Better Understanding for a Better World (BUBW) Conference
Annual High School Intercultural, Interfaith and Leadership Conferences
Youth are the hope of each nation, and the future of the world’s civilization is soon to rest in their hands. The most pressing issue they face today is how to view the "Other." The threat of terrorism, extremism, fanaticism and nationalism has brought with it fear, prejudice, hatred and suspicion of the "Other," which we aim to transcend.
Since 2006, CECF has seen an increased awareness by the exchange organizations and students, who are realizing the value, the benefit and the need for such an opportunity. Youth from up to 35 countries around the world participate in this five-day conference, which helps to break down barriers of ignorance and misperceptions of one another.
The five-day conference focuses on important issues such as:
- Cultural Diversity should lead to prosperity rather than adversity
- Religious Diversity should be a blessing rather than a curse
- Leadership Skills & Good Management in the age of the "global village"
Participants and Selection
The majority of the participants are international exchange students, who are in the U.S. for an academic year in a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. They are selected by their respective exchange organizations through a variety of means, one being an essay competition, which demonstrates their ability to engage in discussions and represent themselves, their countries and their cultures. Another manner in which exchange students are selected is by competing to give the most presentations about their countries/cultures during international education week in November each year. The organizations are able to reward students for their efforts, while achieving their goals to help educate American students and eliminate stereotypes. American high school students are encouraged to participate and are required to obtain two letters of recommendation from their school teachers. Schools outside the U.S are welcome to send students by contacting CECF.
Facilitate mutual understanding and appreciation between students from diverse regional, economic, social, religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
- Learn about and discuss the practice of religion and faith in a pluralistic society with the objective of promoting tolerance, mutual respect, and an awareness of common values.
- Discuss the danger of religious extremism, fanaticism or ethnic nationalism, which has historically been the recipe for wars and conflicts in many civilizations
- Introduce various aspects of leadership in the age of a "global village," including those involving business and entrepreneurship.
- Forge ties of friendship between the participants, who are without doubt, the future leaders of tomorrow and to encourage them to take the best that the American Experience has to offer.
While the focus of the conference is principally on Judaism, Christianity and Islam, participation is open to people all faiths, as well as those who may not be active in a particular faith tradition.
The first Better Understanding for a Better World Conference was organized by CECF in Orlando, FL in 2006. After two very successful programs and many requests from the exchange organizations, CECF expanded the annual conferences to include one in Baltimore, MD beginning in 2008. Then after six BUBW Conferences and a tremendous show of support, CECF expanded the annual conferences to include one in San Diego, CA beginning in 2010. Having BUBW Conferences in the Southeast, East Coast, and West Coast from January to April each year enables students to participate, who might not otherwise be able.
Follow-Up after the Conference
Students are requested to maintain contact with each other and make a presentation in their schools or communities on the issues they learned and discussed during the conference. As Alumni of the BUBW Conferences, they will be invited to join the annual International BUBW Conferences beginning in 2012.