Doors to Diplomacy Project ID: 6205

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: The Silent Tsunami ~ Global Food Crisis
Category: 3. Trade/International Economics

School: Ming-Dao High School, Dazhi High School
    Taichung County, Taichung County, Taiwan

4 students, ages 15 - 17 worked together to complete this Doors to Diplomacy project on March 10, 2010. They have participated in Doors to Diplomacy in the following year(s): 2010

Classes and Teachers: Jeng Li-wei, Chang Chia-wei (Coaches); Pin-hao, Yen-hsi, Chia-yu, Jun-Xiang (Students)

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

Our members are from different schools. Pin-hao is studying in Dazhi High School, and the others are from Ming-Dao High School.

Pin-hao is 15 years old. He participated in World Vision's 30 Hour Famine Relief activity. It provided him with a chance to think deeply about the food crisis. He assigned work, inspected content, and managed the production's rate of progress.

Yen-hsi is 16 years old. She participated in volunteer service in northern Thailand in summer vacation. Yen-hsi is like a powerful database, so she compiled valuable information and pictures.

Chia-yu is 16 years old. She went to northern Thailand for volunteer service in summer vacation, too. Chia-yu organized and edited information, and proofread and polished drafts.

Jun-xiang is 16 years old. He usually participates in his community's activities to give relief to poor familie. Jun-xiang acted as a graphic designer in our team.

Mr. Jen Li-wei is one of our coaches. He not only taught us the computer skills, but also led us into various discussions on international matters, just to broaden our horizons and add to our knowledge.

Miss Chang Chia-wei is well-versed in writing and literature. She acted a good coach. We have been able to draw a lot from her extensive knowledge on this area. We wish to be more like her, in both writing skills and caring heart.

2. Summary of Our Project

Recently, the grain crisis has risen above petroleum and environmental issues in conversational popularity. Swelling prices of grain has caused people to hit the streets and protest. Every country in the world is doing all they can to ensure they possess adequate grain supplies. Grain has also become one of the chips in international negotiations. Grain shortages, along with stark petroleum price increases, were key themes during the 2008 G8 Summit.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), on October 10, 2009, released a report on the grain crisis. The report indicated that in addition to the struggles of the financial crisis, the number of hungry people in 2009 reached a new record of a billion people. This rise was initially seen during the 1970s, and starting in 1995, it began to perpetually increase. People from poor countries have been affected most.

On the same day the International Food Policy Research Institute released the Global Hunger Index. The index indicated that currently there are 29 countries in need of serious help, and that there are 13 countries whose situation has been deteriorating since the 1990s. Moreover, this still does not reflect the impact of the financial crisis. Our research project's web page will explore the food shortages in various global contexts as well as the cause of the food crisis and possible solutions.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Our school connects to Taichung Zhongxin University Internet Center through a two-way 100Mbps optical fiber cable. From there we connect to Taiwan Academic Net (TAnet). A server is responsible for these networks. As for the Internet environment at the students' and teachers' homes, everyone uses 2M/256K Chunghwa telecom ADSL service.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

a) Time allocation - As we are from different schools, our team had to face the challenges posed by long-distance cooperation. Our tacit understanding of each other, that developed as we studied computer-based art together for more than two years, was important in overcoming this problem. With our relationships in place, we just needed to strategically collect and assess materials within our allocated time. Otherwise, we would not have been able to finish our work as a team.

b) Integration of our ideas - Within our team, there were times when we disagreed. To reach an agreement in such times, we found we just need to employ discussion and communication, and at times even voting. As everyone's specialty is different, we first worked on our own area of expertise, and then integrated each member's work into the project. With our advisor's help, this allowed us to fully utilize each of our talents. Through allocating work according to each individual's specialty, we were able to reach maximum efficiency.

c) Foreign language compensation - We gathered many reports and academic essays from different countries. As many of these were in their original language, we used translation software in order to quickly access the information. This tool was extremely useful and it allowed us to compensate for our inability to read the variety of languages we came across.

d) Drawing up interviews - In order to thoroughly understand the related government departments and research, we made steady efforts in inviting officials, academics and professionals to interviews. These experts were happy to share with us. The head of Taiwan's Agriculture and Food agency came to Taichung to speak with us. However, when we met with these professionals and officials, we were quite nervous. In order to make the most of these opportunities, and ease our nerves, we poured over each expert's history and related information. We then prepared the questions we wanted to ask in advance. We believe that it was necessary to prepare well, in advance of each interview, in order to express our appreciation towards each consultant. Drawing up interviews.

e) Advancement of technique - We found that the computer technology learned before was not enough to prepare us for real-world website construction. Through our teachers’unfaltering patience and guidance, we finally overcame the deficiencies.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Regardless of what form an international topic of debate takes on, as long as we whole-heartily engage in it, we can increase our perception and understanding of the world. This is a mission of love; it can take us to the next level. Pursing a better understanding of the world will help us establish a correct ethical value in associating with people and with the world around us. By allowing us to start caring about what is happening to mankind right now, we can begin to keep up with world pulsations and trends. Thus, through our report over the international food crisis, we will begin to develop an active compassionate heart that is focused towards helping people in need: we can begin to devote ourselves towards creating a more ideal and peaceful planet.

