Article By: Ayla Ahmed
Photos By: Lunkhi Tian
In the words of Robin Williams, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
Such was the focus of the first ever Global Issues Network Manila (GINila) conference. From September 5-6, ISM hosted GINila 2014, bringing together the Aguinaldo International School, Brent International School Manila, Chinese International School Manila, Southville International Schools and Colleges, and Xavier School to discuss ways to combat the compelling issues of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Losses, Education for All, Massive Step Up in the Fight Against Poverty, and Natural Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.
Regarding the mission of GINila, created in collaboration with Brent and CISM, Executive Director Adelle Dimitui states that “GINila aims to create a network of committed, proactive students from Manila-based schools striving to create sustainable, effective Action Plans to combat pressing issues prevalent in Manila.” Of course, planning GINila to achieve this mission was no easy feat. From working with administration to fit the event into the school’s “jampacked calendar”, to creating the fifteen-student-strong Planning Committee to bring to life the idea of establishing a local GIN, immense amounts of commitment and passion propelled the conference forward.
The conference was structured around discussions led by facilitators in workshops. These workshops utilized various sustainability education tools such as the sustainability compass and the pyramid process to help equip delegates with the mindset and skillsets needed to pinpoint what components of a global issue they could affect. Speaking about the utility of the sustainability compass, ISM delegate Sammy Westfall shares that “Looking at things through the aspects of nature, society, well-being, and economy allows a wider and more in-depth thought process when looking at global problems and their solutions.” Reflecting on this forward thinking mindset, a student delegation from the United World Colleges in Singapore even traveled to GINila to observe the applications of these tools for implementation in their own future conferences.
At the end of the conference, each group of delegates created an Action Plan that they could eventually implement in the future. Sammy said that her Action Plan for Poverty was aimed specifically at the younger generation, which was primarily to “create care packages to be given out at schools so that their respective families will not have to spend money on such items.” She adds, “My favorite part of the conference was getting to meet a lot of new people that shared the same passion for creating change!” This highlights the fact that not only did the conference teach students how to impact the world around them, but it also brought people together, tying in nicely with the overall theme of the conference, “Kaibigan,” the Filipino word for friendship.
For more information about the conference, feel free to contact Executive Directors, Adelle Dimitui and Tomas Matias or advisor Ms. Gitanjali Paul.
GINila Website: http://ginmanila2014.weebly.com/