Organizing the Middle School South East Asia Global Issues Network Conference

Last school year (2016-2017) the HKA GIN High school Team had the privilege of being able to organise and host the Middle School South East Asia Global Issues Network Conference. Me and two other students, with the valuable help of our teacher supervisor, decided to take on the task and see what we could do to make this conference a truly impactful one.

GIN conferences are organised around the world with two main purposes. The first one is to provide information about global issues and the second purpose is to bring students who are passionate about solving these issues together to share ideas and create action. Me and my two classmates had been to these conferences before, and we knew that even though it was a good idea, most times ideas were proposed but never executed. Our first task as leaders of this conference was to change that.

Therefore, our vision for the conference was to not only bring people together and share ideas, but also for students to participate in hands-on experiences where they could serve at the same time that they learn solutions that they can then implement in their own communities. However, making this vision actually happen was no easy task.

Throughout the whole planning process, I learnt more management and leadership skills than throughout most of middle school. From brainstorming ideas and making decisions in the team, to contacting speakers and organisations. I learnt how to keep track of things professionally, how to deal with problems that would rise on the spot (for example, an NGO not replying) but most importantly, that if you work hard and trust yourself, things will flow easier.

After what felt like a flash the Conference day arrived. On this weekend, I improved my public speaking skills by leading the conference with my other two classmates, I learnt how to fix minor problems -like finding a plastic bag for a girl who lost her tooth-to big problems, for example an NGO that arrived late, or a child that almost got lost. I also realised the amount of people that are required to run an event like this, and how important the planning section is in order to lead the conference with ease.

Overall, planning this conference was a success both for the students who took home ideas and solutions to improve our planet, and for me and my teammates who learnt the basics of how to manage and lead a student conference.

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