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Our steps might be small, but they're always going forward

By Ayesha Shaji, from the 2018 Global Goals Student Summit in New York City.

We started the fourth day of the Global Goals Student Summit with an introduction to Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. We were grouped into teams by region — South East Asia, Middle East, the Americas and Europe — and worked to find solutions to region-specific problems disrupting the peace in those areas.

Students are the future, so it is crucial to ask them for their perspectives on problems that their communities are struggling with. This gives them a voice to be advocates and address issues. Students’ opinions may differ from adults, but this is a chance to look at problems in another way. Also, it is a vital element for creating a sustainable society.

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We were then divided into two different groups based on our liking to work on either World Children’s Day or with the Global Goals survey statistics.

In the World Children’s Day workshop, we shared our ideas on what Nord Anglia Education could do to celebrate World Children’s Day on 20 November whilst bringing together all the students and staff from our 55 schools across 26 countries. We came up with ideas in six mini teams.

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Dorothea Brande once said, “A child’s mind is not a container to be filled but rather a fire to be kindled.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement. Thinking about last year’s celebration, we thought even more input from students would make it much more successful. For this year, the teachers decided students should come up with ideas and the best one would get chosen.

In the Global Goals statistics workshop, students were asked to look at themes from a Global Goals survey of students from 57 countries. The results showed how the importance of each goal varies on an individual and global level. We realised there are a diverse range of interests in the Sustainable Development Goals across society.

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The last and final workshop we did was ‘The action plan’. We were asked to make links between the goals and what we’ve accomplished so far at the Student Summit. We also thought about how the goals are important to our own communities and what measures we can take to improve the current situation.

I thought this was the perfect way to end the day: making links, thinking about what we’ve done during this trip, and giving back to society.

Students: you might not be able to drive a car or vote for your government yet, but you can surely make an impact on this planet and leave a beautiful mark.

So, wear your detective glasses and look for opportunities. Hint: they are everywhere!

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Ayesha Hana Shaji is a student at the British International School, Abu Dhabi.

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