After a musical openings by Con Brio and Camerata, two musical groups at Collegiate, Mr. Evans introduced the international Ambassador, as well as thanking the amazing supporters of the International Emerging Leaders Conference and the host families, whose hard work has led to “Collegiate hospitality [being] something that is now a worldwide name.”

Next, John Walker, the chair of Collegiate’s Board of Trustees, highlighted “the need and importance of people from different countries to work together” and the “the strong relations between Collegiate and its partner schools… [which] are the key components to the program’s success.” Mr. Walker honored the student’s fortitude, and for “[putting] aside their cultural differences and [relating] to each other in an entirely new, entirely fresh, and truly exhilarating way,” furthermore adding that “[the relationships gained here will] continue long after we say goodbye to our guests.”

Following Mr. Walker, Austin Spivey (Class of ‘12) reflected upon the effect of the International Emerging Leader Conference on her. Insightfully, Austin said, “There is only so much one can learn from a purely scholastic environment,” echoing the emotions of many current participants. Speaking to both the current global environment and the experiences of Ambassadors prior to the Conference, Austin added, “We can no longer afford to isolate ourselves from one another– what we don’t know will hurt us… [and] it is only through understanding others that we can better understand ourselves.” In conclusion, Austin advised the participants of the Conference, “You have been afforded the opportunity of a lifetime… grow together… learn from one another while you have the chance.”