The Village School and Nord Anglia’s collaboration with UNICEF provides opportunities for our students to engage with and influence leaders at regional and global summits. This includes events in which the student ambassadors join seminars, workshops and speaking opportunities to contribute to discussions and influence policy at the highest level.
One of these recent events was the NAE-UNICEF Global Goals Student Summit 2021. This week-long conference allowed student ambassadors to develop action plans to combat various social issues. This year, there were 86 students participating from over 40 schools in our global community. The Village School students Alex Ilacqua, junior, and Solemei Scamaroni, sophomore, served as our student ambassadors and were given the opportunity to connect virtually with other students around the world and discuss topics such as climate change, mental health, and education.
“I wanted to be involved in the NAE-UNICEF Global Goals Student Summit because I am deeply interested in international policy and the inner workings of diplomacy,” Alex explained.
“Representing The Village School and the broader American Region at the annual NAE-UNICEF summit was a veritable honor and an eye-opening experience,” said Solemei. “Competing in the activities awakened within me a fascination for politics, a passion for activism, and a thirst to contribute to open-minded discourse and positive change.”
Over the course of the five day event, the students discussed the year’s theme, interacted with panelists who discussed the importance of strategic youth advocacy to create positive change in their communities, and participated in World Children’s Day workshops where they worked to develop meaningful strategies for their own schools around the importance of children’s rights.
Solemei served as a student facilitator for this workshop. “As a facilitator for the World Children's Day (WCD) workshop, I was tasked with leading the development of WCD for NAE schools in the Americas, which serves to raise awareness for the rights of children,” she explained. “For me, this summit cemented the importance of global youth-led action to help implement sustainable development goals. But it also armed me with the tools to help do so within Village and the broader Houston area.”
Alex and Solemei also observed the High-level Political Forum and had the opportunity to discuss their concerns with UNICEF representatives. The event ended with inspiring words from Elise Ecoff, director of education, who encouraged students to continue collaborating to promote social causes they are passionate about.
“I think it was extremely valuable to learn more about these projects to draw some ideas for our own school,” Alex shared. “This even led Solemei and I to consider starting an EcoCouncil for the school next year, dedicated to making our campus more sustainable.”
To learn more about how you can get involved with the Nord Anglia Education UNICEF collaboration at Village, contact Jenn Thomas, Village’s High School assistant director, who has served as the NAE UNICEF regional lead for three years.