Posted tagged ‘George W. Holden’

The Summit Opens: Corporal Punishment, Nonviolence, & Children’s Rights

June 3, 2011

What a whirlwind night!

So many great moments at the opening tonight. Dr. Holden’s exuberant (and, at time emotional) opening speech. SMU Provost Dr. Paul Ludden’s anecdote on the ever-increasing disciplines of Dallas teachers. The standing ovations for Murray Straus, Nadine Block, and Peter Newell.

And let’s not forget the flags. What I had originally thought to be a small, generic international flag set turned out to elicit some of the most emotional responses of the night. The 29 flags inserted in the stand stood for the 29 countries that have now fully banished corporal punishment within their boundaries. Much like the rug from ‘The Big Lebowski’, this unassuming set seemed to tie the room together- speaker Mali Nilsson was more than proud to announce that her native country of Sweden (where she serves as an advocator for Save The Children) was the first country to abandon corporal punishment.

Internationally popular children’s singer Raffi Cavoukian kissed the tiny set during an exuberant mini-set he performed for the audience, mixing hits like ‘Counting on You’ and ‘Human Child’ with personal reflections on what led him to become such a prominent voice in the fight for children’s rights. (And wow, I didn’t know he’d racked up such an impressive set of awards and honors.) There was many a time during his performance where the audience themselves were drawn in to sing along with him. He also spoke in great detail about the Centre for Child Honouring, which he helped to found. It looks like a great start to help start spreading alternative influence against many of the child-rearing methods many take for granted.

The last two speakers of the night really shocked me. When I sat down with my laptop ready to watch and observe today, I didn’t have a clue that some of the biggest surprises of the night were going to be the performances and efforts of an 11-year-old and a 17-year-old. However, future Hockaday student Dawn Ford and New Zealand ‘youth crusader’ Johny O’Donnell easily garnered some of the biggest accolades of the night.

Ford, with a stage presence and command well beyond her years, gave a straightforward and humorous speech on how her parents raised her without physical discipline and how it made her into the person it is today. (A great rule for parents to use when disciplining their children, courtesy of Ford: “Know the rules, follow the rules, reap the awards!”) She then broke out into a rendition of Yolanda Adams’ ‘What About The Children’ that brought the audience to their feet. (Her sisters also provided an interpretative dance performance in front of the stage.)

O’Donnell began his story with a Maori prayer, then went on to describe how he ended up leaving high school early and becoming a (very) young ambassador for the children and youth of New Zealand with his leading role in forming SAVE- ‘Students Against Violence Everywhere’ – in 2009. Johny has played a big part in persuading the New Zealand government to recently ban corporal punishment from their country, and has been touring both his country and the world, raising awareness about children’s rights to both youth and adult groups alike. He’ll be speaking in the Engaging Youth lecture at 8:30a.m. on Saturday about his continued efforts in New Zealand. (Raffi will be speaking in a similar lecture, Engaging Faith Communities, at the same time. There are also three other lectures scheduled for that time block. What to choose??)

In short, a lot of amazing and unexpected things happened at tonight’s opening. I can only expect to see more over the next two days. See you tomorrow!


Welcome to Dallas!

June 2, 2011

Good morning, and welcome to the blog for the Global Summit on Ending Corporal Punishment and Promoting Positive Discipline!

The purpose of this blog will be to provide news and occasional commentary throughout the events, lectures and presentations provided throughout the conference. Updates and potential schedule changes will also be provided if necessary.

My name is Austin Reed, and I’ll be your host throughout this blog. I ‘technically’ graduated from SMU this past Spring semester with a major in Business Journalism and a double-minor in Business and Film Studies. (I still have to wrap up a couple of classes in a short July summer session, after which I will officially receive my diploma.)  I’ve contributed works and enditing for the Daily Mustang and the Daily Campus (both SMU student publications) and recently wrapped up an internship blogging for the SMU Forum, which is considered the news division for SMU faculty, staff, and general populace.

While the word ‘business’ appears twice in what will be my official diploma, I like to have an active and open mind when it comes to journalism, blogging, and writing itself. I’m consistently fascinated with stories from all facets of the news world, whether it be business, sports, or indeed, science. I was offered this position by an SMU professor of Psychology (and the Chair of this conference), Dr. George W. Holden. I am thankful for the opportunity he gave me to contribute to this endeavor, and I’m confident that I’ll be able to rise to the task.

I’ve placed a couple of links on the side of this blog to the Summit homepage and to the SMU Division of Psychology for further information. Also, here is a direct link to the conference program and a handy primer for travel and parking for Downtown Dallas (it’s not that bad here, I promise!)

I’ll be providing more coverage beginning tomorrow with the Summit’s first event, a screening of the documentary Love & Punishment at 4:30 p.m.

If you have any questions, complaints or suggestions for this blog, feel free to email or

Looking forward to seeing you later today!