On March 7th and 8th, four Project Rousseau students had the opportunity to attend the United Nations International School’s annual UNIS-UN conference. For the past 42 years, this conference has attracted high school students from around the world to debate pressing global issues. This year’s theme was Ripple Effect: The Water Crisis. Our Project Rousseau students were able to discuss sustainability and geopolitical issues with 700 of their peers from 5 continents. Students heard famous authors, UN officials, and Columbia professors talk about solutions to droughts and political instability caused by water access. Students also attended half-a-day of cultural showcases and performances at the UN, which was a fascinating addition to the conference. Along with the educational aspect of the conference, Project Rousseau students also made lifelong friends from the other schools, proving the ability to overcome geographic and language barriers.
Project Rousseau student Benicya especially enjoyed hearing New York Times journalists speak on the water situation in Israel. She learned about creating a 10-year conservation plan in order to combat worldwide droughts and educate citizens on water conservation. Student Michelle enjoyed hearing an artist speak about how her works can influence environmental policy. The speeches were inspirational and varied from authors to professors which allowed the water crisis to be presented from multiple lenses. Both students viewed the conference as a lesson in gratitude and awareness.
Overall, the 2019 UNIS-UN conference was an incredibly enriching experience for these Project Rousseau students and we are grateful for the invite along so many esteemed schools. This visit inspired students to start thinking about careers in sustainable development or diplomacy and allowed our students to improve their negotiating and communication skills. We are looking forward to partaking in the conference in 2020, and hope that UNIS continues to succeed in planning such a large event.