On November 24th and 25th, the following students attended the 7th Annual ServICE Conference held at NIST International School.
G9: Sejal, Kari
G10: Ajew, Ishi, Martin, Vikram, Thomas
G12: Mami, Emily Be, Emily Br, Ruby, Maggie, Budi, Faa
The main goal of the Bangkok ServICE Network is to find inspiration in order to ignite our passions, make personal connections that will be sustained, and empower each other to take action. There were several activities over the two days including simulations, keynotes, How-To Sessions, spark sessions, booths, unconferenced sessions, and an icebreaker that was organized by a couple of students from our school.
On the first day of the conference, over 250 students from 15 different international schools were split into groups for the simulations. The main goal for the simulations was to develop empathy and awareness of vital issues and offer strategies and ideas in order to address the issues. The four groups were: Oceans, One World, Poverty, and Refugees. There were several activities arranged for people that involved experiencing the severity of the issue and taking possible actions to reduce the impact of the issue through sharing and reflecting with people from other schools. The icebreaker hosted by Emily, Ruby, Maggie, Budi, and Sejal allowed people to collaborate and create an image (based on a particular theme) by moving a string attached with a marker across the paper. The three best images were then chosen and the representatives were required to explain what the image symbolized.
Keynotes were TED-talk style speeches that inspired students and provoked their thinking regarding important issues, so that they are urged to take action and make a significant difference. The keynote speakers were a combination of both students and adults from different places around the globe. A British reporter, Seyi Rhodes, talked about the impact of landslides in Sierra Leone. Currently he works for Channel 4 on their Unreported World series. He was able to connect with people, as evident from his documentaries, and was able to help them in recovering, by providing emotional support. His documentaries raise awareness about issues around the world, and have also been nominated for 2 British media awards. Additionally, Sam Atherton and Boubakar Djombana, two students from NIST International School, gave a talk about LGBTQ+ community rights and how their “Gender and Sexualities Acceptance Group” in their school has helped the international community in acknowledging the problems they face, and how people must advocate and raise awareness to promote equality amongst all genders.
How-To sessions allowed students to share their experiences of successful/unsuccessful service projects they had done previously, so that the ideas could be conveyed to other people who may want to do something similar in the future. Emily, Faa, and Mami ran a How-To Session where they talked about “How not to fail a service project”. They described how they failed to create a service project in the past, leading to trouble with teachers and the school board, and how what they learnt from the experience enabled them to create an effective service project.
Spark sessions enabled students to increase their knowledge on local and global issues, allowing them to think and learn from an expert. Students were able to interact with experts personally and ask any personal questions or share expertise on a specific topic. An expert from Pakistan, Cyprian, who is currently living in Thailand, is seeking asylum status as he and his family were forced to flee Pakistan due to religious persecution. During the spark session with him, we were able to come up with ideas that would be helpful for his community and how donations and aid could impact them positively.
Other than that, there was a community fair where students and experts set up their own booth. From KIS, Thomas’s booth focused on raising awareness for his Personal Project documentary entitled “When Does War End?” regarding Unexploded Ordnance in Laos and Cambodia. Kari and I set up a booth for my Personal Project, which is associated with “Reducing Food Waste in the Canteen” where we shared our school experiences in the canteen and discussed various problems people face regarding the food quality. Ajew, Martin, and Vikram also set up a booth about Human Rights by collaborating with Amnesty International, an NGO centered around youth activism, refugees, and supporting human rights defenders.
Here is what the people who attended the conference had to say:
“Overall the whole experience was eye-opening, however my favorite part was the spark session with the refugee Cyprian as I was able to interact personally. This is different from reading an article online as it is heart touching and puts you in their position for the time being. All the activities increased my awareness of global issues although the spark session inspired me more to preserve and take action”. -Sejal G9
“I really liked running a How-To session and presenting my experiences with service projects to other international school students because, not only did I get to meet new people, it also gave me the chance to receive different perspectives and ideas on how to run proper service projects. The food was also really good.” – Emily Br G12
“I enjoyed ServICE this year mainly because I got to do things that were meaningful to me. I was able to present my project to people that were interested in it and I was able to plan another project with people that sustained interest with my original UXO project and wanted to help me do more. But overall, I’d say the people made ServICE what it really was. Without the group of internationally minded human beings being there (and Seyi Rhodes), he gave me a shoutout (how awesome :D), the event would’ve amounted to much less than it really was. “ – Thomas G10
“It was a wonderful opportunity where I got to meet with students from other schools, come up with ideas, and being aware of global issues. “Inspiring, Connecting, and Empowering”. Hopefully, I would join ServICE next year as well.”- Hugo G11
Thank you Ms. Lynley for guiding and helping us in planning for ServICE over the past couple of months. It was a great experience!
Here are some pictures from the event: