During the second week of November, three of our students, Yutaro (G11, Japan), Vichearith (G12, Cambodia) and Ayana (G11, Japan), alongside faculty member Ms. Buitrago, attended the High School Students Islands Summit in Okinawa. The summit, which coincided with World Tsunami Awareness Day on November 5, was attended by around 250 students from all over the world with the purpose of discussing disaster prevention. Our students, who were chosen through a vigorous selection process that involved writing three essays, had the opportunity to not just interact with students from around the globe, but also present their ideas to the entire conference.
Yutaro shared some of the insightful stories that he learned from other participants, “A student from Comoros told me how their government was not taking measures for tsunami prevention when the country itself was a volcanic archipelago surrounded by the sea. They were very passionate about taking the initiative to establish tsunami prevention policies in their country and I was genuinely moved by how the power of youth can make a difference.
Meeting other Japanese high school students was an interesting experience too. As I usually don’t get to converse with Japanese high school students from other schools, I enjoyed immersing myself in the perspective of other local students. Furthermore, I am working on forestry for my CAS project, and this summit allowed me to explore the frontiers of how to create a resilient society that can withstand the devastation of natural disasters.”
For Vichearith, attending the summit allowed them to learn more about what it means to be a member of the UWC movement. He explains, “Being members of the UWC family, with 17 schools all around the globe, we have a comparative advantage which allows us to create positive change such as through raising awareness about tsunami and other natural disasters. During this event, many people also learned about the UWC movement and the benefits of global connection in bringing positive changes to the world.”
He added, “The most interesting thing I encountered was being a Cambodian representing Japan. It was one of the most honorable thing I have experienced in my life, to be the only foreigner representing Japan in such a significant event!”