Just World Festival 2013 advocates youth activism

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Just World Festival 2013 advocates youth activism

Sarah Metzel, Staff Member

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As you walk to class, you hear conversations in the hallway, being spoken in Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese and Urdu. The culture of AHS is unique, with students from over 80 different countries and with families from all walks of life. Reflecting this diversity, the Just World club hosts its annual just world festival which displays various cultural practices and traditions.

The Just World Club has spent the past two months preparing for its annual Just World Festival. The event will take place on Feb. 22, from 2:30 – 6 p.m. in the cafeteria and surrounding classrooms. Admission is free, but attendees are advised to bring spending money for food  and donations.

Traditionally, the festival showcases the diversity of AHS through interactive activities such as dance workshops, inspirational speakers and international food. This year, the event will feature all these essential components, but it will also embody the theme of youth activism.

“Youth activism requires open mindedness and what better way to do that then explore the wonderful cultures right here at Annandale?” senior President of Just World Sameen Yusuf said. “We’re trying to take advantage of the International Baccalaureate community, diversity and activism right here in Northern Virginia.”

“So far, the groups that have committed to coming to the festival are LearnServe International, Young Changemakers, Black Coffee Society (from James Hubert Blake HS), STAND, Alternative House and The Catharsis, to name a few,” Yusuf said. “The cultural activities such as dancing, henna, IndAroma, Food Corner Kabob and others tie into our theme because part of being a global citizen as a teenager is knowing about and being comfortable with the cultures around you.”

Club members have been contacting youth activists and pertinent organizations that would like to present their work at the festival. By contacting people via email, phone calls and social media sites, the festival planners have attracted a wide range of organizations suitable to the wide range of personalities at AHS.

Aaron Jenkins, the program director of Operation Understanding DC; a youth leadership organization, will also be speaking at this years Just World Festival. Since the Just World Festival is advocating youth activism, Jenkins will be providing thoughtful insights on how to get young leaders more active.

“I have high hopes for the festival this year because of how far we have reached out to organizations with the theme of youth activism,” senior co-vice president Andre Vaca said.

“It is going to be a great opportunity for those attending the festival to understand that they are part of a global community and should be active citizens. Even individuals without the capability of investing their time in supporting causes will have the chance to do something through different methods,” Vaca said.

In addition to attracting local and global organizations for the event, members of the Just World Club have been busy publicizing the festival. They have been making creative posters to hang in the hallways and decorating the display case outside of the cafeteria. Although the event is free and open to the public, paper invitations will soon be circulating amidst the student body via club members.

“Students should definitely go to the festival because they’ll be able to find organizations that they can be a part of with people their own age,” senior co-vice president Zeinab Safi said. “I really hope that the attendees of the festival learn more about different organizations and strive to make a difference in not only our community but our world.”

With the cancellation of Heritage Night, the Just World festival will take on full responsibility as the event in charge of showcasing the diversity of AHS. As club officers and members continue to work on planning the event, their excitement for the big day is tangible.

“We hope that the event will inspire attendees to make small yet important changes in their lives, said Yusuf. “They’ll be able to make a difference in their local and global communities. Awareness leads to action and awareness plus action equals impact.”

For more information, visit www.ahsjustworld.org