International Emerging Leaders Program

at Collegiate School


October 2013

Goodbye Dinner

Tonight, the International Emerging Leaders gathered for a final dinner after a week of anxious introductions, hard work, and newfound friendships. Mr. Colon opened the dinner, congratulating the delegates on their collaboration and saying, “Although you were all from different countries… you were able to work together and overcome those barriers as if they didn’t exist.”

Some of the speeches were funny. Laughter resonated as Shantanu B., from India, said, “When I first found out about [the International Emerging Leaders Conference], I was slightly, okay, very stressed out, and I told [my mother] that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to [come], but really, I’m very, very happy no one listened to me, because I was being an idiot at the time, and I’m very happy to be here.”

Some of the speeches were sad. Mrs. Sisisky inspired, encouraged, and bittersweetened  every participant when she said, “This kind of experience… may not happen again. For the most part, when older people come together, they come to represent themselves, and not their people… [so] they fight… It’s very rare to find true collaboration… It’s very rare to truly work on something together.”

All of the speeches were grateful. Atlegang M. (South Africa) spoke to the delegate’s friendships when she said, “I can’t believe that it’s been a week already… Although we had language barriers, we overcame them, [for] communication also involves listening, even if that means taking a back seat… It’s not about me, it’s about the rest of the group… Thank you for your home, your food, and your warmth.” Sinan F. (Lebanon) expressed his own thankfulness when he said, “[The International Emerging Leaders Conference] was truly the best experience of my life… All of the host families took us in as one of their own family members… I’m going to remember every single one of you guys, and I’m really going to miss you guys… I love you guys.” Lastly, Mrs. Sisisky proudly said, “You have proven to me that you can do anything… We really have tried to change our school through this program, [and] know that every one of you has made an impact on our school… And we really appreciate you doing that for us… Because you have made a big impact representing your countries so well.”

Finally, the delegates’ speeches, like the delegates themselves, looked towards the future with hope and optimism. Mrs. Sisisky wished the participants to “find something that [they] love and make something happen in the world.” And, poignantly, Tori S. ended her speech, saying, “My bellas taught me that ciao means hello and goodbye; so tonight, when I get on the bus, I’m going to say ciao.”


Delegates discuss how they will apply their new skills at home

This morning, the delegates met with their countries to discuss how they would apply the knowledge and skills gained during the International Emerging Leaders Conference when they returned home.

The group from Morocco, as explained by Maria V., was “impressed with how you have to think more about the problem than the solution [during Design Thinking]”, and want to teach their peers about this mode of thought during monthly meetings and seniors’ capstone projects.

Ayzhan K., from Kazakhstan, talked to the group about Kazakhstan’s intentions to create a different container to reduce her school’s food waste.

Next, Italy’s Sofia P. spoke of her group’s plan to prioritize reflection time during school, for they “loved working in a practical way”, and considered Design Thinking’s process of exploring the problem prior to the solution vitally important.

Aashna A., from India, told the International Emerging Leaders that the Modern School delegates wanted to help their school switch from paper-based information to technology-based handouts in order to reduce paper waste.

The South African delegates, Kgaugelo P. said, want to clarify their peer’s understanding and perception of recycling back home.

Mrs. Sisisky ended the meeting, saying, “We all have a lot of assumptions about one another… but we learned that they weren’t true, or not nearly as true as we thought… using interviews to understand the people impacted by the problem is key to successfully creating meaningful solutions. If you could come up with these new products in 4 days, we know you could think of a lot of solutions to improve your schools, and your countries.”

Cultural Fair

Senior Ambassadors Abigail G. and Abby T. helped organize a cultural fair for the Collegiate community, attended by over 300 people. During the cultural fair, each country made a booth highlighting their country’s unique qualities, full of interesting foods and souvenirs. Lower Schoolers brought paper “passports” to present to each country and get a stamp. In addition, each country prepared a dance or song and performed it on the stage of Estes Gym. “Our performance was a South African pride song,” Kgaugelo P. from South Africa explained, “It was sang during the Apartheid. The song says, ‘Man works under the sun, man works as one.” Said Alberto M., from Spain, “A lot of people were interested in our poster. It was really fun to see how many people were interested in my culture." 

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