Students at Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School will get a first-hand lesson in civics during a student-led debate on U.S. foreign aid, set for Wednesday, Feb. 24. Approximately 25 juniors and seniors in the International Relations course will divide into three teams to present and debate three different opinions on U.S. foreign aid, during a unique school-day event, beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the school’s North Building.
One group of students will take the viewpoint that the U.S. has an obligation to address the struggles of countries that have less resources and wealth, that the U.S. should cooperate to make a better world for all. Another group will argue that foreign aid should always serve America’s economic and security interests. The final group will take an isolationist approach, presenting that the U.S. government’s first responsibility is to those in its own country.
Debaters will be judged and guided by a select group of professional panelists:
• Stephen Bridges, a career diplomat, former British ambassador to Cambodia and current British consul general
• Kelly Keogh, social science teacher from Normal Community High School and instructor for the Watson Institute at Brown University
• Ian Solomon, vice president for global engagement at the University of Chicago and former U.S. representative to the World Bank
• Michele Wucker, author and past president of the World Policy Institute
The panelists will also be guest presenters during an IB Economics class earlier in the day. According to Scott Aronson, H-F’s International Relations teacher, the ultimate goal of this debate is to cultivate civic responsibility in students.
“It is vitally important that students be assured that they are part of the democratic process and that their voices will be heard,” he says. “Hopefully, our students will walk away with a deeper understanding of the U.S. role in the world and see the possibilities that are open to them when they choose to engage in — and pursue — an interest in civic government and international relations.”