Each representative selected for the summit was assigned roles, in addition to the above activities. Students of all ages across all the Nord Anglia schools had competed in an art contest focusing on the Global Goals, and the winning entries were displayed in the lobby of the distinguished organization’s headquarters. Ha Minh was tasked with presenting and discussing the work with UN representatives who passed by during their daily routines. To her surprise, one of the representatives took her to the backstage areas in the building that tourists are normally restricted from. Seeing the inner-workings of such an important international body was one of the most thrilling moments of the trip.
But more than just give tours and deliver speeches, the UN professionals were there to listen to and learn from the students. Ha Minh invited those she spoke with at the art display to attend the workshops where students gave speeches. The adults were so interested that more arrived than there were available seats! They were eager to hear about young people’s experiences, perspectives and ideas and ask what they could be doing better to reach youths around the world.
While BIS prides itself on its diverse student body, another advantage of the trip was introducing students to peers with different backgrounds. The MUN debate, for example, involved discussing various issues related to the Global Goals. As a member of BIS’ MUN club, Ha Minh thought she knew what to expect from the activity, but was surprised by the different ways people approached topics. “Seeing how people from different cultures respond to global issues and then coming back to school in Vietnam to study those issues definitely changed my perspective on them,” she says.