All SPICE News Blogs June 28, 2022

Local High School Students Connect with Stanford Security Experts

High school students from San Jose and Salinas Valley met online with scholars from Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation for the inaugural International Security Symposium.
Dr. Ignacio Ornelas Rodriguez speaks with Salinas students
Dr. Ignacio Ornelas Rodriguez speaks with Salinas students; photo courtesy Jocelyn Ortega/The Salinas Californian

In March 2022, SPICE released Introduction to Issues in International Security, an online lecture series that was developed in consultation with the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). Four CISAC scholars are featured in accessible video lectures that aim to introduce high school students to various global security issues.

Dr. Ignacio Ornelas Rodriguez, high school educator, historian, and researcher, was an advisor to the first cohort of high school students to engage with the lectures. Ornelas guided students from San Jose and Salinas through the video lectures and accompanying curriculum. Students took the initiative to complete the series and assignments on top of their regular schoolwork.

Ornelas’s efforts culminated in the inaugural International Security Symposium that was held on May 26, 2022. The four CISAC scholars gathered online with the first cohort of students. The objectives of the symposium were to offer students a chance to interact with leading scholars in the field of international security and to learn from the scholars about careers in the field.

The scholars, who are featured in the lecture series and who were present during the symposium, are:

Dr. Martha Crenshaw, Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (Terrorism and Counterterrorism)

The Honorable Rose Gottemoeller, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO and Frank E. and Arthur W. Payne Distinguished Lecturer at Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (International Security and North Korea’s Nuclear Program)

Dr. Norman Naimark, Professor of History and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide)

Dr. Megan J. Palmer, Executive Director of Bio Policy and Leadership Initiatives at Stanford University, Adjunct Professor in the department of Bioengineering, and Affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation (Biosecurity)

During the symposium, the scholars shared key turning points in their careers and how they came to be in their fields of expertise. This was followed by student presentations in breakout sessions, where the students were given the opportunity to present on one of the four topics covered in Introduction to Issues in International Security.

In the breakout session on ethnic cleansing and genocide, Professor Naimark was impressed by how the students had absorbed the most important lessons of the material on mass atrocities: 1) that ethnic cleansing and genocide are an important part of human history, and 2) that these are phenomena that need to be studied and understood in order to prevent them from repeating in the future.

The student participants from Salinas were recently featured in an article in The Salinas Californian. Alisal High School student Ashley Corral commented that the series “brought awareness to COVID, mass atrocities and weapons,” and “it was really helpful that students from Salinas Valley could have that opportunity.” Another student, Bilha Piceno said, “It lets me see if this is something that I’m interested in."

The lecture series encourages students to think about international security not only on a broader level, but also how they can contribute to the safety of the world as global citizens starting with their own communities. Given the success of the first symposium, CISAC and SPICE hope to expand on the lecture series, which is part of their DEI-focused efforts, and reach more underrepresented minority students.

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