Tacoma-based Charles Wright Academy is hosting the sixth annual Global Teen Summit from Sept. 19-29. Every year the college preparatory school invites delegations of students and teachers from other schools based around the world. This year’s delegations hail from China, Poland, and Columbia.
Over the course of 10 days, the delegates attend sessions and lectures led by internationally renowned human rights advocates and Charles Wright faculty. The students will also participate in a series of workshops, group exercises, and activities. Global Teen Summit has become one of the Tacoma private school’s most celebrated annual events.
Ann Vogel, International Student Program Coordinator and one of the event’s organizers said, “The Global Teen Summit ties in beautifully with Charles Wright’s focus on global education and experiential learning. One of our goals is to help students realize the direct impact they can have on some very big human rights issues. Issues like education, clean water, child and slave labor, and genocide. We want them to understand the issues facing the world today and then discover how they – as individuals and in small groups – can affect change.”
One of the highlights for G.T.S. delegates is a student-led fundraising project. This year’s beneficiary is the Tacoma/Seattle based non-profit, Splash, which brings clean drinking water systems to impoverished communities. This year G.T.S delegates are raising funds to purchase a water purification system for a school in Ethiopia. In recent years, G.T.S. teen delegates have also raised money to purchase 120 heavy-duty bicycles for students living in a remote Zambian village. The bikes, coordinated through G.T.S. partner organization, World Bicycle Relief, made it possible for children, particularly girls, to attend a school, which is far from home and only accessible via dangerous terrain.
Since its inception, the Global Teen Summit has fostered impressive, measurable outcomes as well as deep international friendships. Every year, a group of Charles Wright students travels to a holocaust remembrance conference in Poland. In 2013, another group of Charles Wright students and teachers, traveled to Zambia to deliver and assemble the bikes they had donated. They were joined by students from a partner school based in Abu Dhabi. The impact of G.T. S. goes beyond the classroom. In fact, leaders of Seattle –based company, Theo Chocolates and the World Bicycle Relief organization began a collaboration to create a fair trade chocolate bar that raises funds specifically to purchase bicycles.
In addition to participating in the on-campus activities, the international teen delegates will visit Mt. Rainier, tour Theo Chocolate, and attend a Seattle Mariners baseball game. Learn more about the Global Teen Summit here.
GTS 2013 speakers include:
- Karl Wilkens, the only American to stay in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide; author of, I’m Not Leaving; and founder of the non-profit organization The World Outside My Shoes. Learn more at www.worldoutsidemyshoes.org.
- George Elbaum, who survived the holocaust in Poland as a Jewish child because of decisions non-Jewish families made to shelter him; author of, Neither Yesterdays Nor Tomorrow. Last year, at the insistent invitation of the Polish Global Teen Summit delegation, he returned to Poland for the first time since fleeing it as a young Jewish boy during WWII.
- Peter Drury, founder of Tacoma/Seattle-based charity SPLASH, will talk about “A Child’s Right: Water Purification and Developing Nations: Pragmatic Solutions to the World’s Most Important Challenge.” Learn more at www.splash.org/achildsright.
- Perri Sutton of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will talk about how individuals can help empower people who they might have once considered outside their “Universe of Obligation.”