Last Friday, the Western Academy of Beijing celebrated the school’s annual Global Issues Conference. The all-day event, themed "H20 – Hope for Opportunity," hosted five guest speakers and coincided with International Day, another of the school’s annual events. To get in the spirit, students and teachers alike adorned their respective home countries’ colors and flags and an afternoon feast catered to food representing varying countries.
For the morning’s events, students performed songs, dances, and one talented Grade 12 student even kicked off the day with a showcase of his newly released single shown on a projector screen to the school’s packed gymnasium. In accordance with the theme of the day, students from WAB clubs and organizations came to stage and spoke about the work they are doing with their respective groups. Speakers included student representatives from “Duck Lake Group,” who partnered up with WABS’ Roots and Shoots chapter to share research the group continues to do for the school’s polluted lake. “Our ultimate goal is to find a solution for duck lake while finding a solution for similar lakes in the same situation in Beijing. We want to plant hope along the way. When we have hope, we can actually make a difference,” says one student.
Additionally WAB group 60+ Hope for the Elderly recruited new members to “help take care of the people who once took care of us” and Grade 4-6 students presented statistics on the amount of electricity the average person uses per day. Additionally, the young student presenters gave tips for other WAB students to reduce consumption. Notably, Stephanie Jensen-Cormier from NGO Thirst also gave an informative presentation about the need for water conservation in China followed by an informational workshop.
Beginning in the early afternoon leaders from the community held workshops for middle and high school students. Workshop themes included information sessions on leadership, Hope for AIDS, Hope for a more LGBT aware future led by WAB’s GSA group, and a self defense and threat resolution workshop led by Black Tiger Fitness’s owner Vincent Soberano. WAB students also got in on the action and organized 32 workshops for their lower classmen.
Photos: Courtesy of WAB