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CedarBridge students at UN conference

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CedarBridge Academy students visited New York to take part in the United Nations International Schools Conference

Kasia Burgess-Bean wrote this article to summarise the trip:

This past week I had the amazing opportunity of being invited to the United Nations International Schools Conference in Manhattan, New York City.

The themes of this year’s conference were “Artificial Intelligence: Will it have a destructive effect on society?” and “Is security more important than privacy?”

Artificial intelligence is the theory and development of computer systems to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence and performance. We can see its influence today in many aspects of our lives and in the development of new technology, including robots that can perform automated tasks. The question posed to us, as young adults, is to what extent our world should prevent this from occurring, and will artificial Intelligence overcome our lives and the generations to come?

The UN conference was attended by hundreds of students from around the world, and I had the opportunity to meet many of them in the workshops and social events that were held. The conference also introduced the students to many inspirational guest speakers whom I admired very much. One speaker whom I enjoyed hearing in particular was Professor Maha Aziz, a part time lecturer at the New York University Graduate school of Art and Science. Professor Aziz is also a cartoonist who created a comic book called “The Global Kid”, which focuses on various global political topics. This work also won the 2016 Wonder Woman Award.

The conference also provided students with the opportunity to develop their analytical and debating skills and to understand how the UN really works. While discussing the topics, one person from each country or continent was invited to speak and explain why their countries would vote for or against a particular motion. Participating in the conference really brought me out of my comfort zone, by encouraging me to interact with students from different countries around the world, but it also enabled me to make new friends from countries like Japan and China.

My experience being part of the United Nations International Schools Conference was an unforgettable one and I would certainly do it again. I would encourage other students that have the opportunity to attend next year to go for it, as it will encourage them to grow and realise that there is a big world out there and we are all part of it.