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NAE UNICEF Student Summit

Student Diary from the 2018 United Nations Summit

In July, three BIS HCMC students spent a week at the United Nations Headquarters in New York taking part in a Model United Nations and working with students from around the world on actions to tackle some of the issues faced in our world today. Here, Doan Nguyen (Year 13), Vy Nguyen (Year 12) and Ashley Lee (Year 11) describe their experience.

Nord Anglia students started off the trip by listening to an inspiring speech from Shannon O’Shea, the Partnerships Manager and Team Leader for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Not only did she encourage us to become more involved in the Global Goals, she emphasised the importance of having a progressive outlook in our daily lives in order to advocate for the things we believe in.

Next, the Global Campus Model UN was commenced as students moved into one of three committees: Economic and Social, UN Environment Programme, and UN Habitat. In these committees, we drafted resolutions and participated in discussions surrounding our assigned topics.

In the Economic and Social Council, debate focused on the issue of hydraulic fracturing and shale gas, sparking controversial opinions between delegates. Although very few nations were directly involved in the fracking process, delegates still were actively involved in the debate for economic reasons.

UNEP delegates centered their discussions around waste management. Delegates came up with very creative solutions to tackle the issue, from updating waste management infrastructure to strengthening regulations on electronic waste.

In UNHABITAT, delegates discussed sustainable solutions to slums. As this is an issue that is prominent in many countries, delegates were thoroughly engaged in sharing their countries’ stances. The committee worked collaboratively to explore various perspectives of the problem and come up with effective resolutions.

Prior to the trip, a survey about the Global Goals was sent out to all Nord Anglia Schools around the world. Four students on the trip were selected to write a report to UNICEF to summarise the results of this survey, draw implications and make recommendations. They made very insightful comments about the survey, such as how responses showed that there is generally a lack of understanding of the Goals. Another four students were then given the amazing opportunity of presenting these findings to the High Level Political Forum and telling them what we, as Nord Anglia students, have been doing to achieve the Global Goals.

We visited the UNICEF headquarters in New York and participated in workshops led by UNICEF staff, where students discussed the implications and consequences of violence against children. Discussing such a mature topic gave us better insight into the possible actions we could take to solve the problem.

This valuable experience undeniably allowed us to better understand the depth of the problem, along with giving us more power over the change of the future when we take these ideas into the world. Vy, Doan and Ashley

Students also took part in several other workshops at the Nord Anglia International School in New York, with a greater focus on specific goals such as Goal 16 (Peace and Justice). For many students, the first workshop was our chance to plan a lesson about the Goals assigned to us by, for example, creating interactive activities to educate others on the Global Goals. Other workshops required analytical thinking where we evaluated the results obtained from the Global Goals survey sent to Nord Anglia students. To wrap all of these workshops up, we spent our final workshop reflecting on the events of the past week.

We ended our mind-blowing experience in New York by attending a gala dinner at The Juilliard School, New York. At this event, prizes were presented to students for their engagement in MUN and 5 students were given the opportunity to deliver a presentation on the issue of violence against children to those involved in the Student Summit. The presentation left the audience with a deep message, where students told moving stories about individuals who have experienced violence, ranging from a gun threat at North Broward Preparatory school in Florida to domestic violence that was done to a student’s close friends. The passion that the 5 students had for this mature and sensitive subject touched the hearts of the UNICEF and UN ambassadors and students present in the room. It provided them with a platform where they were able to stand and project and campaign for the topic, extending the path for the world to become a safer place for children.

The UN-NAE summit in New York was an unforgettable experience. It allowed us to bond  with other students over discussions about our shared passion of sustainability and helped us develop as global citizens.

Vy, Doan and Ashley, 2018 BIS HCMC Ambassadors to the United Nations

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