Survivor: Cold War Conflict Resolution for At-Risk Youth
Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum
Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum
Ottawa, ON Canada
September 26, 2012
More than 1,000
Overview:Survivor: Cold War Conflict Resolution Workshops for At-Risk Youth
Imagine an interactive workshop designed to engage youth while learning key conflict resolutions skills. Imagine an immersive museum experience for at-risk youth in Ottawa. Imagine learning for the future, from the past.
An Immersive Interactive Experience
The Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, would like to use actual scenarios, designed by Emergency Preparedness Canada during the Cold War to train Canada’s top government officials, to teach at-risk youth valuable conflict resolution skills.
The Diefenbunker is a 100,000 square foot nuclear bunker. In the event of an attack on Ottawa, the Diefenbunker was designed to house 535 of the country’s most important political and military personnel. Today it is a Cold War Museum and National Historic Site, a unique and enthralling step back in time to an era of international political tension, paranoia and national emergency preparedness.
The Diefenbunker has been a museum, a private non-profit and a registered charity since 1998. We rely on the support of our community to keep the doors open to Canada’s only Cold War museum.
At the Diefenbunker, we have a new vision brought on by the creation of our new 5-year strategic plan. By showcasing Canada’s preparedness to secure the seat of government during the Cold War, the Diefenbunker creates this country’s most unique enjoyable, learning environment for present and future generations to better understand one of the most critical times in the world’s history. Our care of the Diefenbunker will make sure the best of the past is kept to enrich our lives today and in the future.
For the first time, we are faced with a generation of students who did not live through the Cold War. As Canada’s Cold War Museum, it is our job to teach youth the lessons of the Cold War. They are lessons in civil courage, in diplomacy and in conflict resolution. These lessons, in turn, can give at-risk youth valuable life skills. They can learn for their future, from the past.
Lockdown at the Diefenbunker
The program will be a first person lock down scenario in our 100,000 square foot nuclear bunker. Participants will take on key roles of government in a simulated nuclear disaster scenario. They will be required to work together to make decisions and analyse the consequences of their actions. The decisions they make could mean life or death for Canadians outside the safety of the walls of the Diefenbunker.
These scenarios will be directly based on historical examples of Emergency Preparedness planning. They will utilize actual scenarios used to train government officials in the 1980s. They will make use of techniques for fallout reading and existing communication facilities that link the Diefenbunker to the world in a time of crisis.
At the end of the workshop, participants will have worked together to preserve the future of Canada after a nuclear attack. They will also receive a debrief of the consequences of their decisions and ethical dilemmas. The goal of this workshop is ultimately to develop conflict resolution skills and improve group dynamics in at-risk youth.
A Third Space for Learning
This is a new kind of program for the Diefenbunker. It is important for museums, as educational and community institutions, to work with youth of all backgrounds and to help with the development of a strong and vibrant community. The Museum will provide a safe "third space," outside of the classroom and the home, for youth to learn and work together. Recent trends in education have proven that this type of outside the classroom experience serves to create class cohesion and a better sense of community within the class. The Diefenbunker in particular is a unique space by nature, and often succeeds at engaging visitors who don’t normally find historical attractions and cultural spaces appealing, especially youth.
To make this program accessible to all, the program will be free for all youth. The Aviva Community Fund would help fund introductory and conclusion lessons by Diefenbunker staff in the classroom of the partipating schools. It would also cover the expenses associated with renting school buses for student transportation. In addition, the Aviva Community Fund would fund consultations with conflict resolution professionals, as well as the development of all the necessary materials to make this experience the best possible for the youth involved.
At the Diefenbunker, we are in a unique position to teach youth, not only about the Cold War, but about the steps and methods of successful conflict resolution. After all, one of the most remarkable things about the Cold War was that it was the greatest international arming to date, but it never resulted in any direct conflict, in large part due to systematic diplomatic relations. With this unique conflict resolution program, students will be able to learn this from deep within the heart of the Diefenbunker, 75 feet underground.
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