Written by Sydney Stockus, Grad 2010, who is currently studying at the University of Southern California.
My Experience at GYLC:
It was summer 2009 when I embarked upon my trip to Washington D.C. and New York City to participate in the Global Young Leaders Conference. Almost three hundred delegates were chosen from around the world. We were thrown into an exciting whirlwind of international relations and global economics. For two weeks, we heard world-renowned speakers, participated in a Model U.N. and left with a better sense of how the world’s foremost international organization operates and the problems it confronts.
Elected by my international peers as Vice President for the U.N. Peace and Security Council, I found myself learning much about the art of diplomacy. Not only did I have to speak in an unbiased manner, but I had to be constantly cognizant of the socio-economic, ethnic and geographic diversity represented within the council. Always on my toes, I had to think of the implications of each word I chose; yet I had to respond quickly to rapid-fire questions.
Along with Vice Presidency, I was chosen to represent my given country, Japan, in the Model U.N. and try to pass our resolution on the Kyoto Protocol. Debating in front of over 300 people, all of whom were extremely qualified and experienced, was no simple task, especially since this was my first-ever formal debate. Former debate champions relished the opportunity to grill me as they saw a nervous, knee-knocking, girl approach the microphone. Much to their and my surprise, I ended up not failing and my resolution ended up passing.
The experiences I had at GYLC taught me that in academic matters, as elsewhere in life, the most engaging and rewarding experiences are those which come from pushing the boundaries of one’s comfort zone. Though it was an intense two weeks, I cannot speak highly enough of this conference. GYLC is one of my fondest high school memories. This is a unique opportunity to not only globalize oneself but to network and learn not just from the best, but alongside the best. I met the greatest people in the world and can happily say I can go to almost any country and call up a GYLC friend. The experiences logged during this conference made an indelible impression, and translated into a more equipped and empowered student.
It is because of this conference that I am majoring in International Relations at University of Southern California today.
Please see Becky Anderson in the Leadership office for packages and more information.