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    High School Students Lead Fourth Annual Washington State Global Issues Network Conference
    Posted on 03/28/2019
    Students gather together for a photo in a school lobby

    High School Students Lead Fourth Annual Washington State Global Issues Network Conference

    Students and teachers gathered at Chief Sealth International High School on March 22 and 23 for the fourth annual Washington State Global Issues Network (WAGIN) Conference, a two-day international event led by local youth seeking to tackle global issues, learn together, and spark lasting change. The conference brought together over 200 middle and high school students from the Seattle area and three states (Colorado, Texas, and Florida), as well as four countries (Canada, Mexico, Cuba, and South Korea).

    The conference theme was “Action for Sustainability Now,” which focused on immediate action students can take to make a lasting impact on issues like climate change, food security, and racial justice. Students participated in the conference in teams and led workshops in which they share what they are doing to take action on one (or more) of the twenty global issues outlined by the Global Issues Network.

    This year’s conference featured an address from Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, who spoke to youth about the importance of leadership and active global citizenship. Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau also spoke to the group on Friday.

    A total of 10 keynote speakers delivered remarks to the students, including:

    • Erin Jones, an educator, who was recognized by the White House in 2013 as a “Champion of Change” and was the first African American woman to run for state superintendent in Washington;
    • Jorge L. Baron, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, who works to defend the rights of low-income immigrants and refugees;
    • Andrea Rodgers, an environmental lawyer who represents youth in the Washington climate change case before the King County Superior Court (Foster v. Ecology);
    • Kristi L. Ebi, Josh Lawler, and Cecilia Bitz, climate scientists from the University of Washington, who spoke as a panel on current climate change research and initiatives;
    • Mia Eastman, Sierra Robinson, Marlow Baines, and Alex Trevino, who represented Earth Guardians, an organization that provides young people leadership opportunities and tools to address the world’s most pressing problems.

     Group photo of many of the  students at the conference on the front steps of Chief Sealth High School

    The conference was organized by a joint committee of students from Chief Sealth International High School and Ingraham High School. The conference was made possible through partnerships with several organizations and agencies, including the Global Issues Network (GIN), Seattle Public Schools, the Foundation for International Understanding through Students (FIUTS), World Affairs Council, Rustic Pathways, the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, IREX, and the U.S. Department of State.