Shawnigan welcomed over 400 students from a dozen schools on Tuesday for the 2019 Global Goals Conference. This event focuses on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adapted in 2015 to tackle urgent social, economic and environmental challenges facing the world. Our Model UN students have been working hard to prepare for this conference and served as good leaders and hosts throughout the day.
The conference began with an opening ceremony in the School Chapel. Headmaster Lamont welcomed the assembled delegates to Shawnigan Lake School, saying, “In an increasingly complex and anxious world, I am delighted that you will be discussing the Sustainable Development Goals – with a view to a better and more sustainable future for our shared world.”
We were thrilled to welcome Johannah Bernstein as this year’s keynote speaker. Ms Bernstein has advised national governments, international NGOs, and UN organizations on a wide range of global sustainability issues and spoke to the heart of the conference. “We need empathic leaders who are willing to stand together,” she said. “It starts with you – all of you gathered here today in this beautiful chapel.”
Grade 12 student Nnenna O. served as this year’s Secretary-General. She spoke of her childhood growing up in Mozambique and the changes she has seen after the introduction of the SDGs, sharing, “The UN’s 17 Sustainable Goals have instilled in me a vision of hope for my country.” She recalled the way in which her first MUN conference inspired her, and urged all delegates to participate and have fun throughout the day.
Students spent the remainder of the day split into various committees across the campus. With topics such as No Poverty, Gender Equality, and Sustainable Cities and Communities, the students certainly had much to discuss!
We applaud the hard work and enthusiasm of all involved, and hope that the 2019 Global Goals conference has inspired a new group of students. As Secretary-General Nnenna said in her opening address, “Everyone has a role in changing and improving society.”
Shawnigan Lake School is a co-educational boarding school on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The school is home to nationally-ranked academics, arts and athletics, with 100 per cent of graduates accepted to university.