As the flagship event, student ambassadors in Years 10-12 join the NAE-UNICEF Student Summit each year at the UN’s headquarters in New York City. At this year’s event in July, 87 students from across Nord Anglia’s 61 schools came together to discuss the important work being done to achieve the SDGs in their schools including 2 students representing the British International School Ho Chi Minh City Nina Pham and Eugene Chang.
During the event, Nina and Eugene participated in a variety of activities: from opening a side event during the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) at UNICEF, to having a Model United Nations event, in which different students had the chance to debate and share their country stances on current affairs around the globe.
Nina and Eugene were also able to share the school’s 2020 Plastic Pledge, to ban single-use plastic on all BIS campuses by 2020, our Precious Plastic and Uniform Upcycling projects as well as our Shoestring Education plan to build on the success of Shoestring Science.
They were also provided with a number of opportunities to learn and broaden their insight about the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and both previous and current steps the UN was taking in order to resolve various global issues.
Eight NAE students participated in a panel debate at the High-level Political Forum, where they spoke about the steps taken to achieve the SDGs in their schools and how these goals tie into the arts and creative activities at school. Nina was chosen as one of the HLPF presenters to share her views on ending violence in schools and sustainability projects, and met with other panellists and global leaders, as well as Charles Young, a 23-year-old youth activist in Jamaica who has been involved in developing UNICEF’s Youth Manifesto.
Following the Forum, a Gala dinner was held at The Juilliard School to allow students to celebrate their accomplishments during the week. Eugene was chosen as a Gala Dinner presenter and an Art Exhibitor and had to communicate with a number of people in the UN headquarters in order to promote this meaningful event.
Following the event, the student ambassadors also spent time reflecting on what they learned from the event, what challenged them, and what they will do going forward once they are back at school.
“From attending the summit, we learnt the importance of the UNCRC, the UN and international relations, and having a range of perspectives. We had interactions with a variety of people, enjoyed voicing and listening to opinions, and developed many more worthwhile skills and thoughts to think back on. This summer was a significant one, in which we were given the valuable opportunity to not only gain such experiences and viewpoints but to pass them onto our school lives and improve them.
Through our participation in the event, we aim to focus on the promotion of the UNCRC, incentivise students to become more sustainable and make sure that the ban on single-use plastic by 2020 is implemented properly. But most importantly, we hope to make progress in addressing the SDGs.” – Nina and Eugene
Excitingly, BIS Alumna Tara Subba also popped in for a visit to impart her knowledge on pathways into the UN and university applications. Tara cites MUN at BIS HCMC as a motivating factor in her decision to pursue education and a career related to International Economics and Finance, a course that she is currently reading as a post-graduate at Columbia University.
Congratulations to Nina and Eugene alongside all other Nord Anglia students who joined this year's NAE-UNICEF Student Summit. It's always inspirational seeing them sharing big ideas and discussing what can be done to make a positive difference in the world.