Inter-school collaboration to tackle global issues

Why a focus on collaboration?

At last year's GIN conference, we emphasized the importance of collaboration and systemic change in addressing the climate crisis. Despite the challenges, these efforts are necessary for the betterment of the world. The pandemic has forced us to adapt and find new ways of doing things, and as we move past it, we should consider which of these changes are worth keeping.

The GIN conference transitioned to a virtual format during the pandemic and has been successful in this new format for the past two editions. This has allowed for greater participation from a wider range of schools, and has also been beneficial for people who may be more socially vulnerable or less confident in public speaking. Additionally, the reduced cost of the virtual event has made it more accessible to a wider audience.

However, the shift to a virtual format has also led us to question the reasoning behind participating in such events. Shouldn't a global conference focused on global issues set an example by promoting sustainable practices? Is it not hypocritical to contribute to carbon emissions when the event could be held without them?

In light of repeated requests from a small group of GIN friends to hold an in-person conference, we have examined the most suitable options for 2023. While we are considering the possibility of a hybrid event, we believe that the benefits of a fully virtual conference far outweigh any drawbacks, as we strive to create an event with the lowest possible carbon footprint in line with our goal of promoting positive change.

We understand the importance of face-to-face interactions and collaboration, and to that end, we have reached out to nearby schools to establish a local community network. We will keep you updated on our progress and hope to encourage other schools to form partnerships with schools in their region. We encourage schools to investigate existing conferences in their area and to contact for assistance if they are interested in hosting an event.

What does this mean for student workshops at the March 2023 virtual conference?

We believe that all GIN students have been motivated to address one or more global issues and have devised plans to tackle them. To ensure that each workshop includes clear steps for moving forward with their projects, we encourage students to reach out to other schools, whether locally or internationally. Here are some suggestions for ways to do this:

The ISL local GIN experience

After discussing with other students involved in GIN in Luxembourg, the team decided to explore ways to collaborate locally. Given that Luxembourg is a small country, it was easy to arrange for students from other schools to visit and spend a day together. The goal was to form bonds and create momentum for future partnerships. To do this, they organized activities to break the ice and share progress on school projects, had guest speakers from local NGOs to share their professional experience and offer workshops on project design and management, and concluded the day with a shared creative activity. The team received positive feedback and is now working on the next steps for sustaining this movement, including a series of inter-school debates, a common beekeeping course, and a support system for new initiatives.

Nina's experience

During the first local GIN conference, I helped facilitate the event with my partner, Victoria, and participated in the activities available. One activity that worked well to increase the collaboration between students was to come up with an issue we see locally with its causes and consequences. Then, we would try to come up with solutions to the problem. For example, my group thought that there was an issue with the lack of awareness of different cultures and perspectives within our schools, and our solution is to try and host interschool debates between our three schools which are all located on the same campus. This activity helped each student project be represented while collaborating between schools, which aligned with this year's annual conference’s theme: interschool collaboration to tackle global issues. It also helped create bonds between other students and me to reach a common goal, which was a unique way to apply global issues to our everyday lives.

Do you know that you can host your own GIN event?