One hundred and three students, teachers and parents took time out of their busy schedules last Friday to attend the SMUS Global Responsibility Conference. The conference was delivered with the purpose to engage, inspire and empower students to become leaders and make a difference in the world. It covered a large range of topics, including medicine, politics, leadership, clean water and education. The main themes, that I personally hope everyone takes home with them, is that anyone can make a difference and that change can happen anywhere: halfway around the world or across your street.
The conference, the second one ever organized by SMUS students, included two keynote speakers. The opening keynote was author Peter Johnston. He talked about negotiating and how it can improve our relationships between our governments and the world. The keynote speaker who ended the conference was our very own Ann Makosinski, who talked about how if you have an idea it’s possible to make it happen. She did this through sharing her personal story of how she created a flashlight powered by the heat of the human hand. The conference also consisted of morning and afternoon sessions where students heard about other people’s personal stories. These presenters inspired students, and spread awareness about issues that they are passionate about.
The two sessions I attended were “Help Lesotho” and “While we are different, find the similarities. When all seems the same, be different!”. The “Help Lesotho” workshop was all about the personal story of Peg Herbert, who came across an extremely poor country called Lesotho, struggling with HIV/AIDS, and how she created a program to help the country without intruding into their culture and community. The participants in this workshop gained a new understanding of a country in Africa that many of them had never even heard of, and how the main way to fix large problems like HIV/AIDS is through education.
The second workshop, “While we are different, find the similarities. When all seems the same, be different!”, was all about leadership and was hosted by Mrs. Anderson and a Grade 11 student, Sara Al Hajri. It was specifically about the looks that media portrays on us, and how we should look past what people say and we should be and remain our own people; while still recognizing that everyone in the world, no matter what their background, is human.
We hope the conference sparked some flames in the participants’ minds to do something to change our world.
See more photos of the 2014 Global Responsibility Conference at the SMUS Photo Gallery