Student Service Goes Global

Last week, over 3,000 young people from all over the world gathered in Los Angeles for the Global Call to Action Conference. The conference marked the official launch of an international youth movement, PeaceJam’s Global Call to Action campaign and connected students to both Nobel laureates and other young people working towards a better world.

Grade 12 student April Hall writes about the trip.

This past weekend, I found myself in Los Angeles, California. Joined by three of my best friends and Mr. Cook, I was there not for shopping or Disneyland, but something better: a PeaceJam conference. PeaceJam is an organization created by a couple who wanted to connect Nobel Peace Prize laureates with youth around the world.

The conference was an example of how they have succeeded in doing just that. Six Nobel laureates took part in the 2008 Global Call to Action conference. The Global Call to Action is an initiative started by the laureates who participate in PeaceJam to challenge youth to have one billion service projects within the next ten years. A project may be on any one of the 11 global issues considered the most pressing by the laureates, such as fresh water and stopping the proliferation of weapons.

In fact, the Global Call to Action is very similar to the United Nations’ Millennium Development goals. Our project dealt with poverty and how to eliminate it. Originally, we were supposed to present to Jose Ramos-Horta, the president of East Timor, but unfortunately a recent attempt on his life rendered him unable to travel. Instead, we presented to the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a crowd favourite.

In addition to hearing many informative and inspirational keynote speeches from the likes of Rigoberta Menchu Tum and Adolfo Perez-Esquivel, we had the opportunity to go to Boyle Heights in East L.A. and paint a mural at one of the local high schools. It was great to get out and actually do something, instead of just talking about it.

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