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World Affairs Seminar 2011

On Friday, March 4, more than 75 Upper School students and professional presenters led over 30 workshop sessions at this year’s World Affairs Seminar: “Social and Mass Media: Is Your Feed On?”

Students, faculty, parents, and alumni explored the role of media in the world today, beginning with the Emily Fisher keynote speaker, Charlene Li (K ’84). Li, a social media expert, consultant, and author of the New York Times bestseller Open Leadership, spoke about redefining leadership in the Facebook era and argued that today’s leaders need to adopt an open leadership approach in order to be effective.

Everyone also reflected on this year’s CK Community Read, Feed by M.T. Anderson, in an interactive panel. Students shared their thoughts on this dystopian novel in which television and the Internet are connected directly into people’s brains at infancy.

Venture investor, entrepreneur, and public speaker Chris Sacca took a break from the TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., to speak with students via Google chat. Among his many claims to fame, Sacca has served as Head of Special Initiatives at Google, was one of the first investors in Twitter, and now works with Twitter as a strategic advisor.

MTV’s first Twitter Jockey, Gabi Gregg (CK ’04), spoke about her experience leveraging social media to turn her passion into a business. Gregg won MTV’s “Follow Me: The Search for the First MTV TJ” contest in 2010 and was recently named one of “100 History Makers in the Making” by national news site theGrio.

Other guest presenters included Upper School Science Department Head Greg Miller, business analyst Scott Aikens (C ’84), online marketing professional Randy Lawrence, University of Michigan professor Elliot Soloway, and University of Michigan freshmen Mei Li, Sen Yuan Zhong, Cherry Tolbert, Ozi Uduma, and Hannah Montgomery (all CK ’10).

Student-led sessions explored topics such as pop culture, satirical news shows, advertising, text messaging, the role of social media in politics, media manipulation, media in other countries, and online identity.

The World Affairs Seminar is an annual conference for Upper School students, focusing on a topic of current relevance to the world. This day-long seminar features student-led discussions as well as presentations given by local authorities on the topic. The World Affairs Seminar began in the 1960s; recent themes have included democracy, world crisis management, sustainability, and the politics of food.

Charlene Li: http://www.charleneli.com | http://twitter.com/charleneli
Chris Sacca: http://www.whatisleft.org | http://twitter.com/sacca
Gabi Gregg: http://tj.mtv.com | http://twitter.com/MTVTJ
Randy Lawrence: http://flavors.me/randelaw | http://twitter.com/randelaw
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    • Chris Sacca in a Google chat with the audience

    • Charlene Li, K '84, speaks on open leadership

    • Randy Lawrence moderates the interactive panel

    • Associate Editor of the <i>Crane-Clarion</i> Michael Avi-Yonah (CK '13), Charlene Li (K '84), and Darren Chen (CK '12) after Charlene's presentation

    • Bennett Magy, Aaran Varatharajan, and Andrew Wilson (all CK '12) discuss behavioral targeting

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