NAE-UNICEF Summit 2021: ‘I can be an instrument of change’ Yuna Song, one of our student journalists at the NAE-UNICEF Summit, talks about her experiences at the 2021 summit.
Yuna Song, one of our student journalists at the NAE-UNICEF Summit, talks about her experiences at the 2021 summit.
When I first heard about this year’s NAE-UNICEF summit, I was confident I would take part in it, and it was one of the best opportunities ever given to me by my school, the Prague British International School.
Before it started, I was so excited because I was curious to see how other school communities had come together, especially considering the circumstances around the pandemic. To my surprise, all the students taking part were motivated and fully committed right from the first session, and it was extremely inspiring to see.
My favorite workshop from the summit was High-level Political Forum side event. This session engaged our students with other young advocates from all around the world, and each of them shared a meaningful and emotive anecdote. All the stories touched me and my peers’ hearts. It was a great experience to listen to all the issues around the world and it’s fascinating how our problems are not so different around the world. The fact that these young people made time for us to spread awareness despite language barriers and the restrictions really gave me hope for humanity.
During these sessions, I couldn’t stop reminding myself how blessed I was to learn about troubling issues without having to experiencing them. For example, there are so many children being forced into labor, not being able to finish school, and overall just having their lives at risk. I have a lot of sympathy for them, and I’m motivated to act until there are no more children left alone and damaged.
This year, I also worked as a journalist along with two other wonderful students from two different Nord Anglia schools, and we wrote social media updates all through the week. I’ve always been interested in writing, and the idea of my words are being read by people around the world was insane to me. However, it wasn’t a piece of cake. I did face some difficulties trying to squeeze information out of my brain after the two fellow journalists were way ahead of me with their thoughts and work. It was a challenge for me, but I learned to adapt and started putting my own opinions into my writing to make it more original. This was just another obstacle I had to overcome, and it was a great lesson for my future.
Just before this year’s summit, I took a trip the UNICEF office in my own city, Prague. An instructor there introduced me to a quote from Dag Hammarskjöld that opened my eyes and changed my perspective about the world’s concerns: “The United Nations was not created to take humanity to heaven, but to save it from hell.”
For the longest time, I’ve only looked for solutions that were “perfect” and that can make everyone happy. However, there’s no such thing as perfect, there’s no such thing as paradise, and there’s definitely no such thing as heaven on earth.
We, as a community, need to learn how to fix mankind’s past mistakes and ensure any chances of experiencing certain negative outcomes are completely prevented. I was glad I came across this quote before the summit because it made my experience even more meaningful.
I learned from this week-long summit that anyone can be a part of change, no matter how big or small. I've encountered a wider variety of situations than I ever have in my entire life, and it made me realize I can also be an important factor in the world’s journey to improvement.
I’m looking forward to more opportunities in the future to make positive changes. I will step out of my comfort zone and take risks and face bigger challenges. Anyone can contribute to change, so I want to let the everyone reading this know that that they should not be afraid to jump into challenges if their intentions are right.