The public voting in the People's Choice Award will close in about 24 hours (noon ET, Friday, August 25th). Meanwhile, all AquaAlliance Online Forum participants from 20+ countries are voting for their choice of the Best Representatives from the following Top Five Scorers. Here is a brief reflection from each of the Top Five on why they believe international-mindedness is needed as we face global challenges:
"This is imperative to prevent the development of prejudices and stereotypical thoughts about certain types of people in the minds of young teens. If one looks closely at the most earth-shattering events that have occurred in the last few decades, one of the key factors connecting all these events is the lack of international mindedness... However, if teens from around the world were able to interact with each other in a safe environment, they would realize that they aren’t as different from each other as society makes them out to be. We all want simple things – equality, peace and joy. Adopting International Mindedness can help us teens understand each other better and even share and use each others’ ideas to create a better place. After all, we the teens are the future of this world! " ~ Ananya Mahesh, Chirec International School, USA/India
"There are about 8 billion people currently living on Earth and 195 countries. People in different countries speak different languages, wear different clothes and eat different food. In order for countries to cooperate with each other for a better life they should be able to interact with each other. This means that people should know and understand each other's cultures..... A person with an international mindset will have the ability to spread this mindset to others and prevent racism and discrimination to ultimately lead to a more peaceful world....Some people say ignorance is bliss but I think knowledge is power, and so I strongly believe teenagers should increase international mindedness to be a positive influence on a global level and lead humanity to a better world." ~ Soohyeon Ellie Kim, Queen's College Seoul, South Korea
"Celebrating different cultures fosters diversity, an appreciation I experienced having gained considerable exposure... (Teens) are apt to identify biases, challenge societal norms and push back against injustice while advocating for inclusivity adding equality which should coexist globally as well as sustainability worldwide inclusively. Dialogues bridging youths from diverse countries keep issues identified via one's exposure solved in ways applicable across borders aiming at tackling common challenges such as climate change and fighting poverty while reducing discrimination. ... cultivating international-mindedness among teenagers all over the world creates a foundation that incentivizes new leaders' races promoting not just diversity but also peace-building activities- an open door to a more conducive future by working together globally." ~ A Hansika Reddy, Indus International School, India
"...there (is) a fairly high need to increase the mindedness among my peers. I chose to say this because most teens are aware of it but don't think about it too often. Being directly confronted with the topic of water shortages, I myself already did some rudimentary research on the topic out of anticipation and got reminded just how bad it is in some countries. What surprised me most is that a lot of countries which suffer from water shortage at the moment aren’t the ones which would expect.. Because of the rising temperatures and the lack of rain, countries like Spain are at a loss, which I, to be fully transparent, didn't expect at all. Not everyone can help with this crisis, but It would be disrespectful to the people suffering to not acknowledge water shortages being a real threat." ~ Lemi Szentivanyi, Goetheschule-Essen, Germany
"...statistics show that accepting global differences depends on the country, religion, and economic development... it is important to understand different countries’ views upon it because, many countries have been overruled in the past, their expectations, social values, moral values, ethics have been reformed as a whole and therefore need to be respected... teens need to be educated on uniqueness and differences, how to remain in unity and of course, how to make out whether the internet can be justifiable with the social cause they’re addressing. But teens are prone to getting influenced and hold learnings and preaching given to them by their country’s chosen mentors, considering their history, teens should be open to differences but need not be forced." ~ Navya Tuli, Strawberry Fields High School, Chandigarh, India
Please join us in congratulating the Top Five! On Saturday, we will find out who will move on to receiving the global fellowship award (with A Tree That Grows in Tanzania), the international internship award (with Leadership Initiatives in Nigeria) and the local action leadership award (with BWB Clubs in 20+countries). The next forum challenge is here: Green Jobs and the Green Economy. UN Lifestyle and the Walt Disney Company and more are on board - how about you? We look forward to having you in our global community to make the world a better place for us all.