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International Emerging Leaders Program

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Design Thinking at IELC 2017

The design thinking process is what lead to all of the amazing inventions presented at this year’s DesignPitch. The process starts with discovery, in which the participants consider the problem and interview those affected by the problem. After their problems were revealed, each group found their own space around campus to start their design thinking journey.

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The next day, while in the beautiful Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, each design group moved on to the next step of the process, interpretation. In this stage, the groups expand on the problem and questions they are trying to answer with their eventual solution. In addition, each group made a specific user profile for which the product would be designed. These two initial steps left the groups ready to create one of a kind solutions to some of the world’s most complex environmental problems.

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During the ideation stage, the groups took individual brainstorming time in which they each came up with many ideas. This stage was the only one that involved so much individual work, but was especially beneficial to groups who had more reserved members. After writing their ideas on sticky notes, the groups considered all of the proposed ideas. The ideation stage was vital for the next stage, experimentation. Nour, of Morocco, stated, “It was a pleasure to hear different opinions from different countries in order to make an amazing prototype.”

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Experimentation was the stage in which each group finalized their idea and made an initial prototype. Making these simple models helped each group to realize the strong points but also the shortcomings of their designs.

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After each design was finalized, the groups practiced many times in order to prepare for the DesignPitch, which took place on Thursday evening. Each group made outstanding presentations, and they could not have come up with the unique and creative solutions they did without the design thinking process. Gautam, of India, said, “Design thinking was a unique way of interacting with other delegates to empathize with other countries an try to do our part in solving the world’s problems.

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Delegates Share their Environmental Crises

On Monday, October 2, 2017, IELC Ambassadors were presented the environmental problems of each country, which ranged from water pollution to the critical endangerment of the saiga.

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First up was Changzhou, China, who focused on water pollution that inhibits access to clean drinking water. Amy, of Changzhou, noted that “most chemical plants are built near water,” which has lead to past incidents.

Yangzhou, China’s delegation focused on white plastic pollution from takeout containers. While there are many economic and personal benefits to takeout services, plastic from them can take 47 decades to decompose.

Land reclamation is one environmental challenge currently being faced by Malaysia. When speaking with Malaysian residents about the problem, Alda remembered that many “strongly oppose the idea” due to its environmental and economic consequences.

The students from Morocco presented on solid waste management, which has had a large impact on Morocco. In their newscast created for their presentation, Zack reported on the landfills in Morocco which “continue to overflow due to the amount of solid waste.” He also noted that the waste is “treated in an unsustainable manner.”

The Italy delegation focused on toxic waste, which can cause harm or even death to humans.

The United States focused on a problem close to Richmond which affects people all over the East Coast and beyond: the Chesapeake Bay Dead Zone. Claire, Kieran, and Lauren explained that fertilizer and other chemicals wash into the bay, polluting it. In dead zones, there is no oxygen, which kills the formerly abundant wildlife of the Bay.

South Africa presented on the impending water crisis, which has already reached a serious level. They explained that in some areas, such as Cape Town, people are being urged to conserve water. However, government had to resort to shutting off the water and restrict consumption to 20,000 liters per household per month.

The Indian Delegation demonstrated the urgency of the pollution of the Ganges River. This river is sacred to many in India, and is often where people bathe, wash clothes, wash animals, and leave cremated remains. This pollution has proven to have many economic and environmental impacts.

In Kazakhstan, the saiga, an antelope-like animal, is critically endangered. Its population has decreased from 1 million to just 40,000, and it has impacted the food supply of other animals, among others.

Mexico focused on mercury pollution, which is a large public heath risk. When ingested, mercury has many harmful effects including hearing, speech, and nervous system deficiencies.

Wildfires in Spain have shown to be a widespread issue. Trees provide essential oxygen, and uncontrollable wildfires have increased in frequency recently. Each environmental issue presented certainly has great effects on each country and the world.

Earth One Hour

By Zach M.IMG_8889

Earth One Hour, which happened to be more than one hour, was one of my favorite experiences of the trip to China.  The event was designed to reinforce the idea of saving energy, as the whole school shut off its’ power for the event and everyone proceeded to the auditorium to watch performances.

