Scarsdale residents who have served as Consul Generals and Ambassadors gathered with students, teachers, and parents to discuss innovation and sustainability in “A Global Conversation” on Monday, April 23 in the SHS auditorium.
The program began with musical performances by the SHS Chamber Ensemble and the SHS Wind Ensemble, followed by an introduction of the esteemed panelists, including Keynote speaker Dr. Sergio Trindade of Brazil, a former U.N
Assistant Secretary General for Science and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate. Each delegate is currently a resident of Scarsdale, except the Chinese Consulates, who were invited by the Chinese members of the Multicultural Committee.
The conference aimed to provide a deep understanding of global change through offering an overview of each country that was represented—Botswana, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Kenya, and Trinidad and Tobago—and innovations that have influenced them. Time constraints restricted the following question and answer session, so questions were broadened to apply to every country.
The “Global Conversation” is “part of a continuum of events, projects, and opportunities for our students and staff to enhance their understanding of cross cultural issues in this increasingly interconnected world,” explained Dr. Joan Weber, Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and Administrative Services and event organizer.
“A global conversation includes on one hand the innovations of particular countries and on the other hand how we are all interconnected,” Keynote speaker Trindade explained in his address. “We are one single human people. There is one planet Earth and one sustainability…. We are one and only one in the end.”
The student panel, which introduced each speaker and asked questions to the delegates, was comprised of Elizabeth Huh ’12, Max Kober ’12, Geoffrey Kristof ’12, Michael Lu ’12, and Claudia Laurie ’14. “The students played a major role in the overall success of the event, and I am very grateful to them,” Weber enthused.
The delegates discussed a variety of topics, including the recent struggles of their respective countries and new inventions that have affected their communities. “Innovation has been with us from the beginning of civilization and humanity…. It is time for our students to communicate and collaborate rather than compete,” noted R. Nan Ramgoolam, Consul General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Charles Thembani Ntwaagae, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Botswana to the UN, discussed the recent HIV epidemic in his country and the measures that have been taken to counteract the effects of the disease.
Pedro Terra, Deputy Consul General at the Consulate General of Brazil, offered more lighthearted insight. “Creativity is intelligence,” he remarked.
SHS students had mixed reactions to the event. Some enjoyed the conversation and the different perspectives it offered. “It is important to look toward the multicultural elements of the community as we live in an increasingly interconnected world where, in order to reach a global decision, we need to hear everybody and what they have to say,” commented Adam Young ’15. “We are all equal.”
Other students did not view the event as positively. “While talking is important, action should come as a result. The conversation did not fix any of the problems, nor could it in one evening,” criticized Connor Wolfe ’14. “They focused too much on each individual country and not enough on finding legitimate global solutions.”
While the event had mixed reviews, many felt that it did serve its purpose. “The purpose of these endeavors is to deepen students’ understanding and broaden the international perspectives in order to prepare them for the chang- ing world in which they will live,” determined Weber. □