When world leaders gathered at the seventh annual Concordia Summit, the largest and most inclusive nonpartisan forum alongside the United Nations General Assembly, four St. Anne's-Belfield Upper School students were among them.
Generously made possible by Summit co-founder and School alumnus Matthew Swift '05, Concordia, the School's Office of Alumni Relations, and the School's Annual Fund, attending the two-day event was a chance for Ari Krupnick '20, Jake Fallica '20, Jill Gallardo '19, and Ashley Dahl '19 to complement what they have learned in the School's curriculum with a "real world" event.
"Studying at St. Anne's-Belfield, we learn many things about the increasing globalization of the world, which, on a basic level, is what this summit was about," noted Fallica. "We learned of issues and ideas that affect the whole world, from economics and trade to politics and social issues."
Among this year's speakers were former and current political leaders, CEOs, celebrities, journalists, activists, entrepreneurs, and more from across the globe.
"I especially enjoyed when the President of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, talked about the immigration crisis in Latin America," said Gallardo. "With immigrant parents, I pay close attention to policies concerning this issue. My favorite phrase was, 'Think globally. Act locally.'"
Before attending the programmed events, the students met with Concordia co-founder Matthew Swift '05 who gave them an inside look at the event space, logistics, and agenda. For Krupnick, this tour was a highlight of his experience.
"My most memorable moment at the Summit was when Matthew Swift gave us a behind-the-scenes tour of the venue," he said. "We got to see all of the work that needs to be done to bring together such a large event."
Following the first day's talks, the students and chaperones Mr. Blake Ware, dean of Upper School students and Mr. John Blake, director of alumni relations, met with local alumni for an informal dinner and a chance for current students to ask about university experiences, careers, and life in the city.
"Overall, I am really grateful to have been given this incredible experience that I could not have imagined I would ever be able to have," noted Dahl. "We were the only students there, which really highlights the uniqueness of the situation, and I am so thankful that we were able to have this opportunity."
Photo courtesy of Ari Krupnick. L – R: Fallica, Krupnick, Swift, Dahl, Gallardo.