2013 Global Challenges & Opportunities Conference 19-22 June 2013, Boston, USA 500 Activists And Educators
Wheelock College celebrates its 125th Anniversary in 2013. As part of the College’s yearlong celebration of this important milestone, Wheelock brought together 500 educators, human rights activists, philanthropists, national and international researchers, philanthropists, students, and policy leaders from across the social justice spectrum for the College’s inaugural international conference. Thus the College’s 2013 Global Conference on Challenges and Opportunities Facing Children, Youth and Families - held on June 19-22, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA- addressed three strands of importance to the global community: education, health, and human rights.
Keynote Speakers from around the World
The Global Challenges and Opportunities conference featured more than 160 speakers from 40 different countries and 25 states. Participants include national and international educators, practitioners, researchers, philanthropists, students, and policy leaders, all ready to explore pressing issues affecting children, youth, and families in the areas of education, health, and human rights across the globe.
Day One Plenary Panels
Global Examples of Change in Action (featuring Cherie Blair, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, David Chiriboga, Gail Dines, and Brook Bello)
From Vision to Reality—The UN Millennium Goals (featuring Emiliana Vegas, Deogratias Niyizonkiza, and Simona-Mirela Miculescu)
Day Two Plenary Panels
An International Perspective: Global Leaders Ensuring Human Rights Across Continents (featuring Luis Murillo, King Kpoto-Zounme Hakpon III, Paula Cox, Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, and Ogmundur Jonasson)
A Focus on Philanthropy (featuring Jamie Jaffee, James Miller, Molly Smith, Mark Levin, Steve Gross, and Desh Deshpande)
Day Three Plenary Panels
Open Forum: Toward Research, Innovation, and Community Action: Inspiring a World of Good (featuring Joan Gallos, Al’Amin Cissi, and Lissa Piercy)
Taking Discussion to Action: Inspiring a World of Good “One Person at a Time” (featuring Kevin Carroll)
The Conference has been a great networking loop where I have met students as well as experts, practitioners and policy leaders from Africa, Europe, Asia and America.
Apart from my task to blog during and following the conference (Article: http://wheelockglobalcauses.org/education/starting-an-conference-with-arts-panel-sends-an-important-message/ *Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFQqmMpoAlo ), I have been also a speaker on the Youth Panel.
Youth Speaks about Health, Education and Human Rights
The panels were thoughtfully designed to include various perspectives and expertise. Wheelock College has always been heavily involved in empowering youth to become engaged, involved, and to take civic responsibility. Wheelock community clearly emphasizes youth participation and self-development by giving them the space to be heard. It eventually organized a panel entitled: “Health, Education and Human Rights” where 8 young panelists have expressed their views to a diverse audience.
It was a privilege and a great opportunity for me to speak at this panel to a wide range of audience about the importance of education as key to human development. I voiced issues based on my personal experience related to human rights violations throughout my education. Concluding, I emphasized the responsibility of every individual to bring the change we want to see in the system, schools and communities that starts with the awareness of our inner strength as catalysts of change. In order to change the system, we have to change ourselves and in order to make sure human rights are respected, we have to respect ourselves and people around us because society is nothing but conglomeration of individuals.
The panel’s theme combination of “Health, Education and Human Rights” altogether is interesting to explore in my work with Peace Revolution. Meditation, in fact, has physiological benefits for our health; psychological benefits for our performance in school and spiritual benefits for our connection to universal human rights values and world peace. I could clearly connect those interrelated yet different aspects of our life and translate it in my speech into a cohesive idea for self-development and betterment of the individual to be able to address and improve these three sectors.