May 4, 2012
Greensburg — CHICAGO, ILL. - Wednesday, April 25 was the third and final day of the World Summit for Nobel Peace Laureates conference, attended by teacher John Pratt and a group of students.
The final day of the 2012 World Summit for Nobel Peace Laureates began, for the most part, like all the others.
Students were ushered into an auditorium after passing through minor security Ñ most likely due to the fact that actor/activist Sean Penn was attending Ñ and seated.
Outside, the crowd continued to flow in, passing the metal detectors. As was the case in the two days prior, there were two panels of Nobel Laureates scheduled for the day.
The first consisted of four panelists, from various organizations such as the International Peace Bureau and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, discussing "A World without Nuclear Weapons." The second, with such people as the Dalai Lama and Mikhail Gorbachev, was entitled "World Peace and Nonviolence: Never Give Up."
The first discussion began with a history lesson.
As younger members of the audience, the students listened to the moderator of the discussion briefly outline the fears and issues associated with the Cold War. Dr. Ira Helfand of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War began the discussion by explaining the implications of a nuclear detonation. He broke down the various radii of the blast range, ending with a 16 mile radius, in which the heat from the blast would be so intense that everything flammable would burn and, as Helfand said, "everything would die."
After this intense moment of solemnity, the panelists discussed the issues with nuclear warfare and possibilities for world-wide nuclear disarmament. With the U.S. spending $7 billion every year to maintain the bombs we currently have, it becomes easy to see why nuclear disarmament would not only help in a safety sense, but also an economic one. When people are going hungry in Pakistan, but their government is building bombs, we have to look and see what we are doing wrong and what we can start to do right. Nuclear disarmament begins with nations, and should be pushed by NATO and the UN. As one panelist mentioned, "A future in which we live in fear of nuclear attack is not one that must be, but one that may be." We need to look at our current priorities and re-adjust how we approach nuclear weaponry.
After this panel, the stage was taken by the entire group of laureates, who stood as Sean Penn was presented the 2012 Peace Summit Award, for his humanitarian work in Haiti. He took the podium and began to speak.
Through a great many emotional words, he urged the audience to help in times of crisis. As he said, Haiti is a "one and a half hour flight from Miami, one of the richest cities in the richest country in the world." He also remarked on the political position of the country, remarking on everything from the oil industry paralyzing our government to the fact that "no president will ever succeed alone" and that we must take part in our political system. After Penn's speech, a Fiat/Chrysler representative took the stage. He spoke how Fiat looks at peace like a long term business plan. As he said, people living in peace and prosperity are happy and happy people buy cars.
This idea of peace and happiness carried into the final panel of the summit, which was about the importance of peace and nonviolence in our world. When asked about nonviolence, Professor Jodi Williams stated that "peace is not for wimps." It takes a great amount of courage and control to fight with words and actions rather than fists and guns.
The Dalai Lama brought up the idea that nonviolence and peace is all about communication and that those who do not pursue these ends frequently have "no ears, only mouths." They refuse to listen to other opinions or respect the differences of other people. He stated that we should "always respect the different views of different people." He also said that nonviolence and peace must start on the family level and progress through the community, national, and world level.
Professor Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh spoke about his methods of creating peace and prosperity. He received the Nobel Prize for starting a bank that provides loans to people that have little credit and who could not get loans from existing banks. He compared poor people to bonsai trees: When you plant a bonsai tree, you take good seeds from a large tree and place them in a pot. No matter how much cultivation you give to the tree, it will not grow large. The explanation for this can be only the pot. If you were to remove the tree from the pot, it would grow large and strong. In the same way, if the poor are removed from the system that is perpetuating their poverty, they can grow strong and support themselves. To this end, Professor Yunus's bank provides loans to the poor to help them help themselves.
He also presented the idea that if you pitted all of human creativity against all of the problems in the world, the creativity would win every time. However, this creativity is being wasted in the corporate world. The system we have created makes poverty the fault of the system, not the individual. As Yunus puts it, "why did we build a system where 50 percent of the people [in the world] are unemployed?" Former president Gorbachev summed up the discussion by saying: "We need a new system. More just. More stable. More humane."
The third and final day closed with a quick speech and a dismissal of the guests. The laureates and attendees were thanked and the summit was officially closed. The conference was attended by many youth and watched by thousands worldwide through the Internet. The entire emphasis was on what the next generation can do to help the world. The laureates realize that their generation is closing and the next one, whether it is fair or not, must take on the problems. The conference urged people to be humane, and to help other people as much as possible. As we students boarded a bus and left Chicago with a great experience, I felt a a new found sense of purpose and drive. Perhaps the best way to sum up the conference is with a quote by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martin Luther King Jr: "It's all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps."
