Pacific Ridge School Student and Teacher Participate in International Dialogue on Middle East Conflict

Hands of Peace Program Complements Pacific Ridge School’s Global Engagement Curriculum.

Carlsbad, CA, September 24, 2009 --( One student and one teacher from Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad traveled to Chicago over the summer to participate in a two-and-a-half week program on co-existence in the Middle East. The program was developed by Hands of Peace, an interfaith organization developing peace-building and leadership skills in Israeli, Palestinian, and American teens through the power of dialogue and personal relationships.

“I’ve been involved in Hands of Peace for five years now,” said Scott Silk, history teacher at Pacific Ridge School and volunteer facilitator for Hands of Peace. This first trimester of school, Mr. Silk is teaching a Middle East History and Diplomacy class. “The connection between our students here at Pacific Ridge School and the students involved in the program is natural. With global engagement as a cornerstone of our curriculum, Pacific Ridge School students are perfect candidates for the program, as they possess the necessary skills, interests and understanding of global issues. The Hands of Peace program is not trying to change minds, but rather to help students understand their common humanity, to listen to other narratives on the conflict, and to develop as future leaders in their respective communities.”

This year’s program attracted 42 students total; 22 of the Middle Eastern delegation, and the remaining mostly from the surrounding Chicago area. Once selected into the program, international students are hosted by families in Chicago. While dialogue is the primary focus of the program, the students’ free time was filled with activities that included touring Chicago, meeting underprivileged youth, team-building exercises, watching plays and participating in host family activities.

Representing the Pacific Ridge School community, Mr. Silk was joined this year by 11th grade student, Kenneth Gudel of Carmel Valley. Next year, Mr. Silk will be joined by two Pacific Ridge School students, as the program continues to grow at the school.

For more information about Pacific Ridge School and its commitment to global engagement, visit

About Pacific Ridge School:
Opened in the fall of 2007, Pacific Ridge School is a non‐profit, independent middle and high school located in the North County, San Diego. With the distinctive mission of building a community that fosters academic excellence, ethical responsibility and global engagement, Pacific Ridge offers a first-rate educational experience to prepare students for college and a purposeful life. For more information, visit Pacific Ridge School does not discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, creed, or national origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, and other administered programs.

Pacific Ridge School
Caroline Callaway
(760) 448-9820