Over 400 participants came together at the University of Pennsylvania for ADL‘s 7th Annual Youth Leadership Conference: Exploring Diversity, Challenging Hate, the largest turnout for the event to date. Sponsored by Dr. Gabriel and Alma Elias, student representatives and educators from 43 high schools across three states met for the October 29th conference, hosted by No Place for Hate® and ADL’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute. The conference provided a forum for educators and students to discuss and action-plan ways to challenge bias in their schools.

Abraham Foxman addresses over 400 attendees at the Youth Leadership Conference. (photo courtesy of Scott Weiner)

In honor of ADL’s Centennial, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman told the powerful story of how he survived the Holocaust as a Hidden Child, protected by his Polish Catholic nanny who baptized and raised him as a Catholic. Mr. Foxman’s keynote address described the trials endured by his parents, who survived the war, and told of 14 members of his family who were lost. Mr. Foxman called on students to learn the lessons of the Holocaust by becoming leaders in the fight against hate in their schools.

After the keynote, students and teachers attended morning workshops with professional ADL trainers to learn about identity, bias, and bullying in their own lives. In the afternoon, school groups met to develop an action-plan that would bring the lessons they learned from the conference back to their schools. These powerful workshops deeply impacted the attendees. One student said, “The conference that we attended today was life changing for me, it has inspired me to think about so many different things on so many different levels.”

Students discuss issues of bias and bullying in their morning workshop. (photo courtesy of Scott Weiner)

Thanks to the opportunities provided by ADL’s 7th Annual Youth Leadership Conference: Exploring Diversity, Challenging Hate, over 400 young leaders and educators now have the knowledge and skills to promote respect for diversity in their communities.

To learn more about ADL’s anti-bias education programs, visit No Place for Hate and ADL’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute.