IB Students Participate in Diplomacy Now Convention

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By Sanika Nayak , World News Editor

Before even the first bell on Tuesday, Sept. 19, a flock of students from the International Baccalaureate (IB) program convened in the parking lot at around 7:15 a.m., abuzz with energy and excitement. Students then boarded two buses to go to the Texas State Capitol in order to attend a convention called Diplomacy Now. The program was a way for high school and college students to listen to guest speakers discuss important issues such as immigration and the refugee crisis, and to take part in a diplomacy simulation.

“I was really excited to go on the field trip because I haven’t gone on one for so long, since like elementary school,” Kavyaa Choudhary ‘18 said. “It was a really cool thing for Ms. [Kelly] Saenz to set up for us because since it was a diplomacy event, it was something that a lot of IB kids were interested in, and it was really fun to do this with people who are all really good friends.”

After reaching the Capitol around 9 a.m., the students listened to a speaker discuss the refugee crisis and the difficulty of relocation efforts, as well as ways that the Austin community could get involved in helping refugee organizations. Shortly after the speech, students from all schools were divided into groups of about 20 to take part in a diplomacy simulation.

 Once split into separate sections, students were introduced to the activity, which centered around a fake refugee crisis in which each small group of four to five students were assigned either a country or organization to represent in a mock conference. The goal of the simulation was to reach a compromise that represented the best interests of each group.

 “The activity was really fun, but it was also difficult because it’s not easy to come to a decision that everyone agrees on,” Rucha Joshi ‘18 said. “It was cool because I got to meet and interact with people from other schools and see their perspectives on how to handle issues that came up. In the end, I think our group did well and although we had to give up some things we wanted, we reached a compromise that aligned with our overall position.”

The activity proved enjoyable and challenging, and lasted about two hours, after which the iB students regrouped to eat lunch and then board the buses back to school.

“I learned a lot about the nuances of of diplomacy, which made me realize that there were no winners in diplomacy but instead it was all about creating the best compromises,” John Cho ‘18 said. “I think that this is something we should do in [IB WAS HL] every year because it provides a real-world application to what we learn in history and that other students in the future will also enjoy this opportunity.”

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