P2P winners provided roundtable discussion opportunity in Washington

26.07.2017 Stacey P2P

Student teams from all seven finalist schools granted exclusive access to policymakers

Susan Szmania (center), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office for Community Partnerships, moderated the panel. She is seen here welcoming the students to Washington earlier in the week, where she reiterated the importance of the government’s exchange with private sector, students and others, to work together on solutions to counter extremism.

Before departing Washington, D.C., after the Peer to Peer (P2P) U.S. and international finals events, all seven student teams were invited to attend a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Policy Roundtable Discussion on Thursday, July 20, at the Harry S. Truman Building, before departing for their home states and countries.

This was an exclusive opportunity for the teams, according to Lawrence, EdVenture Partners (EVP) account manager, because they were able to interact one-on-one with policymakers from various U.S. government agencies.

The roundtable consisted of members from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. State Department who specialize in areas such as Countering Violent Extremism, Counterterrorism and Conflict Stabilization. The panel was moderated by Susan Szmania, Senior Advisor to the Office for Community Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The following schools, whose P2P student teams had competed for top prize just one and two days prior, were granted “a seat at the table” for real, honest discussion with the policymakers who tackle the tough issues surrounding CVE on a daily basis:

American University of Nigeria (Nigeria)
CEU Universidad San Pablo (Spain)
University of Dhaka (Bangladesh)
University of Houston (United States)
University of Maryland (United States)
University of Massachusetts Lowell (United States)
Xavier University (Philippines)

“Each student group gave a one-minute summary of their campaign, product or tool they had developed during the competition, and each panelist discussed their roles in the CVE field,” explained Lawrence. “Through a question and answer portion, students then had the opportunity to ask questions about policy, current government strategy and future CVE plans.”

The students were all congratulated for their accomplishments as finalist teams and encouraged to “keep up their good work” beyond the competition, as they are now part of an important and growing group of over 10,000 students that form the international P2P community.

Two EVP staff who attended are P2P alumni, having formerly participated in the program themselves. They shared their personal stories about how their involvement with the program has shaped their career trajectories. And, they spoke about the continued success of teams they had been involved with, including receiving grant money to further educational curriculum, awards, speaking engagements and further travel opportunities their teams had received.

“My involvement in the program as a student last year resulted in so many wonderful opportunities,” said Livia, former first-place P2P team member who currently serves as an EVP program coordinator. “The roundtable discussion was an important feedback mechanism for students to know how they too can explore different options to continue their campaigns — they were able to ask questions and dive deeper into some of those prospects. It was encouraging for students to hear how they can have a lasting impact.”

It is estimated that approximately 25 percent of P2P teams continue their work past the competition period. Learn more about these stories in our blog series featuring outstanding P2P students and faculty, as they share their secrets of success, the first installment of which can be found here.