We have just returned from the United Nations with 12 Westfielders who attended the International Global Classrooms Model United Nations Conference:  Indira, Piper, Sean, Aidan, Seamus, Oliver, Ben Mione, Ben Manus, Kay-Lin, Jeren, Ariel and Patrick.   It was an amazing three days with our students wrestling with topics such as how do we feed 9 billion people; the protection of journalists and humanitarian workers in conflict zones; achieving 2030 poverty reduction goals; the civil, political and socio-economic rights of refugees; the Eurozone crisis and its effect on the global economy and countering money laundering and strengthening judicial cooperation to improve international cooperation.  Over 2000 students from all over the world participated including countries such as Spain, Sweden, Japan, Seoul, Mexico, Germany, the Middle East and South Africa.  

Patrick and Jeren won an Honorable Mention Award for the best diplomatic performance in their committee which dealt with Improving the policy environment for intellectual property rights! This is especially noteworthy because this conference decided to limit the number of awards to 4% of attendees.  

This decision was based on the desire to stress that all the participants are winners.  As one of the diplomats who addressed the delegates at the United Nations stated:  "I attended about 12 Model United Nations conferences when I was a student and I never won an award.  I have absolutely no doubt that a number of you, both those who win awards today and those who don't, will one day be working in this very room."

Having just witnessed over 2000 teenagers from around the world gathered together to try to tackle some of the thorniest global problems, I am more convinced than ever that the path forward toward solving these problems rests in empowering our youth to find their voices so they can effect change.

Congratulations to all our delegates - you did a fabulous job and were a joy to travel with!!