Toronto ALPHA: History Meets Humanity Conference, May 15 2013

For the first time ever, the TCDSB and Toronto Alpha partnered up to present History Meets Humanity, a conference on World War II in Asia. Thank you to the ALPHA team who worked behind the scenes to make the event a success and to all of the students and teachers who attended this very meaningful event. We learned a lot and had a chance to reflect on a brutal and often overlooked part of our world’s history. A very special guest, Canadian author Joy Kogawa spoke to the students to close the day.

Stefan and Mikey always have fun setting up the DJ booth and multimedia needed for the day.
Stefan and Mikey always have fun setting up the DJ booth and multimedia needed for the day.
The conference was held at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School and there were close to 300 students and teachers in attendance.
Our awesome MCs!
Our awesome MCs, Patrick and Saerom!
Flora Chong
Toronto ALPHA Executive Director, Flora Chong welcoming everyone to History Meets Humanity.
The students launched into watching a 1 hour version of the documentary-drama, Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking.
The students launched into watching a 1 hour version of the documentary-drama, Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking.
Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking
The film was very interesting and also disturbing, so the students had a chance to debrief and ask questions about it afterward.
There were moments in the day to reflect on what we learned...
There were moments in the day to reflect on what we learned…
... and a chance to share our feelings and thoughts collectively.
… and a chance to share our feelings, thoughts, questions and action plans collectively.
There were breakout sessions covering various topics. This one was about the history of Korean comfort women.
There were breakout sessions covering various topics. This one was about the history of Korean “comfort women.”
Margaret Wells presenting her workshop to the students.
Margaret Wells presenting her workshop on chemical warfare to the students.
"Is Joe fresh?" was one of the questions posed in this workshop.
“Is Joe fresh?” was one of the questions posed in this workshop about Historical Memory, Ethical Behaviour and Denial.
A snapshot of the workshop.
A snapshot from the “Speaking Our Silenced Stories” breakout session reflecting on the Nanking Massacre.
During lunch, there was an impromptu talent show.
During lunch, there was an impromptu talent show. Students from all of the different schools signed up on-the-spot to showcase their gifts…
... from spoken word...
… from spoken word poetry…
... to singing ...
… to singing …
... to dancing...
… to dancing…
... and rapping!
… and rapping!
Before the end of the day, the students reflected further on what they learned at the conference...
Before the end of the day, the students reflected further on what they learned at the conference.
Each student had a Passport for learning.
Each student had a Passport for learning.
The event closed with a very special prayer led by Matt Ennis (OISE teacher candidate), Theresa Hoang (E-CSLIT Chair) and musicians Justin Bacchus and Kristin Fung.
The event closed with a very special prayer led by Matt Ennis (OISE teacher candidate), Theresa Hoang (E-CSLIT Chair)…
... and musicians Justin Bacchus and Kristin Fung leading prayer.
… and musicians Justin Bacchus and Kristin Fung leading us in song.
Thank you student leaders Theresa, Adrian, Karol and Mearah for taking the day off to help run the conference!
Thank you student leaders Theresa, Adrian, Karol and Mearah for giving up a day of classes to help run the conference!
All of the people who worked behind the scenes to put the conference together are looking forward to next year's event!
All of the people who worked behind the scenes to put the conference together are looking forward to next year’s event!

For more information about Toronto ALPHA, visit www.torontoalpha.org.

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