In response to feedback from both students and heads over the last few years we have tried to organise a programme for the students at next year’s conference that provides significant opportunities for interaction with heads and teachers as well as activities designed specifically for them. They will get a chance to share their perspectives on what it means to put students at the centre, not only in terms of their own personal, intellectual and social growth but also in terms of the role that they must play as responsible and active citizens in addressing the enormous social and economic challenges standing in the way of sustainable development.
They will be exposed on the one hand to the ideas of leading educators about how education should be conducted in the formal setting of our schools and on the other hand to the harsh realities of the inequality, injustice, intolerance and indifference woven into the social fabric that surrounds them and which is so characteristic of Latin America. They will be challenged to make connections between these all too often unrelated worlds and to explore ways that schools can put students at the centre in the broadest sense.
We are looking for internationally minded students with a deep understanding of the world they live in. They should be able to think critically and creatively, with strong communication skills and the capacity to work collaboratively in teams with people from different backgrounds. They need to be empathetic, active listeners who respect differences whilst also being able to find common ground. Above all they should be willing to leave their comfort zone, to question what they have held to be true and to be transformed by the experience. Given the nature of the conference it is recommended that they be 16 or over.
Students will be hosted by families from The English School, the Colegio Anglo Colombiano and the Colegio Gran Bretaña. Guidelines will be made available to ensure the well-being and safety of visiting students and also to make sure that this is an enriching and positive experience for the host families. In order to be able to find sufficient host families and have time to match students and families well in advance of the conference, the Executive Committee has set a strict limit of two students per school and the deadline for registration will be November 30th, 2017.
The cost of the conference is still being determined but it will almost certainly not be more than last year’s cost of US$350 per student. Schools will be billed directly for their students and it will be up to each school to recuperate any cost that they decide to pass on to the student’s family.
The programme (subject to minor modifications) is on the following page. I hope that this gives you enough information to be able to decide whether to send students and to be able to start the selection process.