I just returned after attending GIN2013: a conference organized by New York Universirty Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). The conference aims at framing global issues in a local perspectives and encouraging teams of students (earlier only high school students and adding university students from this year on-wards) to put forward a solution to solve an issue locally.
The 3-day conference program is fully packed with Discussion/Breakout sessions interspersed with keynote talks by global and local leaders. Students work in a team of 5-6 members, lead by a facilitator, to discuss an issue of importance in one of the areas: heath, education, technology, energy and waste management. Their goal is to research key issues in the particular area, find potential solutions to the problems and finally propose a sustainable action plan, with clear objectives, a detailed timeline and an estimate of costs to implement the solution. The students are guided by the mentors, including the keynote speakers in the conference who help students brainstorm deeper into particular implementation issues and make sure the plan is feasible.
I must say such a conference is an ideal platform for students of different backgrounds from all across the globe to meet and work together on issues of global importance. Many a students must have left with new perspectives, ideas and strategies and a better understanding of other cultures. The talks by His Highness Sheikh Abdul Aziz aka Green Sheikh, Jeffery from Microsoft, Natasha from globalthemostat and Scott the entertainer and inspirational speaker from Canada were all amazing and inspirational.
The NYUAD team led by Benjamin and Michaell et al. really put up a great show overall clearly reflecting their excellent management skills at such an early stages in student life. I hope this idea continues and expands and people from more universities and high schools are included in management roles as well.
I will like to end by saying "Thanks guys, it was a wonderful to be with you, Keep in touch. It's a small world after all" to my team members: C.Wang, Noura, Alistiar, Zoe, DJ, and some of other friends and organizers (off course not a comprehensive list and in no particular order): Ben, Michael, Jaime, Musa A. Bajwa, Amal, Iryna, 'Evaan Smith', Clara, Satchi, Saad, Farah+Paula, the big list of South-East Asians, and finally Sana,Humair, Lindzy.