for Student Dialogue

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

2008worldlink.jpg“The actions of my generation will be determining factors in the advancement or digression of these issues.”
– Felicia Coito, Academy of Our Lady of Peace

 “I like the fact that people from different walks of life, can get together to talk about issues concerning the world we live in.”
– Brandon Cloud, Charter School of San Diego

“I would like to be a journalist at the WorldLink Conference for two reasons: to develop a keen sense of knowledge of the topics at the conference, all of which I am interested in, and to use my skills as a fledgling journalist to write a thorough article of a particular topic at the event.”
– Matt Wong, La Jolla Country Day

For youth, by youth. In their own words.Â

The University of San Diego’s 11th Annual WorldLink Youth Town Meeting is a place where middle and high school students have a voice and are given a forum to be heard and valued. Each year, students choose the topic for discussion. They start the meeting with the opening address, convene the sessions as moderators and document it all as journalists.Â

Lynne Talley
Harriet Hentges
Andrew Revkin
Alec Loorz

More than 700 students from 27 middle and high schools in southern California, Mexico, and South Korea will attend the meeting on Jan. 24, 2008, at the Joan. B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice on the USD campus.  The theme for this year’s meeting is “Untying Global Knots,” focusing on global warming and its complex connections to corporate and governmental affairs, media bias and poverty and health issues.  A panel of experts representing government, the legal community, human rights, corporate America, the media and academia will join the meeting.Â

 “It’s been absolutely amazing to see the passion and enthusiasm coming from these young students when we talk about global climate change,” said Karla Alvarez, program coordinator. “As I go from classroom to classroom presenting this year’s theme, the students are keenly aware of the enormous responsibility they have in finding a solution. They overwhelmingly voted on this topic a year ago – before Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) won the Nobel Peace Prize, before the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, before the media labeled going green as ‘cool.’ From middle schools and high schools to elite universities, young people have been the ones demanding change…and the rest of the world is finally beginning to listen.”

 WorldLink is a year-round, international youth program designed to connect students to global affairs. They learn and interact with a variety of experts on different topics of their choice. Among this year’s featured speakers:

  • Lynne Talley, Ph.D., professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and, as a member of IPCC, a 2007 Nobel Peace Laureate
  • Harriet Hentges,  former senior director of stakeholder engagement, Wal-Mart
  • Ron Bonn, adjunct professor of communications, USD, and former producer for CBS News, NBC News, CNN and The Discovery ChannelÂ
  • Andrew Revkin, New York Times environment correspondent (via video-conference)
  • 13-year-old Alec Loorz, founder of Kids vs. Global Warming, a youth-inspired and youth-led organization that informs, trains and empowers youth about the issues of global warming in terms that inspire action

This is a free, student-run conference for youth from different socio-economic levels. Past participants have noted that the meetings and issues discussed give them a true picture of how their actions today will affect the future.Â

“Being one of the most prominent issues my generation will face in the future, I feel a need to be better informed on the subject [of global warming],” said Youssif El-Rakabawy, a student at Otay Ranch High School in Chula Vista, Calif. “Getting the chance to hear experts, as well as fellow students, express their opinions on the subject [of global warming] will be a valuable experience.”Â

For more information on WorldLink, go to

  • Share/Bookmark