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International What?

March 26, 2014

By Angelica Venegas

International negotiations. Two very scary words I heard my sophomore year. And even scarier was that I actually had to participate in these so called “international negotiations.” In the end it wasn’t as scary as I thought. In fact, it was a really cool experience. But before I start ranting about how fun it was, let me explain what international negotiations at Millikan High School is and how it relates to my academy, PEACE, which focuses on social justice, not business.

When I first heard negotiations, I immediately thought that we were going to be talking about stuff that I personally find boring because it already has too much attention. I soon learned international negotiations has nothing to do with what I imagined: money, debts, etc. It is actually a variety of countries coming to a proposal on how to fix certain issues that occur all over the world, such as terrorism, nuclear weapons, my oh-so-favorite minority rights and plenty more. Minority rights is my favorite because it’s the issue I was placed to represent as a delegate of China. Whoa! Back it up.

Let’s start from the beginning. Every year students at PEACE have to do some kind of project or focus on some subject. Sophomore year there are two projects, one of which is international negotiations. We work on international negotiations mostly in our history class, where we find out what country we represent, research said country, and give our interest levels of certain issues that we will eventually have to try and solves with other “countries,” competing high schools and colleges.

Once the research is complete and you have the information you need the fun begins. You begin to start sending in beginning proposals of what you and your group think is the best way to solve the issue you have internationally. This is all done online where other students representing other countries have the same issue read your proposal and disagree, agree, and/or try to change the proposal. After a few months of all this discussion and live email conferences in May you get to participate in the anticipated Global Forum, where you meet face to face with these countries and try to come to an agreement of the best way to solve the issue.

This was particularly fun for me because as a delegate of China trying to solve the issue of minority rights I gave the opening speech with a friend of mine. All the delegates were there including teachers and adults observing. It was definitely nerve wrecking, but I am glad I took the chance to do the opening speech because it helped me practice my public speaking skills.

My experience with international negotiations is a huge part of who I am today. It challenged me and taught me responsibility, respect for others, professionalism and presentation skills. This is all thanks to my Linked Learning pathway, and I can’t think of a better way to learn.