By students Jessica Owen and Emily Sun
During the recent winter vacation, we were fortunate enough to travel to Washington D.C. and New York as a part of the Global Youth Leaders’ Conference (GYLC). With 260 students from across the globe, we were allocated into ten country groups. Each group had a Faculty Advisor who would guide us in our perspectives and approaches to pressing global issues while keeping the national interests of our country group in mind.
We worked with and among other country groups and engaged ourselves in several leadership team building activities during our Leadership Group Meetings (LGMs). In addition to LGMs where our country groups would prepare for speeches or major events, we also worked towards forming resolutions that would benefit our country and the international community for both a Mock United Nations Security Council (held in Washington D.C.) and a Global Summit (held at the United Nations Building, New York). Among learning about the politics and processes of the UN and the USA, we also had the opportunity to listen to lecturers from international organisations such as the World Bank, BuildOn, the US State Department and the UN.
The entire experience was very worthwhile and we are both left with unforgettable memories. There were students from all continents in the world (except Antarctica) taking part in GYLC, yet within days, we felt like one international family. In addition to our preparations for speeches, leadership events and meetings, we had the amazing opportunity to see the sites of New York and Washington D.C., be a part of the 4th of July celebrations, see a Broadway show and go on a Hudson River Cruise. Not only that, but we had the privilege of staying at Manhattan College and Columbia University, and met many other IB students. On the last day, it was extremely difficult as we made our final farewells to everybody – we have definitely made life-long friends.
We thank all the people who supported our participant GYLC, and in particular, Ms Anita Winkeler, who helped us organise the trip. It was a truly extraordinary experience and we have both come back more cultured and ready to take on any challenge!