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Buddies Without Borders Online Forums

Buddies Without Borders Online Forums are month-long, web-based collaboration and competition projects attended by students aged 15 - 18 around the world. 

The Forums are held 3-5 times a year. Around 3-5 representatives from each country are selected to meet weekly online. Students are grouped as equal global citizens into teams, assigned a country as their joint identity, and together throughout the month they will debate and co-author recommendation papers to solve a predefined Sustainable Development Goals-related challenge.

Each team is coached by a college student and sessions feature guest speakers. All papers are reviewed and ranked by international educators including college admission officers and subject-matter experts. Winners receive free year-long International Online Internships provided by Leadership Initiatives and funded by top brands including Microsoft and Starbucks.  Exceptional students are invited to establish BWB Clubs in schools and take on leadership positions with us.  

If accepted, the participation fee is $50 usd.  Please click on each Forum below for past Outcome Reports, Award Ceremony Recordings, and Project Designs.  Click here for the Interest Form and be notified when the application opens.

*Note to IBDP CAS Coordinators: the Forum is designed to meet all seven learning outcomes - Click here to see how.

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July 1-Aug 31, 2024 Forum - Coexistence: Case Study on Peace & Change (Application is now closed)

There will be no existence if we cannot coexist.  History has taught us that violence begets violence sooner or later.  What to do if the lawmakers refuse to change?  What to do if the changes are not coming quickly enough for us?  Great peace activists in the past have encountered the same conundrum.  What lessons did they learn that we must learn for ourselves and put into practice in today’s world?  How can we do better? 

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Next: AI's Impact on SDGs.  Sign up in the Interest Form to Receive Early Notice When the Application is Open: Click Here.

We are the change we are looking for.  What changes do you want to make?  What do you think others need to know?  What do you want to learn more about?  Join in the conversation.  See you in the next forum!

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Jan/Feb, 2024 Forum - Who Will Take Care of Us? Access to Healthcare (Click here for the Outcome Report)

It is often said that “without health, we have nothing.”  Indeed, for anyone to achieve their full potential, good health is fundamental.  With a strong body and a sound mind, a person can achieve so much.  Without it, we and our families suffer.  In today’s interconnected world, one person’s illness can easily impact thousands.  Having access to sufficient healthcare seems to be a basic human right that benefits the whole community.  However, vast differences in people’s environments, resources, and social statuses affect the choices available to them.

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April 6 - May 11, 2024 Forum - From Fast Fashion to Eco-Fashion (Click here for the Outcome Report)

We all want to look good, and fashion helps define our image.  What we wear and what we see others wear, in person and on social media, says a lot about our society and what we define as “cool.”  Fast fashion keeps prices low and brings growth in developing countries, but also comes with tremendous environmental and social costs, from pollution to human rights violations.

This Spring, we are inviting teens around the world to investigate how fashion and values interact and discuss what changes are needed to improve the Fast Fashion industry to meet the Global Goals. 

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July/August 2023 Forum - AquaAlliance: Flood, Drought or Pollution? Mobilizing Youth to Solve Water Crises (Click Here for the Award Announcement.  Click Here for the Outcome Report)

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Oct/Nov 2023 Forum - Green Jobs in the Green Economy: Case Study (Click Here for the Award AnnouncementClick Here for the Outcome Report) 

Life starts with water.  More than 60% of the human body is made of water.  Yet almost half of the people on earth do not have access to this basic necessity.  Around 2.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and 4.2 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services (WHO).  

In the summer of 2023, students examined the underlying issues around the global water crisis and its impacts on society. They analyzed and proposed solutions to address water-related challenges in their assigned country. From national policy reviews to consumer behavior examinations, students recommended innovative products, services and policies to solve the water challenge before it is too late.

According to the International Labour Organization of the United Nations, the transition to a green economy is necessary for an environmentally sustainable future for the human race.  More importantly, this transition is an opportunity to create decent jobs for all, especially underprivileged communities.  Creative, sustainable and fair businesses are needed to lead the way.  

 

This October, each of the 10-12 teams of students from 25-30 countries will be assigned a business as their Case Study Partner.  Students will learn about the latest trends and technologies, research the environmental/social/economic impact their assigned businesses have on the community, and articulate their findings by creating a video through the lens of sustainable production (guided by Disney’s Sustainable Production team).