Our very own John Bullock gave a memorable performance, where he and another student sang “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran.  Additionally, all of the Collegiate School students danced to “Cotton Eye Joe” and “Juju On That Beat.”

However, my favorite part of the night was a short play put on by two students of the Beijing New Oriental School in Yangzhou.  Without the use of words, they were limited to what they could do, but their expressions and actions told a life story that was both comical and meaningful.  While we were all exhausted, experiencing this event was definitely worth staying up for.

¡Fiesta!

The delegate’s dinner was the perfect way to cap off the wonderful three days of international dialogue! Carol Baur outdid themselves with the fiesta that had it all. We walked into the school’s courtyard greet by our new Mexican friends and the mouth watering scent of corn tortilla tacos, espiropapas, and traditional corn soup. After eating out weight in food, we hit the dance floor! The DJ strictly played reggaeton, the most popular music genre with the Carol Baur students, and we klutzy Americans tried to learn how to dance as eloquently as them. Fed up with embarrassing ourselves, we taught them how to swing dance. You would have thought it was a Collegiate dance with how well they learned our moves. It was amazing to teach a piece of our culture. At the end of the dance the DJ was kind of enough to play “JuJu on That Beat” so that we could show how skilled Americans are on the dance floor. The evening ended with a slide show of pictures taken during the conference and us swearing that we will listen to reggaeton at home. The delegates dinner was a fun evening to solidify new friendships, eat copious amount of Mexican food, and dance the night away.

Tess P.

Pleasantly suprised

virginia

I went into day t thinking that it would be the worst day of the trip because the conference was all day, but I was wrong – today was great. Caroline and I woke up exhausted but our host mom made us homemade coffee, homemade banana bread, and papaya. It was delicious. We then left for school and I really enjoyed Señor Queipo’s talk… he filled me with hope that change is actually possible, and his love for humanity warmed my heart. I loved when he quoted that, “we are our brothers’ keeper.”

After Señor Queipo’s talk, we headed to begin our second day in our committees.  My committee was good and I felt more comfortable talking today. We discussed female empowerment and all agreed easily on our proposals, but after we had written them all out, 2/3 sponsors left to write the resolution paper. While they were gone, the sponsor and delegate representing Saudi Arabia staged a coup and became a dictator to keep us all entertained. She was saying that since she’s the sponsor she was going to take away woman’s rights.  All the fellow delegates were so confused and I could not stop laughing- (it was bad because we aren’t allowed to laugh).   There were quite a few more surprises that made us continue to laugh.

After a long day of conferencing we got home and ate a delicious dinner of sopes and now are watching Mexican Netflix with Marisol. I love Mexico!

Virginia S.

Awareness

awareness

Today as part of the International Youth Dialogue Forum, the delegates and students of Carol Baur had the privilege of hearing Ms. Shondra speak on her experiences as a survivor of human trafficking and as an activist. Human trafficking is vital topic pertaining to both human rights and the international youth dialogue forum as Ms. Shondra stated. Before hearing her speak, I knew the basics of human trafficking and how it affects different parts of the world, but I never comprehended the broadness of the situation. At one point during her talk, Ms. Shondra mentioned a website that allows you to find out any individual has unknowingly contributed to trafficking through products that he/she purchases. There are countless reports of men, women, and children being enforced into working for traffickers.   Unlike epidemics such as gun violence or systemic poverty, human trafficking doesn’t have a sound or visible effects. Therefore it is often times brushed aside as something that “does not affect you.” However, as Ms. Shondra eloquently explained through describing her experiences through her own story  of time spent in the hands of various traffickers, her recovery, and her activism, it made me see that it does affect each one of us. Though comparatively silent, human trafficking occurs everywhere and everyone is at risk. Listening to Ms. Shondra speak was an honor and I truly admire her drive and determination to expose the utter loudness of human trafficking.

Kate K.

A Monumental Experience

After leaving host families at Collegiate on Saturday morning, the delegates traveled two hours north of Richmond to our nation’s capital.  We started with shopping trip and lunch at Potomac Mills, and then toured the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C.  A dinner at Hard Rock Cafe allowed for good conversation before heading off to explore once the rain sopped.  Everyone ended the day exploring the Washington Monument and spending some time together at the hotel.

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