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CS In The Classroom: December Conference Summary

On December 7 and 9, 1998, the Education Program of Cultural Survival held its fourth annual Student Conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Gutman Library. Sixteen schools and over 400 students attended. The conference theme was "Maasai Survival, Conservation and Development in Kenya." Students were asked to invent a role for themselves as Maasai community members, government representatives, conservationists, or tourist agent CEOs in order to debate the issues and perspectives at hand.

The major project of the day engaged students in the design and mapping of their own national park. The idea was for students to synthesize their knowledge from round table debates, and in discussions with all the stakeholding groups (Maasai, Conservationists, Tourists, government of Kenya), formulate a vision for an ideal park aiming to satisfy all parties.

Students were encouraged to express their thoughts and views in the form of letters or essays. Letters were written to President Moi of Kenya and essays were written to the Nation newspaper in Nairobi. Some students outlined their concern about loss of land in conference speaker Joseph's community, while others voiced their complaints about government corruption. Some students discussed their ideas on how to improve tourism in Kenya in order to benefit wildlife, the Maasai, and the Kenyan economy.

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