On Thursday, October 20, Shawnigan hosted the Model UN Global Goals Conference, providing 140 students from our School and 160 students from eight other schools across Vancouver Island with the opportunity to engage in conversation on how to accelerate progress toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, to raise awareness, and to drive action and change.
All Grade 10 students at Shawnigan participate in the Global Goals Conference as part of the social studies curriculum, and the Secretariat is made up of senior students in our Model UN program. Sissi L. served as Secretary General, Jenny Y. was Director General, and the rest of the Secretariat included Zavosh K., Izzy M., Grace Z., Jack S., and Zach P.
The keynote speaker was Hari Bahadur Tamang, who grew up in poverty in Nepal and lived through a civil war in his home country, and has now been recognized as a young global leader with a scholarship to The College of Idaho. A former student of Shawnigan Head of School Mr. Larry Lamont when he was at United World College Red Cross Nordic in Norway, Hari talked about overcoming the difficult circumstances of his early life, including a horrifying incident in 2005, when a bus he was riding on was blown up by a land mine, killing 51 people — including a pregnant woman Hari had given up his seat to — and injuring 71 more. Ten years later, Hari returned to his home country to provide aid following a devastating earthquake in 2015 that resulted in the deaths of nearly 9,000 Nepalis.
“I like to think I was born twice,” Hari said with regard to the opportunity he had to reinvent his life following the challenges of his youth thanks to the power of scholarship and education.
Mr. Lamont also addressed the 300-plus students in the Chapel, talking about the importance of the Global Goals and the Model UN conference.
“The interconnected Sustainable Development Goals provide a blueprint for addressing the global challenges of our time – and this conference challenges you to consider the interconnectedness of the SDGs, to debate solutions, to build partnerships – and to leave no one behind,” he said. “I invite you to practise and develop skills today essential for community building – both at local and global levels.
“The UN recently released a statement identifying that there is more conflict in the world today than there has been over the past 75 years. One commentator – when asked what would follow the pandemic – prophetically observed: ‘After plague, comes war.’ Biblical times indeed.”
The students held 10 sessions at the conference, covering nine of the 17 Global Goals: No Poverty (in English and French); Quality Education; Gender Equality; Clean Water and Sanitation; Affordable and Clean Energy; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Reduced Inequalities; Climate Action; and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples on whose traditional lands and waterways we live, learn and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia.
Shawnigan Lake School is an independent co-educational boarding school for ages 13 –18 on Canada’s beautiful West Coast. Our diverse, interdisciplinary and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.