John Hunter and his 4th grade class from Agnor-Hurt Elementary School in Charlottesville, Virginia are invited to visit the Pentagon and meet with real defense strategists.
During their visit on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 Agnor-Hurt students will:
– Meet with officials from the Department of Defense
– Explore the ins and outs of national security policy-making
– Participate in an interactive discussion about current events with policy experts
– Interact with Department officials in a mock press briefing to understand the role of the media in the national security arena.
To prepare for their visit, Mr. Hunter and his class engaged in an intensive study of the major geographically strategic nations of the world and the issues that they are dealing with. The class was divided into regional bureaus, like an international news room would be. Each country’s staff or “desk” had to research the major issues facing their country or region. For example. the Pakistan Desk had to research the major causes and potential collateral effects of the internal instability in the Pakistan government as well as seek to understand the role of terrorism in this region. The African Desk focused on understanding the components of what is happening between Sudan and the newly formed South Sudan as well as the heightened political instability and sectarian violence in Nigeria.
Each bureau was then charges with developing a number of questions to pose to Department of Defense officials during their mock press briefing. I would image Pentagon officials will be duely amazed and surprised at the preparation and poise of Mr. Hunter’s class.
Mr. Hunter’s class was invited to visit the Pentagon after officials there screening the film “World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements” in the fall of 2011. I would imagine how schools are preparing our young people to be engaged, strategic problem-solvers and critical thinkers with an astute awareness of the global arena is a topic of great interest to Pentagon officials as they look to who will be our leaders, decision-makers, negotiators, and peace makers of the next generation. The type of teaching that presents students with ambiguous, complex issues that defy easy categorization or solutions, like what Mr. Hunter does in his World Peace Game, helps in cultivating not only creative and critical problem-solving skills. It also gives students practice in negotiation and communication, leadership, collaboration, research and synthesis, risk-taking, and most importantly, cultivates a sense of global stewardship for the world and its diverse people in their many diverse circumstances.
Congratulations to Mr. Hunter and his students for a great opportunity to visit the Pentagon and get an upclose look at the challenges of world peace.