World Affairs Symposium


A student presents in the Academic Commons during the World Affairs Symposium. Photo credit: Reilly Gallagher.

By Reilly Gallagher and Mariana Cavalcanti de Castro

Collegiate Upper School’s History Department started the World Affairs Symposium last year in order to create a project that uses all of the research methods learned through World History 1, 2, and 3. This serves as an opportunity to teach sophomores the experience of creating a paper and presentation on a topic they feel most passionately about. The only restriction is that is has to be specifically relevant and international. With those two guidelines, each student is allowed to explore a plethora of topics which they pursue through the semester.

According to Upper School history teacher Brad Cooke, the World Affairs Symposium is “a culmination of research methodology and the opportunity for the students to pick something that [is] interesting to them and dive in this project.” This event happens on November 29th and December 6th during Creative Flex in the Academic Commons. For Ashley Eastep (‘18), who presented her project about Pope Francis last year, “[this project] is a good way of making us aware of the world issues.” During the presentation, students can make use of slideshows, boards, or any other prop that may add to their project. Eastep, for example, used a board with pictures and quotes, and also created a True or False game with controversial questions to test people’s knowledge about the subject. Frances Melvin (‘18) presented her project about rheumatic heart disease in Africa last year, and she says that during the presentation then Interim Upper School Head (and current Assistant Head of School) J.P. Watson, who has a degree in this topic, started an entertaining and wise conversation about it.

When I (Reilly Gallagher (‘18)) was doing this project, I really enjoyed being able to spend a whole semester indulging in my topic: 3D printing organs. It gave me the opportunity of researching and presenting a contemporary topic that influences the medical world. 

As an exchange student (co-author Mariana Cavalcanti) who everyday discovered a new project or Collegiate tradition, the World Affair Symposium seems like an entertaining and engaging project that highly increases the students’ knowledge about important and current issues around the world.

Be sure to come to the next World Affairs Symposium on Tuesday, December 6th during Creative Flex in the Academic Commons!

About the author

Reilly is 5 foot 2 3/4 inches