The 2019 Beijing Model G20 Summit Recap

by | Mar 29, 2019 | Model G20

“I miss you all so much! I can’t wait to come back. I love every one of you.” 

This hardly seems like something a girl who just got back from a rigorous academic program would say, but the Model G20 Summit by Knovva Academy isn’t any ordinary educational program.

The Model G20 Summit in Beijing was the first of the 2019 series of programs giving teens an immersive experiential learning experience.  At the summit, after completing both in-person and online courses, they simulate being national leaders at a G20 summit with peers from around the world.

“This was by far the largest program we’ve ever run and the first time we ventured out of the United States with it. We also had some of the strongest academic leaders ever on hand for the summit,” said Patricia Lozada, Model G20 President and International Relations manager at Knovva Academy. 

The Model G20, or MG20, lets teens experience how global policies are made, navigate international relations, and build core 21st-century skills that future employers and colleges want. Each summit features a new headlining topic that students will unpack through lectures, site visits, and featured speakers.

The Beijing Summit focused on ‘Smart Cities and Global Innovation,’ an apt topic given China’s rapid development of infrastructure and smart technologies, as well as its impact on the world economy.

“China was a great opportunity to open our student’s eyes to cultural differences and discuss how technology and rapid urban growth can develop in a country with such an historic backbone,” said Jedd Cohen, Lead Academic Designer for Summits at Knovva Academy.

In Beijing, around 300 top students from all points of the globe were able to work together with their peers to learn how to change the world despite cultural differences. “I certainly think they were excited to interact with kids from different countries to learn about their differences, sure but also their similarities,” said Cohen.

With structured days planned by Ivy League educators, the program was filled with activities, lessons, and sightseeing excursions. By the end of the program, the respect, admiration , and understanding each student had gained for their international peers was borderless.  

During a portion of the program, one student realized the impact of his current position as he explored China with his peers.  “As we were hanging out and walking around, it just hit me that I was in an underground mall in China with friends from Egypt, the UK, and Australia. And I thought how often do I get an opportunity like this!” said the All Saints Episcopal School sophomore Sebastian Whitaker in a recent interview.  

On the first official day of the program, students toured the Forbidden City and got to know each other a bit better in the process. The day also featured guest speakers Swan Lu, the Goldman Sachs Global Leadership Award and HSBC Young Entrepreneur Award recipient, and Ryota Tsuchiya. Ryota is a member of the organizing team for the 2019 Youth 20 and was able to talk about his experiences in both Japan and as a Y20 leader. 

The second day of the 2019 Model G20 Summit served as an introduction to the systems and structures of the G20. With workshops in cross-cultural communication and strategic thinking, and a keynote from author and American city planner Jeff Speck, students were well on their way to becoming summit leaders!

Day three of the Model G20 Summit Beijing was all about diplomatic performance. Students participated in workshops on public speaking, speech writing, and negotiation–all critical skills that students needed to harness for the summit portion of the program. Workshops were lead by some of the top educators from around the globe, giving students privileged access to some of the world’s greatest minds.

Day four marked the official start of the simulation portion of the program. All the lessons and skills cultivated since day one were put into action as students worked to negotiate deals and alliances with persuasive opening remarks and analytical findings! The students-turned-world-leaders networked over lunch and continued the day with Country Strategy Sessions and Ministerial Working Groups.

On day five of the MG20, students continued with the simulation portion of the program. Activities included academic warm-ups, country strategy sessions, Ministerial Working Groups, and keynotes from esteemed guests Jeff Speck, Marcelo Scaglione, and Ginny Greiman. Prior to entering academia, Greiman served as international legal counsel to the US Department of State, the US Agency for International Development, and the World Bank in Eastern and Central Europe, Asia, and Africa on privatization, infrastructure development, and legal reform projects.

Day six brought the summit portion of this amazing program to a close. The award ceremony was a celebration of all the hard work these students put into the program and, while not every team could win the grand prize, the rewards of Beijing’s 2019 Model G20 Summit will surely last a lifetime for every student. Click here to see the complete list of winners!

Even through the program has been over for more than a month, the chat group with nearly 300 students is still as active as ever. Former delegates continue to update each other with messages daily. Recently, a student made the exciting announcement that he was accepted into MIT. While not as substantial as a university acceptance, other messages are just sweet reminders of the bond these students shared at for eight days in Beijing, China. “I can’t wait to see you all again in Boston,” said one student to her international friends.

If you’re a student who’d like to attend or a parent or teacher who’d like to nominate students for the Boston Model G20 summit this July, you can start the registration process below!

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