Students Educate the Community on International Humanitarian Law and Child Soldiers

Grecia Ocampo, Cazzie Reyes, Vickie Berkow, Olivia Hollis, Joshua Hatler and Eileen Prescott (Photo by Duane Zehr)

March 28, 2014

By Dr. Jeanie Bukowski '86

Several Bradley students will end a yearlong immersion in international law with a child soldier simulation this weekend. The simulation will expose participants to the plight of children forced into warfare around the globe.

“We want to take you through some of the challenges they face after combat and some of the issues that they face during reintegration back into their communities,” said organizer Casmeer Reyes ’15. “Once you lose your childhood, your innocence, you can’t take it back. With this simulation we hope to open people’s eyes into the issue of child soldiers and allow them come to their own definition of what childhood is, what security is and what identity and humanity are.”

Simulations, which last a half hour, will run 5-8 p.m. on Friday, March 28 and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday, March 29 in Westlake Hall. Students will also organize a flash mob at 11 p.m. Friday during Late Night BU to call attention to the issue and to encourage attendance at Saturday’s activity.

Vickie Berkow '14, Joshua Hatler ‘17, Olivia Hollis ‘15, Grecia Ocampo ‘15 and Eileen Prescott ‘15 join Reyes on the international humanitarian law project, which is organized by the Red Cross. This initiative uses a peer education model and an experiential learning approach in which Bradley students chosen as team mentors received intensive preparation from the Red Cross, including a training session at Valparaiso University on October 4-6, 2013, and in turn are mentoring a student team in the implementation of the campaign.

Red Cross facilitator, Dr. Bob Wiltz ’70, complimented the students’ work through the year.

“These young men and women have put their hearts and souls into this campaign because they believe deeply in humanitarian values such as human dignity and equality, and in taking action  to instill these values in others,” he said. “Everyone who participates in the activities this weekend will have a new perspective on what it means for some children to be a child, and how the world can be changed when caring individuals take action. They are the community leaders of today, and will be the global leaders of tomorrow. We are incredibly proud of them.”