On September 20, 2019, Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders attended the International Peace Observance Day and Peace Bell Ceremony during the “Climate Action for Peace” conference. The Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders were given the opportunity to attend the Peace Bell Ceremony as official Flag Bearers for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the President of the 74th session of the General Assembly, His Excellency Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria. As they rang the peace bell, a number of the Global Leaders were chosen to hold the flags of United Nations member states throughout the ceremony. Afterward, the conference returned inside the United Nations to begin the International conference attended by many dignitaries and guests to discuss and promote different pathways to climate peace.
The Secretary-General opened the conference by speaking about the role of The United Nations achieving “peace with nature” to have peace throughout the world. After Guterres finished his speech, United Nations advocated for peace, including Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, and Xiuhtexcatl Martinez an international climate activist who spoke regarding their personal projects to help maintain our current climate and combat worsening conditions. The final panel of the day was led by youth members of the global community, presenting their projects that were created to combat global climate damage and advocate for green living.
Students’ Individual Experiences:
The Global Leaders were out in force during the conference, with Elizabeth Sheridan (’20), Sarah Dolan (’21), and Emma DeBiase (’23), all being recognized for their questions as they addressed the distinguished panel.
Caroline Loniewski (MDP 22) was attending her first conference. She remarked “Something that stood out to me at the United Nations conference is all the different speakers. Everyone there shared their opinion on climate change and what we can do to help. Their presentations included things that we can do to help the world such as using reusable water bottles. It was amazing sharing this day with people from all over the world."
Vanessa DePasca (MDP 22) stated, “What I learned on Friday is that the littlest things can make a change in the world or in someone’s life and spreading peace starts with you. It was amazing to listen to how people take time out of their day to try to make a change even though they might get judged for wanting to make this world a better place.”
Tom Yan (MDP 20) stated, “I am very excited. And I am very grateful to Mr. Anthony for letting me go to the opening ceremony of the conference and I was fortunate enough to get the Chinese flag. At the meeting, I saw UN Secretary-General Guterres speak about today's topic "Climate Action for Peace". This theme draws attention to the importance of addressing climate change as a way to protect and promote peace around the world. I agree that peace can only be achieved if concrete actions are taken to address climate change.”
Elizabeth Bertsch (MDP 22) remarked, “At my first conference, I experienced unique perspectives about how to bring peace to the world. In addition to creating peace through settling
disputes between groups of people, we must also create peace by preserving our natural environment as well as uniting others together through finding common passions. I enjoyed learning about the gathering of water in poorer countries by collecting rainwater and purifying it. This helped me to realize that peace is not possible throughout the world until everyone has the necessary resources to survive.”
Sarah Wickham (MDP 21) replied “the Conference talked about taking a necessary everyday item like clothing and thinking about how we can make a change through recycling and limiting. It is one of the easiest differences an individual could make. That conversation will lead to a project at Mater Dei Prep where recycled uniforms can play a role in addressing cost-saving initiatives for participating families.”
Devon Perrotta (MDP 21) saw this conference as a springboard for the 2019-2020 Global Leaders term. “It provided a variety of diverse programs and solutions we can address as a class and a generation that strives to make a difference”
Elizabeth Sheridan (MDP 20), who attended and spoke at this conference provided the synopsis for this press release.
George Anthony, Head of the Global Leaders and a United Nations NGO Pathways To Peace Representative, was pleased by the students’ poise and professionalism at this conference. “Today we saw a mix of veteran Global Leaders and students new to the program speak powerfully to a global audience which demonstrates the success of our program. We are developing future leaders with future solutions. They are building a better tomorrow beginning today!”
The Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders are now setting their sights on The International Day of Tolerance Conference in partnership with YouTube Creators for Change Movement where the Global Leaders Program took top honors for “A House Divided” video. This year their project will focus on climate damage featuring the voices of Sarah Dolan, Lexi Lombardo and other vocal talents who attend Mater Dei Prep.
- Elizabeth Sheridan 41:52 minutes into Conference
- Sarah Dolan 1:31:20 hour/minutes into Conference
- Emma DeBiase 2:25:25 hour/minutes into Conference