. . . 20 Solutions at a Time
By Ximena Fagan and Andrea Gutierrez
Ten Santa Cruz Cooperative School students selected through a competitive process will be attending a Global Issues Network (GIN) student conference taking place at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt School in Lima, Peru starting October 2, 2011.
GIN is an organization that brings together teenagers all over the world to try to find solutions to the major issues they will face in their lifetimes. The hope is that they can unite as a single community and work on building a better future. GIN was inspired by the book “High Noon: 20 Global Problems and 20 Years to Solve Them” by Frenchman John-Francois Rischard, former World Bank vice-president for Europe.
The author breaks the 20 issues into three groups. Group One (sharing our planet) includes global warming, biodiversity, deforestation, and pollution. Group Two (sharing our humanity) includes poverty, peacekeeping, education, and disease Group Three (sharing our rule book) includes biotechnology, international finance, intellectual property rights, and migration rules.
Schools that participate in the Association of American Schools in South America (AASSA) will attend the Lima conference. It is designed to bring together students from all over the continent to work for a good cause hand-in-hand with their teachers. This conference involves people from many different backgrounds, and allows everyone to practice being leaders. The students from each school have the opportunity to showcase action projects from their schools that address one of the critical global issues. Eight countries will be represented in this conference.
Santa Cruz Cooperative School has the privilege to participate in this prestigious conference this year for the first time. Librarian Rebecca Battistioni offered her time and energy to guide the students, which is appropriate since Battistoni engineered SCCS’ participation in GIN. She heard about GIN when she traveled to Brazil to attend the AASSA teachers conference, and GIN conference came up. She believed that SCCS students would enjoy taking part.
After she returned, she asked the school´s director, William McKelligott if she could put the group together, and, without hesitation, he agreed. To join the group students had to pass through two phases of the selection process. The first consisted of a short application. Battistoni said, “It was difficult to narrow the number of students, because I believe many had done an excellent job on their applications.” In phase two, high school principal Nicholaas Mostert and Battistoni interviewed the students who survived phase one, and chose the ones they believed would contribute most to the GIN group. “We were looking for students that have excellent English speaking skills and would be dedicated to the project. We chose students who will represent SCCS in the best possible way”, said Battistoni.
The twelve students finally chosen include six seniors: Jorge Melgar, Samuel Melgar, Carla Limpias, Ana Paula Peredo, Sofia Sotelo, and Maria Velasco; five juniors: Anna Sophia Rivero, Maria FernandaVillegas, Hyun Kim, Paola Querejazu, and Karolina Guzman; and one sophomore, Jorge Zankis. Jorge Melgar and Jorge Zankis were ultimately unable to make the trip because of schedule conflicts.
After the team was created, biodiversity in Bolivia was chosen as the topic the group would present at the conference. Over the past few months the group has worked closely with the Santa Cruz Zoo, learning about and helping to clean the environments for the animals there. In the process the students “learned how important it was to preserve many different aspects of the animals’ natural habitat,” said Ms Battistoni. The students later served as tour guides for people enjoying a day at the zoo. The group has also done fundraisers like bake sales to raise money for the trip.
The participants are looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join this prestigious organization’s efforts to find solutions to global problems, while also learning more about their own country. They are eager to be part of this effort to bring together youth to focus on these problems, and are already putting to use the philosophy expressed in the GIN slogan, “Building New Futures by Breaking Old Habits.”