6. How did your activities and research for this Doors to Diplomacy Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

a) International view - In this age of a global village, to be concerned with international affairs has become a trend in every country in the world. The influence of the food crisis transcends national boundaries. Participating in this research project allows us to think in harmony with global affairs and to expand our field of view. Through such work we pursue a spirit of exploration that allows us to progress. We hope that our every advancement will become a movement to bring our school and community to the next level.

b) To help and love each other - In this age of self importance, we all pay attention to ourselves and ignore the people, materials and affairs around us, while technological advances, interpersonal relationships become less familiar. This has created an overly cold society. Therefore, opening one's eyes to the concerns of others will make up this regretful lack in our lives. It will give us more opportunities to meet people whose lives differ from our own. It will allow different kinds of economies to fill our lives. Through compassion we can love and help each other and embrace the world.

c) Life is priceless - Life has a different meaning and style to everyone. How do we turn our short life into a beautiful song? Consideration and action can make our life solid and follow a glorious path. Consideration is a priceless respect for life. We must start caring about the food crisis now.

d) Sharing as to offer a tribute - A person cannot decide the length of their life, but they can decide its depth and scope. We can turn all of our experiences, including this research project, into a life lesson. Through every one of these unique experiences, we can enrich our lives. This way, even if our life is filled with all kinds of regrets, it will still be complete, and the world will become perfect.

e) The application of the Internet - Our life is in a vast global village. The world outside of Taiwan is so extensive. We are appreciative of the development of computer technology and the application of the information sciences. These innovations provide an opportunity to understand people from different places, which will expand our vision and enrich our culture. Showing the food crisis and other peoples' hard work through the internet is a mission and responsibility within itself. This helps us establish a perception of value and obtain a moral consciousness that all world citizens should possess.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your Doors to Diplomacy project?

a) Hardware 1. Desktop Computer, Notebook Computer - To manage information and create a website. 2. Telephone - To contact with teachers, teammates, consultants, and related departments. 3. Voice Recorder - To record interviews with consultants; act as personal data recording devices. 4. Translator - To translate foreign language materials. 5. Camera, Digital Camera, Digital Video Camera - To photograph the research process and interviews. 6. Television - To collect news and related reports. 7. Screen - To watch reports and documentaries. 8. Scanner - To scan pictures and photographs.

b) Software 1. WORD2007 - To manage documents and files. 2. Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 - To create a website. 3. Adobe Flash CS4 - To create animation. 4. Adobe Photoshop CS4 - To image editing. 5. Adobe Illustrator CS4 - To image drafting. 6. SwiSHmax - To edit special effects for our fonts. 7. PhotoImpact X3 - To embellish illustrations, photographs and pictures. 8. Ulead GIF Animator 5 - To create photographic animation. 9. WS-FTP95LE - To transmit files. 10. MS-IE8.0 - To search for Internet data and inspect results. 11. ACDSee 10 - To browse pictures. 12. MS-Outlook Express - To receive and send emails. 13. Skype - To communication. 14. Dr.eye9.0 - To translate

c) Printed Material 1. Library, Cultural Center - to look up needed information. 2. Museum - To collect information and conduct interviews. 3. Books, Magazines - Searching for and double-check information. 4. Newspapers, Media - To collect reports that are related to our topic. 5. Oral Interviews - Oral statements from related professionals

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your Doors to Diplomacy project both on-line and in person.

a) Volunteer Service - The most important aspect of volunteer work is that it can be done in all social strata regardless of it's purpose, be it be aimed at oneself, societal tranquility, or democratic achievements. Additionally, volunteer work provides an opportunity to fully utilize one's abilities. Volunteer work is one of mankind's most lofty and glorious endeavors. Thus, when we participate in volunteer work, such as World Vision's 30 Hour Famine Relief or sending rice to old folks homes, we are deeply realizing the saying: “actions speak louder than words.”

b) Advocation of our ideas - After we read over reports and news pieces related to the food crisis, we realized we need to share what we learned with friends, classmates, and neighbors. To achieve this, we presented important aspects of our research as a poster and a film. This aroused consideration for the topic in our school and community. We hope that everyone can actualize their potential in the promotion of public well fare and justice.

c) Holding events - We held some events in our school and community. These events were “Mingdao Love”, ”Hungry for 12 Hours” and “Study Group.” The first two are in line with the operations of World Vision -- that is, to call on students to give financial support to children from third-world countries on a regular basis. The activities that we held also helped students learn about our precious resources through hunger. The last event gave students a chance to think about and discuss environmental resource protection. Many students from our school were interested in what we were doing. We hope that these events will continue until hunger is not a problem.