May 3, 2012
Greensburg — CHICAGO, ILL. - Throughout the Nobel Laureates Peace Summit, inspiration was felt all around the room by those who attended.
Many words of inspiration were spoken the second day of the Nobel Peace Summit, and several outstanding people shared their knowledge with the audience. These people included Jody Williams, Lech Walesa, F. W. de Klerc, and Shirin Ebadi.
After hearing these people talk, many students felt they "knew they could make a difference."
The theme for the second day was "Women Forging Peace." Being female, this theme was particularly important to this reporter.
The panelists went on to talk about how women need to go out and demand peace within the world. Their words were empowering. They gave advice about how one person can make a difference. Volunteering was a primary action that got the Peace Prize winners where they are today.
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1997, took the stage by storm. "To achieve peace is to get true equality," Williams stated.
If everyone is considered equal, then peace would be spread through the world, he said.
A common theme was "stand up and speak out for peace."
This reporter was one of the few lucky students who were chosen to be in the video. Those in charge of the video basically asked me to tell what each of us had learned. Something learned was that everyone can make a difference.
People can come from a little town and make a difference, and the students who attended the Nobel Laureates Peace Summit learned many things that they will pass along to anybody and everybody.
All in attendance were encouraged to "stand up and speak out for peace."
(Beth Bowman is a student at North Decatur High School who attended last week's Nobel Laureates Peace Summit in Chicago. In all, 30 students from North Decatur, South Decatur and Greensburg High School attended the conference, which was the first of its kind in the United States. A report from the third and final day of the event will appear in an upcoming edition of the Daily News.)
March 5, 2012
News Release - From Inside Indiana Business
Columbus, IN – Over the past weekend 20 finalists from seven counties in Southeastern Indiana presented their ideas for a chance at winning $10,000 as part of the next-generation youth entrepreneurship initiative known as the Maverick Challenge.
The Maverick Challenge program is designed to give high school entrepreneurs hands-on experience in the practice of entrepreneurship. Counties who participated this year include Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, and Scott. Since its inception in 2008 over 450 students have participated in the program and more than $40,000 has been awarded.
“This is a great program that really encourages our young people to think outside the box and explore opportunities in our free market environment,” stated Don Horan a judge for the Challenge. “As a judge I was impressed with the great ideas, business plans and presentations our young entrepreneurs brought to the regional event. Congratulations to all the participants and our winners on a job well done.”
This year’s winners presented three unique ideas. Morgan Tomson, a junior from South Decatur High School, was awarded $3,500 for her idea Tomson Cattle. Her innovative plan was to combine embryo transfer work and artificial insemination for cattle with traditional agriculture and offer an on-site facility for housing and providing donor cattle services.
Dillon Shaffer, a junior from Columbus North High School, was awarded $2,500 for his creative way of providing organic chicken to customers through his business Healthy Hens. Brownstown High School seniors Hunter Davidson and Tyler Bishop also received $1,000 for their innovative way of providing customers frozen yogurt-to-go through a vending machine format with their business For-Yo-To-Go.
Maverick Challenge Regional Coordinator and Enterprise Columbus Director Amber Fischvogt stated, “This is a way for us to spotlight the young innovators we have in our region. It’s also a great opportunity to reach out to students and teach them about innovation while exposing them to viable career opportunities through entrepreneurship.”
Students through out the Challenge have access to workshops and online tools needed to take their idea from a concept and develop it into a full business plan. Students submit these plans which then go through multiple rounds of judging at both the county and regional level. Finalists present their plans to a panel of regional judges consisting of entrepreneurs, service providers, educational representatives, and other community leaders. All finalists will receive a cash prize for their hard work and effort in developing an idea and attempting to take it to the next level.
2011 Maverick Challenge Winners
Regional Partners for the Maverick Challenge include: Brownstown Chamber of Commerce, Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Community Education Coalition, Economic Opportunities 2015, Economic Development Partners of Jefferson County, Enterprise Columbus, Greensburg Chamber of Commerce, Jackson County Industrial Development Corporation, Jennings County Economic Development, IUPUC, Main Street Greensburg, Mid-America Science Park, Seymour Chamber of Commerce, Southeastern Indiana SBDC, and Werling Charitable Foundation.
The Maverick Challenge aims to further develop the innovative spirit of Indiana by reaching out to high school students and showing them viable career opportunities through entrepreneurship. It was started in 2008 by the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Columbus. Since then over 450 students from more than 15 high schools across seven counties have participated in the Challenge and over $40,000 has been awarded to students.
