Las Vegas Sun

December 19, 2014

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Where I Stand: Sun Youth Forum:

Students tackle issues on a global level

About 1,000 students from high schools throughout Southern Nevada participated in the 57th annual Sun Youth Forum on Nov. 13. The students were divided into groups to discuss a variety of topics. A representative was chosen from each group to write a column about the students’ findings. Sergey Fedossov of Palo Verde High School writes about issues covered by his group, Around the World.

On Nov. 13, Clark County students concerned about local and international issues went to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the Las Vegas Sun Youth Forum and saw the hushed murmur of the juvenile world become the powerful and moving roar of the future.

In my group, we discussed many international issues and a few domestic affairs and various problems.

The only unifying factor across all student attendees was their passion for current events and their selection by their advisers. People’s positions varied widely in discussions, stemming from every student’s upbringing. Everyone’s culture and experiences provided for new and separate points of view. These ideological divisions also provided an opportunity for everyone to learn something new with every exchange, whether it served a bias they came through the door with or helped dissolve it.

Opportunities for peers educating one another and hearing each others’ opinions aside, the focus of our room was developing solutions for the issues that were brought up. The chief concerns in the room were the extent of the United States’ support of Israel, the regulation of 3-D printed firearms, and the role of the United States and the United Nations in Syria.

Other problems that were brought up included the finite amount of resources in our world coming at risk of depletion because of the wasteful and destructive nature of developed society, and illiteracy in developed and undeveloped nations.

In a sense, all of the discussions flowed from a central controversy, and the point in question was the role of the United States and other world superpowers play in foreign affairs. On almost every topic, the positions held by students could be simplified to either: a.) the U.S. government should steer well clear of intervening in problems, or b.) the U.S. government is an effective source of solutions and can distribute resources and manpower in response to issues better than any private entity could.

Despite the few who held either diametrically opposed slant, and for no longer than a pair of topics at a time, all students fell somewhere between the two poles.

This proved to be an effective way of preventing any form of apparent partisanship to shine through in the room. It also provided an effective conduit for individual opinions, without the bias that comes with holding the standard of a certain political party or group aloft, and expedited the search of resolutions to the questions at hand.

As examples of these ideological jumps, some students who identified as being limited-government conservatives agreed with tracking measures of printed firearms, and more liberal students were hesitant with any form of U.S. action in Syria.

At the close of the forum, the majority of students left with at least some new knowledge and insight upon how their newly found peers from other schools thought and possessed a renewed faith in them, foreseeing a bright future guided by their equally gifted and motivated peers.

The Sun has, once again, provided a rich educational avenue for the unsung teenagers of Las Vegas to experience true sociopolitical discourse between peers and will hopefully continue to provide this platform for years to come.

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