During 2021-22, the Global Affairs Speaker Series at Pearson focused on the UWC mission and was designed around three main themes: Sustainability, Equity and Peace.

The student-driven GA team was made up of four students — Brooke O’Toole (Year 47/2022, Canada), Georgina Petreska (Year 48/2023, Macedonia), Malaika Bunzigiye (Year 48/2023, Canada) and Vasiljevic Vukasin (Year 48/2023, Serbia) — and Samuel Perez de León, faculty coordinator.

This academic year the Global Affairs program also prioritized Pearson College UWC alumni who are experts in their respective fields around the world and inspired current students as well as alumni and College supporters who were able to attend virtually. Focusing on Pearson alumni also underlined the College’s unique character in welcoming global students who go on to live the UWC mission and values in their work and lives.

And, while not a Pearson alumnus, the GA team was honoured to welcome for the first time at the College, a Nobel Laureate, Dr. Muhammad Yunus who delivered his spring Global Affairs session virtually from Bangladesh.

Despite the challenges that the COVID pandemic brought this year, the GA team’s resilience was evident as they worked to successfully deliver five sessions along the academic year. In every case, the team worked mindfully to welcome speakers from a variety of ethnic, gender, and national groups to ensure diverse perspectives of opinions on common global issues under the main themes of sustainability, equity and peace.

For the purposes of this academic year’s approach to the Global Affairs Speaker Series, the team approached the main themes this way:

Sustainability:  Focusing on the climate crisis and aligning with the UWC mission of making education a force for a more sustainable world for all).

Equity: Focusing on inequities and opportunities to overcome exclusion and poverty based on the College’s ethos of inclusivity, diversity, inclusion, justice and personal and mutual responsibility.

Peace: Focusing on understanding and reflecting upon the status of peace today given international conflicts, a divided world and our own UWC mission to also make education a force for a more peaceful world for all).

The 2022-23 GA sessions held included:

  1. “Pathways to a less-ghastly future” Delivered by Corey Bradshaw (Year 14):
  2. Climate change impacts here and there? What can we do here and now?
    Panel: M.Sc.Lilian Marquez (Year 16), Design and Impact Officer at WWF , Guatemala;
    E. Shawna Aminath (Year 29) Maldives Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology and Dr. Andrew Weaver  (IPCC panel member, academic and former Member of the [British Columbia] Legislative Assembly).
  3. Workshop: Community climate action project planning: What can we do to take climate action? Delivered by: Patrick Duke, University of Calgary
  4. How youth entrepreneurship can lead to a world of 3 zeros Delivered by Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Peace Nobel Prize Laureate
  5. Preventing War and Waging Peace in a Divided World Delivered by Prof. Abiodun Williams (Year 4)

Beyond the lectures, and following our values of personal challenge,  we promoted a call to action, and invited the Pearson community to propose projects to reduce the ecological footprint at our campus. Three groups presented their ideas and a grant of $500 was awarded to the team of students who proposed a compost program to be implemented in the second semester of 2022.

Nurturing the UWC values was this year’s Global Affairs goal. We can say with humility that the seed was planted. Until next year!

Samuel Pérez De León
Economics Teacher and
Global Affairs Coordinator 2021-2022