Source: Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce
April 30, 2012
Greensburg — CHICAGO, Ill. - Monday, April 23 marked the first day of the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.
This was the first time this event has been held in North America, taking place in Chicago, Ill.
Starting at 1 p.m. in the UIC Forum, a group of 30 students were exposed to several important individuals individuals who have changed and shaped the world.
The students were not only joined by a panel of speakers, but also in their presence was the family of John and Bobby Kennedy. Talk of peace floated in the air and the students and guests were surrounded by wisdom, faith, and hope. "Go on, move ahead, and change the world," spoken by Lech Walesa, was just one of the inspiring quotes heard. "Speak up, speak out for freedom and rights."
At the start of the event, guests heard from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Following his motivational speech was a quick video from President Barack Obama and speeches from various guests. A group of students congregated on the stage to introduce the Decatur County students to their panel speakers and former Nobel Peace Prize Winners.
During the first panel, the students were joined by Former President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Walesa, Former President of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Mikhail Gorbachev, Former President of the Republic of South Africa, Frederik Willem de Klerk, and Former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter.
To say the students were inspired by their words would be a horrible understatement.
They spoke of their life and their accomplishments and what they believe still needs to be changed. Frederik Willem de Klerk mentioned, "Two and a half of seven million people live in misery (hunger and poverty.) Leaders have to put their heads together and realize how to deal with diversity." Mikhail Gorbachev declared that "militarization must be stopped." This was a topic on which all of the Laureates agreed.
"Humankind has to say war comes last, peace comes first," stated former President Carter.
They also spoke of how our nation's money is being spent in the wrong way, that the young individuals need to have an education and there should not be anyone who does not have a job.
There was a statement that there should not be a such thing as unemployment because the people without jobs are capable and willing. Gorbachev also mentioned, "People want change and it is not happening. Political societies are not listening. They must work together, work resolutely to change the world."
During the second panel, the students were honored by the presence of Mr. Alexander Liebeskind, International Committee of the Red Cross, Ms. Telma Viale, International Labour Organization, H.E. Ambassador from the United Nations, Thomas Stelzer, Professor from Bangladesh, Muhammad Yunas, and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri. With the theme being, "Investing in Peace," the audience heard a lot about current happenings and beliefs.
Muhammad Yunas also shared a brief story. He stated that you could take a seedling from the biggest and toughest tree and plant it in a pot. After you proceed to watch the plant grow, you wonder why the plant did not grow big and strong like the tree you got it from. He stated that the reason for this was because we did not give the plant enough room to grow and branch out. He was relating this situation to the people living in poverty, who are unemployed. We as a society, as a government, do not give them enough room to grow and succeed. He is saying that they are overlooked because they are living in poverty, but why are they living this way? The government was his answer.
The panel discussed this topic in detail explaining how the government and companies need to create more jobs because we are leading our population into a mass destruction. Professor Yunus believes that poverty can be gone and it is not "will it happen, but when it will happen." One subject that was raised throughout the whole day was that anyone can make a change it only takes one; to not be afraid of discouragement and arguments. When you find a passion, follow it with open arms. "Do not be discouraged by failure because you can still win a Nobel Peace Prize," Lech Walesa stated.
The first day of the Summit was quite a success and an honor for those who attended. Just like a part of a movie they showed stated, "Imagine a world without military occupation, without poverty, without economic exploitation, without environmental destruction, without violence, without prejudice based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, without corruption that preserves human rights, without armed conflict. Imagine that world and make it real." The audience was encouraged to speak up and speak out for freedom and rights.
Kaitlynn Scheidler is a student at North Decatur High School. She attended the World Peace Summit in Chicago alongside 29 fellow Decatur County students and her teacher, John Pratt.
Additional submitted stories from other students concerning the event will be published in future editions of the Daily News.
Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN
December 7, 2011
Cougar FCCLA lends Shelter a hand
Greensburg Daily News
Greensburg — GREENSBURG - Thirteen South Decatur FCCLA members went to the Greensburg-Decatur County Animal Shelter to help clean the cages and prepare the animals for an adoption fair. A group of members had made heart-shaped animal treats to give the dogs. At the shelter, the students worked diligently scrubbing the cement-block cages and bathing many of the animals.
FCCLA members who participated included Natasha Bruce, Courtney Dickson, Kristen Fenley, Byron Haley, Taylor Hammond, Brittany Hulse, Chelsi Gilbert, Anna Peters, Olivia Rigby, Kaleb Skaggs, Emma Smith, Patsy Valencia and Allyson Woodall.
Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) encourages its members to become caring citizens and strong leaders in their communities. Mrs. Joyce Crane, FCCLA Adviser, accompanied the group.