During the July school holidays, we were fortunate enough to travel to Kobe, Osaka, Japan, to attend a four-continent summit held by our Japanese partner school, Fukiai High School. The summit gathered youths from Sweden, USA, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Australia and encouraged us to discuss and exchange research and ideas pertaining to several important issues facing the youth and society of today. We had to overcome barriers in language and culture by working together on collaborative projects, which showcased our drive to help create a better future for all.
On our first day, we ventured off on a city walking tour to explore Kobe, particularly the historical Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum and the remarkable Kobe harbour.
The next day, a ceremony was held to open the summit, where all the visiting students gave a brief presentation, introducing ourselves, our school and our country and several clubs from Fukiai High School gave entertaining performances. Following this, a Japanese university professor gave a lecture about localising Sustainable Development Goals which have been set by the United Nations, as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
We commenced the summit by giving an individual presentation on an issue associated with one of the following topics: Human rights, Education, Economy, Environment and Health. The two issues we presented on were ‘Support for LGBTQ+ youths’ (human rights) and ‘Education for those in poverty’ (education). This was followed by an in-depth discussion in small groups, comparing the situation of the issue amongst the various countries, which led to the creation of our final presentation. We presented these the next day, showcasing our combined ideas and actions that we think should be taken to overcome these issues. Each presentation was thought-provoking and provided information on how we as individuals can benefit our society and help combat these issues.
Shortly after, the time came to say our goodbyes. It was sad and difficult to leave behind those who we had been working closely with during the week, but the memories made, and friendships formed will stay with us forever.
Kiara Palmar and Lucas Chrisanthou