WorldLink Program Gives Students a Platform to Address Global Issues

National and international human rights organizations have their say regarding violence and conflict that ravage countries around the globe. Non-governmental (NGO) agencies, activists and government leaders routinely deliver their stances, and oftentimes sit at the tables of negotiation. The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice’s (IPJ) WorldLink Program gives a voice to a different group – the youth.

Each year, the Institute welcomes more than 700 high school students from southern California and Mexico for a one-day event to discuss an issue of world importance. The 12th Annual WorldLink Youth Town Meeting will be held on Jan. 23, 2009, at the IPJ, on the campus of the University of San Diego. A key element to this meeting is that it’s developed, hosted and moderated by students. Students gain valuable leadership skills and are involved in every aspect of the meeting, from selecting speakers to choosing briefing topics, and deciding the theme for the next conference.

WorldLink provides the chance for students to explore and articulate their points of view on historical, contemporary and emerging global issues. Through the program’s focus on global education, students learn about issues facing the local and international community, and engage in thoughtful discussions about solutions in a forum where their voices are heard and valued.

The topic this year is: “On the Brink: Responding to Underlying Causes of Conflict,” focusing on gender inequality, racism and xenophobia, religious intolerance and economic inequity. The Youth Town Meeting is grounded in the belief that youth have much to offer and much to gain from discussion with experts and professionals regarding the complexities and challenges of international affairs. Students have been given the opportunity to engage in relevant and pressing global issues with experts in the field, attorneys, the Department of State and international NGO’s.

Sessions during the 12th Annual Youth Town Meeting include:

• Finding Hope From Adversity: Perspectives from Former Refugees
• This session will include speakers, ages 14 to 19, who are refugees from Iraq, Burma and Somalia.
• Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution? Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding
• Xenophobia: Cause or Weapon in Sudan’s Wars?
• The Economics of Political Violence
• Transforming Conflict into Love and Unity through Forgiveness
• This session will feature a father who forgave his son’s killer and is now working to eliminate youth violence
• More Destructive than Death: Why Rape is Replacing the AK-47 as the Weapon of Choice in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

For a complete list of briefing topics and additional information on the WorldLink Program, go to

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego, a Catholic Institution of higher learning chartered in 1949. The university enrolls approximately 7,500 undergraduate and graduate students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The inauguration this fall of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace brings the university’s total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Education, Law and Nursing and Health Science.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.