Day three of the Global Goals Student Summit began with a tour of the Headquarters of the United Nations (UN). Nord Anglia students were able to gain an understanding of the inner workings of the UN throughout the tour.
We began by looking at the six different main bodies, of which some were mirrored in our Model United Nations over the last two days. We then looked at the global effects of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the current projects the UN has set up to meet them, such as the “education in a box” that supplies materials needed for 40 children if their schools have been affected by natural disasters.
Throughout the tour, we were informed about critical programmes and projects, from the UN’s successful peacekeeping intervention in the Gulf War to the UN convention on landmines, and their on-going fight for military disarmament.
One of the pinnacle aspects of the UN that we learned about is their Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is a milestone document that established a shared standard that each nation and all people should receive. It has since been adopted into many nations’ constitutions.
As the day progressed, students were separated into three groups. One of the groups remained at the UN and set up a “pop up” to sell tickets to UN delegates for the High Level Political Forum (HLPF). They displayed the art tiles students created the previous day, which highlight inequality issues around the world. The “pop up” area gave students a unique opportunity to speak to the delegates directly about global concerns.
The rest of the students traveled back to Nord Anglia International School, New York, where they either worked on their presentations for the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) or participated in a workshop with Alison Bellwood, Director of The World’s Largest Lesson.
Alison Bellwood began with a speech that introduced the World’s Largest Lesson, which is a program that brings the Sustainable Development Goals into classrooms. Students were then tasked to design their own lesson plans to introduce specific goals.
Riya Desai, from the British International School of Boston, said, “I didn’t expect planning a fifteen-minute presentation could be so demanding!” However, the experience allowed her to “appreciate different perspectives on the issues”. The groups then presented their lessons to one another.
During that time, other students were busy preparing for Thursday’s HLPF presentation which will also be moderated by Alison Bellwood. She shared her ideas on the different ways the younger generation could get engaged. One idea was to start with a simple action like recycling to reduce the use of plastic, and then thinking about organizing a group to mobilise others. She emphasised that talking about what you’re doing and taking direct action gives you the power to advocate for change.
She said, “Social media has made it easy, but the biggest thing to do is take concrete action on the Global Goals. If you take action, you’re in a much stronger position to advocate for change with a leader or decision-maker.”
The day ended with students having the opportunity to explore New York City and see firsthand some of the social issues we have been discussing. Being at the UN in person was an inspiration, but the biggest inspiration was reflecting how the UN and all the people we met are helping build a better life for people across the world.
Ella Hughes is a student at the British International School of Washington.