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Sep 20, 2017

Mater Dei Prep Emerging Global Leaders Shine at International Day of Peace

Thirty Mater Dei Prep students were honored to attend and present their Educational Tool Kit Project to the United Nations at the International Day of Peace Conference on Friday, September 15th. This was the third year that Mater Dei Prep scholars from the Emerging Global Leaders Program were invited to attend this conference. The United Nations General Assembly declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The theme of the 2017 International Day of Peace Conference was “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for ALL” and focused on engaging and mobilizing people throughout the world to show support for refugees and migrants.

This year Mater Dei Prep students were chaperoned by the Emerging Global Leaders coordinator and United Nations NGO Pathways To Peace Representative, George Anthony; Mater Dei Prep art teacher, Mrs. Laura Mandile; and Deacon of Saint Mary, Mother of God Parish, Marty McMahon. Mr. Anthony has been attending the International Day of Peace for the past sixteen years and has developed a strong relationship between the United Nations and the Mater Dei Prep Emerging Global Leaders Program.

In spirit of the International Day of Peace theme, “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety, and Dignity for ALL,” Mater Dei Prep students Elizabeth Sheridan ’20, Karen Nortz ’20, Madison Ducsai ’20, and Katelyn Grano ’18 were proud to present the Emerging Global Leaders service project to the United Nations General Assembly. The Emerging Global Leaders “Education Tool Kit Project” was one of ten projects selected worldwide to present to the United Nations. The “Education Tool Kit” will primarily benefit refugees forced into migration around the world.

The project will implement a two-fold “Education Tool Kit” that will be sent worldwide to refugees. The first part of the “Education Tool Kit” will contain lesson plans that will be sent to children who have been forced to flee their homes due to war and terrorism. The second part will contain a digital donation portion, specifically in science, math, and English as a second language. The collected lesson plans will be used to help continue the education of the refugee children and will be displayed on the www.prep4peace.org website created by Mater Dei Prep sophomore, Joseph Stanton. The website will also host interactive discussion boards, mentoring programs, and opportunities for all children to be assisted by their peers.

In order to make the website as impactful as possible, the Emerging Global Leaders are asking teachers to donate their lesson plans in science, math, financial literacy, English as a second language, leadership development, western civilization, and European history from grades K-12. You can email your donated lesson plans to prep4peace@gmail.com. Please note in your email what grade level the lesson plan donation is for.

Mr. Anthony shared his thoughts on the conference and the Emerging Global Leaders “Education Tool Kit.” “This was a day of promise and infinite possibilities where our students will have the opportunity to launch their project and passion into the world stage. Hopefully this will impact the lives of refugee children whose only desire is stability and the continuation of their educational dreams. Our students understand their role in trying to make that happen and my goal is to provide the platform to create the change they wish to see in the world. All the messages at the conference were to inspire our youth to take action and to make a difference. Their voice matters, but more importantly, they need to get involved and be the difference. There are many organizations throughout the world that will support their cause.”

Mater Dei Prep students were able to hear speeches presented by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres; U.N. Messenger of Peace, Dr. Jane Goodall; and UN Secretary General Envoy on Youth, Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake . Students also had the opportunity to engage with students from the UN Consulate in Bogota, Columbia to discuss the end of the fifty year civil war that brought in the rebel FARC combatants into the governmental peace process.

Madeline Brew, Mater Dei Prep senior, was inspired by the conference and Dr. Jane Goodall. “Listening to students my age creating such life changing projects that can make a huge difference in the lives of young refugees was inspiring. It inspired me to start looking at the bigger picture and how I could help those struggling in everyday life. Also, Dr. Jane Goodall’s response to one student’s question really changed my perspective on how to approach certain conversations. Instead of arguing with someone else’s point of view that may be completely wrong, I could tell a story that could make that person think and feel empathy. Instead of participating in the arguing, a heartfelt story could bring peace to one situation and person at a time.”

Four Mater Dei Prep students were recognized at the International Day of Peace Conference with questions and concerns regarding global developments and the role youth can play in being a part of the solution. Elizabeth Sheridan ’20, Caecilia Altenburg ’18, John DiBrita ’18, and Camryn Brathwaite ’21 addressed Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres and the Columbian Consulate with questions and concerns about war, role of politics, and sustainable peace.

In addition to hearing members of the United Nations and U.N. Messengers address the audience, the Mater Dei Prep scholars were able to take part in the ringing of the Peace Bell ritual. This ritual is performed every year on the International Day of Peace. Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres rings the bell, which is made out of melted down bullets and various metal from past wars to symbolize the beginning of International Peace Day and to pray for peace.

Madison Was, Mater Dei Prep senior, was moved by her experience at the International Day of Peace Conference. “The trip to the United Nations was nothing less than fantastic. To be given a platform to let your voice echo to parts of the world that you never thought would hear you was truly a privilege. Being able to attend such an influential conference with people who have dedicated their lives to paving the way for peace day after day was very humbling. The conference was very inspiring and motivating and helped me realize that small actions can lead into big projects that change the world.”

The Mater Dei Prep Emerging Global Leaders Program will continue to be active players within the United Nations organizations with continued support from organizations such as U.N. NGO Pathway’s To Peace. Seraph scholars look forward to attending many events throughout the upcoming school year and working on many group projects in hopes to promote the United Nations message of peace.

For more information on the Mater Dei Prep Emerging Global Leaders Program, please visit MaterDeiPrep.org and click Emerging Global Leaders under the academics tab.

Registration is now open for Mater Dei Prep’s fall Open Houses on Sunday, October 15 or Wednesday, October 18. Please visit materdeiprep.org to register today.