 

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January 2023 Forum - Happy Teens: Website Design Challenge.  (Click Here for the Team List and the Outcome Report)

Winning Project: Team Happygram

Did you know that even though the standards of living have improved dramatically in human history, the quality of life has not?  In fact, according to a 2021 research published by WHO, one in seven teenagers experiences a mental disorder such as anxiety and depression which may lead to lingering problems into their adulthood if not addressed.  From mindfulness to goal setting, from gratitude journaling to advisory chats, from internship opportunities to summer job listings - what do teens in your community need in order to achieve happiness?  What does happiness look like to teens in your community? 

March 2023 Forum - The Best ROI - Women and the Economy (Click Here for the Team List. Click Here for the Award Announcement.) 

Winning Project: Team Unaweza Representing Uganda

Did you know that it may take more than 100 years to close the global gender gap? (World Economic Forum Report on Global Gender Gap, 2022)  In March/April 2023, we brainstormed ideas to create fair economic opportunities for women - we unearthed where the gender gap is coming from, what are the consequences and what can we do about it.  Each team identified a women-owned business borrower on the microloan platform KIVA and created a marketing plan for her.  A microloan was made to the winning team's chosen business. 
 

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July/August 2022 Forum - Be the Change Challenge.  (Click here for the Team List and Outcome Report)

Winning Project: Team "Refrigerator"

 

The ability to make a good argument and write a strong proposal is great, but at the end of the day, real changes come from our own actions.  Personal wellness is not possible without a kinder world.  While the legislators make laws against aggression, therapists help those in pain, what can you and I do?  This summer, join us for the Be the Change Challenge to create a kinder world.

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November 2022 Forum - Zero Hunger Zero Waste (Click here for the Team List and Outcome Report

Winning Projects (tie): Team "Scrap Savers" and Team "No Trace for Waste"

Did you know that even though more than enough food is being produced to feed the whole world, more than 800 million people still don't have enough to eat?  Why is this?  From consumer apps that let us buy unsold food and unused ingredients from local restaurants before they are tossed at the end of the day, to agricultural technologies that allow farmers to grow crops without water, soil or sunshine, to the movement of eating local - can we stop hunger and waste while saving our planet and our community?  

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December 2021 Forum - Social Media for Global Good (Click here for the Team List and Outcome Report. )

Winning Project: Reduced Inequality by Team 8: Trinequality

 

In December 2021, future influencers were challenged to put their digital power to good use.  Students designed social media content using platforms of their choice to meet global goals.  Team up with like-minded communicators and designers, and let's capture the power of social media for the global good.

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March 2022 Forum - Wellness for Teens (Click here for Outcome Report)

Winning Project: Opportunities for All by Team Metanoia

As the world slowly gets out of the pandemic and hopefully puts quarantine and masks behind us, let's focus on lessons learned - how can we take good care of ourselves, mentally and physically when times are rough?  (Special Artwork Credit: Joanna Bertilla, Indonesia (participant of Acess to Justice & the Rule of Law Online Forum).  Thank you, Joanna!)

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July 2021 Forum - Human Migration: In the Pursuit of Happiness (Click here for the team list and outcome report.)

Winning Project: Human Migration in Turkey by Team Pacific Spartans

Migration is human nature that cannot be stopped.   Did you know 1 in 30 people on earth is living outside of their country of birth?  An estimated 65 million of them are forced to do so?  How can we support their human rights while protecting the civil rights of the local citizens?  

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October 2021 Forum - Green is the New Gold: Ecotourism Business Concept Competition (Click here for the team list and outcome report)

Winning Project: Project Ladies Lotus's - Idea of Ecotourism for India

If anything, COVID-19 teaches us to respect nature more.  As the tourism industry grapples with how to recover from the standstill caused by the pandemic, better-imagined ecotourism, agritourism, and adventure travel can be the key to allowing us to continue exploring the world, and enable local communities to continue growing the economy and creating jobs.   

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April 2021 Forum - Access to Justice & Rule of Law - World Peace Starts with Local Harmony (Click here for participation list and outcome report)

Winning Project: Access to Justice in Egypt by Team Pyramid Party

History is full of events where people broke the law in order to achieve justice.  The consequences are often damaging to the entire community.  What are the ways to abide by the rules yet make social changes for the better?  Click here to see the Forum Joint Paper: Case Study of Social Changes Around the World.

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August 2020 Forum - Management of COVID-19 and Its Impact on Students (Click here for participation list and outcome report)

The Forum on Management of COVID-19 and Its Impact on Students has concluded after a month-long discussion, research and reflections by 50 high school students from 26 schools in 40 countries with multiple deliverables, including a joint paper on Ideas of Improving Mental Health for Teenagers - at the Time of COVID-19.

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