Looking Ahead to This Year’s Campaign
We are the IHL group from the OASIS after school program, which is part of Union-Endicott High School in Endicott, New York. Our team got involved with the IHL Action Campaign last year, and we are participating again this year because it was a lot of fun. We joined this program because we find the topic of IHL to be very interesting. We don’t learn much about IHL in school, but some of us hope to go into the international studies field or even on to law school after high school, so the IHL Action Campaign exposes us to these areas of study. Last year, we did a campaign about child soldiers, connecting the subject to international justice. The most interesting thing we learned during that IHL Action Campaign was how many child soldiers are actually living and fighting today– hundreds of thousands more child soldiers still exist today than we thought. We also got to perform a sketch about these topics at Binghamton University.
This year’s topics are different from last year’s options. Between the topics of refugees and gender, we have chosen to do a flash mob about refugees. We’re still deciding where to hold our event, but are looking forward to teaching hundreds of people about IHL!
Creating a Meaningful Campaign
International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is the body of law that serves as the written and unwritten rules of war. Our team at Syracuse University is learning about IHL with the hope that we can make a difference in the world, even if just on a small scale at our school. Before this year, most of us had never heard of IHL or that rules of war even existed. However, in only a couple of months, we’ve realized what IHL is all about and how it relates to what is currently happening in our world.
When we learned about the IHL Action Campaign at a tabling event in our student center, it seemed like a great and interesting idea. As all our majors relate to international studies or public policy in some way, this program corresponds to our academic goals and interests. Although we started working on our IHL Action Campaign just one month ago, we have made a lot of progress because our teammates are passionate about the subject. We are focusing on the topic of refugees because we interact with refugees, or children of refugees, regularly and want to help promote their stories. Syracuse has a diverse population, and a larger-than-expected percentage of its inhabitants are refugees. Being involved with this IHL Action Campaign lets us learn more about the law in an exciting way, and it also allows us to connect our community members to the material in a way that’s meaningful to them.
*The purpose of the IHL Action Campaign is for young people to teach their peers about the importance of IHL, as well as issues related to gender, refugees, and humanitarianism.