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  • Writer's pictureIVECA Center

IVECA’s Annual Global Virtual Roundtable Fosters Compassionate Global Citizens

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

The world is a mosaic of diverse cultures with people who travel the world to experience it and to broaden their cultural horizons. Intercultural education is essential to foster peaceful dialogue. IVECA has continuously aimed to raise awareness about education for global citizenship. Intercultural competence is essential for individuals to be compassionate global citizens.

IVECA was privileged to organize its third edition of the Global Virtual Summer Camp, where students from around the world convened for two weeks through daily lectures and activities. This year’s theme for camp was the 'Application of New Era Diplomacy for Achieving SDGs'. The camp featured students from South Korea, Nepal and India, and ran from July 22 to August 2, 2022.

The course was led by Ambassador Extraordinary of Egypt Dr. Hesham Elnakib, who has over 35 years of career in diplomacy. Along with NASA Scientist Dr. Mariel Friberg’s assistance, Ambassador Dr. Elnakib guided the students to understand the topics of multi-lateral relations and the power of individuals, culture and science in diplomacy. By harnessing their “soft power,” students created diverse projects that included unique and innovative solutions that reflected their respective countries.

The series of lectures provided by the Ambassador elucidated the Sustainable Development Goals, public diplomacy, soft power, branding, and promotion. Dr. Friberg explained innovative aspects involved in science and technology to tackle environmental issues. Ambassador Elnakib shared his diplomatic strategies and information on various cultures being introduced on a global platform and provided advice on students’ project designs to make them applicable to real-world problem-solving. One mentor noted, “Learning from books only gives us the foundation, but interacting and applying the skills in the real world and with others outside your comfort zone gives us a memorable lifelong lesson!”

The students worked alongside their teachers and mentors to develop their projects on a unique aspect of their culture, representing their soft power, which can contribute to achieving SDGs. Many of the students chose projects for Climate Action (SDG 13.) Korean teams created innovative packaging and tumbler culture to reduce plastics by reusable materials such as seaweed and mud for bottles and water cups. The Nepali team developed an NGO to save nature through diverse campaign ideas as Nepal is well-known for its natural beauty (SDG 15). Indian students developed the idea of establishing an NGO dedicated to raising awareness of Ayurveda, a traditional medicine practice in India, and primarily focused on Good Health and well-being (SDG 3).

While developing their projects, students also had the opportunity to interact leisurely through Happy Hour sessions during the camp. Five Happy Hour sessions were held with icebreakers and games geared towards learning more about each other and their respective cultures. Some of the activities played during the session included cultural trivia quizzes. Such global social interactions created unforgettable experiences for the participants. “It was such a reminiscent piece of memory that I couldn't forget… Really I got to know a lot more about the distinctive culture of the countries. I can't believe that these 10 days were so short and went so fast, like 1 second! Still, I am not ready to say Goodbye. All my Korean and Nepalese friends were so generous and interactive that I felt connected somehow to each and everyone….” shared an Indian student.

The Global Virtual Roundtable included the Camp instructor Ambassador Elnakib, panelists Dr. Friberg and Mr. Hernandez, diplomatic experts from the UN community, and student teams. The students' efforts culminated in their final presentations which showcased the innovations unique to their country and beneficial to other countries. Family, friends, and guests also join the international audience from diverse countries.

The Global Virtual Summer Camp concluded with great success. Students enjoyed interacting with peers from around the world and recognized themselves as soft power global citizens who care about others and the planet and collaborate for a better humanity. A student stated, “The new aspects are that I developed myself to build confidence in myself for the development of our homeland.” They expressed the desire to contribute towards the development of broader society through the course. The bonds of friendship forged from the experience will indeed last for a lifetime. The IVECA Global Virtual Summer Camp illustrates that global dialogue and intercultural understanding can foster peace in the world. As one mentor reflects, “It was definitely one of the best quality programs you can find. This is because it does not end with one-off lecture or mentoring but it is a program that is designed to enrich student capacity in research and presentation.”



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