d) The essence of taking action - Although we cannot directly help those suffering from the food crisis on the ground, but we still would like to devote ourselves to taking practical actions at home. We hope to become humanitarian guardians who report on the food crisis. The essence for support towards this topic is letting the world learn about our precious resources. Therefore, we did not only work ourselves, acting as examples, but also used various events to get our friends and classmates involved and donated money to the needy. In the future we hope to gather more people around this cause.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

After we held public-outreach events, we discovered that many people do not understand the seriousness of the food shortage-crisis and its price increases. They also did not realize why so many children from third world countries die of hunger. They even believed that they don't need to worry as Taiwan has a safe supply of grain reserves. We told them that due to the finite nature of natural resources, we need to always care about international affairs and changes in the global environment. Although Taiwan's grain reserves are in tact, we still need to keep our outlook aimed towards the future and learn how to conserve humanity's precious resources. After hearing what we had said, many people changed their minds in agreement.

Secondly, some classmates and residents from our communities started to understand the threat the food-shortage crisis can bring as they participated in our events. They went as far as to guarantee that they will not waste food in the future. In efforts to lead others into thoroughly engaging the problem of food-shortages, we invited them to browse our web page. Afterwards, many people said that our work moved them. They said that we aroused their consciousness towards the food-shortage crisis and even put them in a position wherein they must send out their helping hand towards hungry residents of poor countries. We recommended that they participate in World Vision activities in the future. Through this they can extend Taiwan's love to everyplace in the world.

As food shortages affect everyone, we need to continue to think about this topic. Thus, we call on everyone to help victims of natural and man-made disasters. We all need to be understanding world citizens and spread the ideas presented in our research project. Through sharing what we have learned, we can attract more people towards helping those seriously affected by food shortages and towards watching over the world's resources.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

1. The Chairman of the Agriculture and Food Agency of Taiwan, Dr. Chen Wen-de - Dr. Chen not only agreed our interview, but also provided precious materials. During the day of the interview, the chairman invited many related professionals and scholars to attend. During the interview we learned about many specific government measures aimed at agriculture and food security.

2. The Secretary of the International Cooperation and Development Fund of Foreign Department, Mr. Tao Wen-long - The International Cooperation and Development Fund provided their publication “Borderless Love around the World”. This book clearly describes the contribution of Taiwan's technical personal abroad. During the interview process with secretary Tao, his eyes were focused and bright, because his organization has had many heroes whose work and sacrifice crafted stories of Taiwan abroad.

3. The Head of Chia-Yi Agricultural Experiment Station, Dr. Lai You-chang - Dr. Lai has a deep understanding of rice and yams. On the day of the interview he prepared materials from books and articles for us to refer to. He also explained the processing of grain, the distribution of rice, and possible future problems. Before we left, he took us to a successful potato farm.

4. The Technician of Taichung Agricultural Research Institute, Mr. Wei Qu-kai - We interviewed Mr. Wei Qu-kai. He showed us a movie and introduced us to specific methods for planting crops. He also talked about future methodological directions.

5) English Teacher – Mr. Hou Zheng - Mr. Hou approved of our research program and patiently taught us English translation.

6) The Vice CEO of USI, Mr. Jack Hou - Mr. Hou acted as our consultant. He constantly reminds us to find a most effective way to carry out our plans.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

a) A discovery of love and hope - Every small effort can change the environment. As long as we understand the correct attitude in interacting with the environment and land, our life will be in harmony with nature. We can help solve the food shortages. As long as we are willing to sacrifice for others, we can bring hope to those in distress. We discovered that unselfish devotion can create love and hope. This discovery inspired us to call on everyone to rethink the problems associated with food shortages. This discovery also made us want to make hunger a distant memory and spread peace happiness throughout the world.

b) The lesson of greed and ignorance - The world's resources are limited. The food that we all depend on faces the threat of natural disasters, wars and even man-made catastrophes. This is the lesson learned from greed and ignorance. Therefore, we need to not only thank every country's agriculturalists for their innovative work, but also thank dedicated conservationists. We need to express our deepest appreciation towards them. At the same time, we need to take responsibility for the world's precious resources and protect the natural environment.

c) The surprise of cultivation and innovation - Food is a life necessity. As was said in the book “The Long Walk”: “To leave your home to go across the world, such as the Republic of Liberia or the Guatemala, or perhaps to distant central Africa...40 years later a young man becomes old. They worked hard to spread Taiwan's experiences to allied countries through foreign aid.” These agricultural specialists painstakingly applied their knowledge and skills towards crafting the future of agriculture. This brought us to the surprising discovery that there are limitless possibilities waiting for us in the future.


View our Doors to Diplomacy Project (Project ID: 6205)

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