On September 20-23, 2021, Palmer Trinity School (PTS), a coeducational Episcopal day school in Miami, was one of four schools to host the Round Square International Conference 2021. Nine upper school students represented PTS as delegates: Michael Arias ‘22, Sealey Bacardi ’22, Sofia Bennett ’24, Laura Furniss-Roe ’22, Gabriella Jaar ‘22, Henry Kuemmel ’23, Maria Munilla ’22, Sofia Rocha ’23 and Isabella Sanchez-Baratto ’24. The conference was attended by more than 2,000 students representing more than 50 countries.
The conference theme was “Blue Skies, Brave Conversations” and focused on the environment and ethical leadership. Among the presenting keynote speakers were Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization; Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP; Dr. Lee Howell, former Managing Director, World Economic Forum; and Dr. Vandana Shiva food sovereignty advocate, ecofeminist and anti-globalization author of more than 20 books.
The four-day conference took place in a completely virtual, festival park campus, built on Gather, a custom digital environment that combines a gaming-style platform with video-conferencing functionality. Delegates created avatars to represent themselves and participated in games and activities by navigating their avatar to different areas of the conference campus and festival park. Activities were hosted by Round Square schools, including Palmer Trinity, and organized into different areas of the virtual park.
“Having discussions on critical topics such as climate action, identity and inclusion, while getting to know people from around the world, was really cool. We all contributed to the conversation by introducing new ideas or adding to someone else’s in a very natural and respectful way,” stated delegate Sofia Rocha.
Senior Laura Furniss-Roe added, “One of the biggest takeaways for me was being open to other people’s opinions, no matter how different they are from your own.”
Delegates and participants came away with a host of new friends as well as a toolbox of new insights and ideas to share with their respective school communities.
About Round Square:
Round Square is a global organization of 200 schools representing 50 countries from around the world. Round Square schools share a commitment to the ideals of: International Understanding, Democracy, Environmental Stewardship, Adventure, Leadership and Service. Palmer Trinity is a member school, and its Round Square student delegates travel to conferences organized by host schools in different countries. The experience often includes a home-exchange with a host school student family during the conference, cultural and environmental field trips and a service project.
About Palmer Trinity School:
Palmer Trinity School—a coeducational, Episcopal day school—is dedicated to promoting academic excellence that integrates knowledge, compassion, global citizenship, and social responsibility. Providing a supportive environment, Palmer Trinity School serves students from a broad range of socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds in grades 6-12. For more information about the school, visit www.palmertrinity.org. To follow Palmer Trinity School on Facebook, click here.