This is Binghamton University’s first year participating in the IHL Action Campaign. IHL is a rarely-explored topic on our college campus, but it is a topic that is very important for everyone to learn about because it can relate to our everyday lives. If you pick up a newspaper and read through stories about current global conflicts, it is highly probable you will read about a violation of IHL being committed. It is important for our teams at Binghamton University to learn about IHL so that we can then educate our student community about what we have learned. Our goal is to educate as many people on the Binghamton University (BU) campus as possible in order to make a positive impact in our local community.
We have two IHL Action Campaign teams composed of BU students, but we will be completing our campaigns about refugees together on campus. We have found a great best practice is to contact professors, familiarizing them with the program so that they can not only recommend students for the team, but can also give extra credit to students who attend the Action Campaign. Additionally, some teachers will allow you to pitch the program for a few minutes during their classes, or they will connect you to internationally-focused groups that can help with networking and advertising the event. The most difficult part of the IHL Action Campaign is getting everyone together at the same time to work on it, but when we do meet, it is a blast. Everyone has very different backgrounds, but we share similar interests in global affairs and humanitarian work. Eventually, we hope more members from the Red Cross Club at Binghamton University will become interested in the program so that we can have an even further-reaching impact and can integrate the IHL Action Campaign into the club’s service projects. We are very excited to get our campaign off the ground and to present it to our peers within the next few weeks!
Meanwhile in Ithaca….
This is the 3rd year students from New Roots Charter School in Ithaca have participated in the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Action Campaign, and this year is better than ever. Each year we have participated has been great, teaching us more and more about IHL and various subtopics that relate to the body of international law. Some of us joined this program 3 years ago, and others last year, but it has always been for the same reason: we can make a difference in our community through education. For the previous 2 years, we have competed in the program through our Spanish class with our teacher, Maria Gimma. After placing in the top 5 teams and going to Washington, DC last year, we came back to NY and created a Red Cross IHL class at New Roots. This class has about 15 students, and everyone learns about IHL and creates the campaign. We have gotten great feedback about the class, and have been able to show the community a great program New Roots has to offer.
This year, our group is educating the community about the topic of gender through a simulation in a prisoner of war camp. We are planning on doing the campaign at New Roots Charter School, then Ithaca College, and Cornell University. Both Ithaca College and Cornell have Red Cross Clubs we will be partnering with, and we will also be working with the IHL team at Cornell University. Through these campaigns, we’ll be able to teach hundreds of students and teachers about gender in war and how it relates to IHL. We’ve learned the IHL Action Campaign takes a lot of commitment and hard work, but it is worth it to see so many people learn about important global issues and help make a difference in their community.
*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.