As global citizenship and internationalism continue to feature as key skills and experiences our students need to have, Westonbirt has kept a focus on what that really means. It is all very well having a boarding house with a combination of demographic and nationalities within, rubbing shoulders and getting along, but we wondered really what does this mean in the truest context of ‘knowing one another’. Yes, we can say that our students leave Westonbirt knowing a number of others from around the world, or with contacts and networking opportunities which will undoubtedly serve them well in the future, but what depth of understanding is truly there?
Over the last few years, we have been running an International Day, managed by two of our International Prefects, who sit on the Senior Prefect Body. The day has largely consisted of a cultural presentation from each nationality represented here at school, covering political positions, socioeconomic status and culminating in a food court to rival most, with delicacies from each of our representative nationalities. As the highlight of any of the days, this certainly proves that eating breaks any barriers and conversations about tastes, flavours and equally, distaste, abound our dining room and Great Hall. The understanding we create serves to deepen knowledge and friendships between the various cultures and argues that if we can draw together Mexico and the United States, Hong Kong and China, even Scotland and England, then perhaps the world stands some chance in the future.
This year, spurred on by an exceptional student duo; one from Hong Kong and one from East Africa, we are challenging ourselves even further. With the recent concerns for the climate and the environment in a most severe state, we are running the day with the UN Sustainable Goals as our focus. Linking with our energy provider, the inspirational Ecotricity (current owners of the only vegan football team), Rory’s Well (a local charity serving the needs of small, rural communities in Sierra Leone), one of our motivating alumini, Lauren McEvatt who will talk to Gender Equality, we hope to inspire accord across our nationalities and see if we can make a little bit of difference to the bigger picture.
Our 5 Sustainable Development goals identified below, are pertinent to the school and certainly give us food for thought. Each of our international groups intend to research what their country is doing in relation to these and where they sit on the current ranking table for progress towards completion of the targets set within these headline goals. Once understood, the school intends to benchmark its own targets, to kick start a new year where Westonbirt sets itself, as a business and as a school community, targets to improve our footprint.
Keen to make a difference and in line with the SDG Young Leaders programme, we intend to use this fantastic day as an opportunity for change, but for change together and with statistics identifying the very short period we have to make a difference, we really have got to start now.
@UN #sdgyoungleaders #GlobalGoals