International Emerging Leaders Program

at Collegiate School


October 2012

NBC 12 news segment on the conference, featured last week on greater Richmond television.


Check out our photo slideshow of highlights from this incredible 10 days.

Thanks to IELC’s creative director and photographer, Dean Whitbeck, for capturing so beautifully the engagement and emotion of our students’ experience.

Each Delegation Shares Reflections at Farewell Dinner

The dinner began with a wonderful slideshow of photos from the week, and was followed by the tearful departure of the Collegiate group for the trip back to Richmond.

The following is the short reflection speech given by Hicham on behalf of the delegation from Morocco during the dinner.

“Esteemed Staff, fellow delegates,

It has been a great honor for the Moroccan delegation to be part of the International Emerging Leader Conference 2012. We never expected such a warm welcoming from the Collegiate students. The incredible hospitality we were greeted with made us feel at home once again. Our experience and interactions during the conference completely changed our perspective on the western society. I admired the open-mindedness that all the delegates shared in common. Being open-minded is truly a beauty and gives you a whole another wonderful perspective to see into the heart of everything. I’ve been in an American style school in Morocco for my whole life, but I never lived the real American high school style. In less than 2 days, I got a taste of what it feels, and it practically defined all of my high-school experience.

This conference raised our awareness and reduced our ignorance about the environmental issues going all over the world. Our trips to different companies shaped and kind of indirectly contributed to our solutions. Working in groups with different people from different backgrounds was simply amazing. Unlike Model UN, we got to know each other before working together which vastly increased teamwork efficiency. Being shy wasn’t at all an issue. To sum up, I’d reflect on this conference with this quote, "Life is not measured by the number of breathes we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” The relationships we made will forever be carved into our hearts. I would like to thank Mr. Keith Evans, Ms. Clare Sisisky, Mr. David Colon, Ms. Anne Rusbuldt, Ms. Peg Galston, Ms. Alice Massie, and our famous photographer, Mr. Dean Whitbeck for every drop of sweat they endured to formulate this conference, getting it together, and just making it as wonderful as it could be.“

As a brilliant sun rose above the Collegiate campus, delegates and families held each other closely as goodbyes were said and tears were shed.

It’s a wrap: a week of presentations, group innovations projects, talks from professional leaders…and relationship building… ends with a karaoke dance party IELC style!

IELC delegates share the wonders of their country with performances, food, and gifts at the Lower School Cultural Fair.

The following excerpt was written by Katherine Calos from the Richmond Times Dispatch on Saturday Morning:

“Students from Morocco, China, Malaysia, South Africa, India, Mexico, Spain, Israel, Costa Rica and Kazakhstan spent most of a week living with Collegiate host families. For many, it was a first trip to the United States, and for some it was the first trip out of their own country. Collegiate considers the International Emerging Leaders Conference  to be the first of its kind in the nation.

By Friday afternoon, a Cultural Fair changed the focus to fun. Students presented a taste of their own culture, ranging from Spanish gazpacho soup to Moroccan sweets. On stage, they wore traditional costumes to perform traditional songs and dances.

And then the Chinese revved up the party by inviting everyone onstage for a contemporary line dance they had learned at Model U.N. conferences. Moroccan djellaba overshirts, Costa Rican cowboy hats, Asian silk dresses and swirling Spanish skirts joined in a VH1-worthy routine.

Cody Wan, one of the Chinese dance leaders, said this was his second time in America, the first being two weeks in Boston to study English at a camp. This time he was able to focus on gaining leadership skills and making friends from around the world.

"It’s not just American,” he said, “but Spanish, Costa Rican. It’s really nice.”

Eric Yan and Tay Shands were among the 16 Collegiate seniors who missed their own classes to attend the conference.

Shands said he detected a more open perspective among the international visitors. “It’s not just ‘my country first,’” he said.

Yan said it had been interesting to experience different viewpoints and find how many things the international students had in common.

“There were more similarities than differences,” he said.“

Read the full article at

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