Over the course of the last few years, Felsted has taken full advantage of its status as a Round Square Global Membership School. Students have embarked on exchanges overseas; attended events; befriended other Round Square exchange students from all over the world; had the opportunity to host a regional conference; taken part in service projects; and had the possibility to attend International Conferences in a range of different countries.
This year, the International Conference was held at Emerald Heights School in Indore, India. The theme of the conference was Sarvodaya, the change we wish to see in the world, and the idea behind this was to discuss, debate and discover alternate viewpoints, with regards to invoking positive change. The Felsted delegation consisted of Hugo William-Richardson, Pierre Garino and Ben Hewett, who took it upon themselves to embrace a completely new culture and immerse themselves in one of the most intensive conference programmes to date. We also travelled with St Mary's School, Colchester, which meant we had additional adults on hand to insure an excellent level of supervision.
This was also the largest Round Square conference that has ever been held, as over 150 schools participated from more than fifty different countries. Together, students visited cultural sites such as Mandu, the Taj Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Jahaz Mahal, Hoshang Ja’s Tomb, the Darwazas, Maheshwar Fort and Hindola Mahal. They also took part in vigorous debates and workshops that were provoked by presentations from some incredible speakers such as Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Kailash Satyarthi, Dr. Shashi Tharoor (Member of the Parliament), SOPHIA (the first Robot Citizen) and Swami Gaur Gopal Das (The International Life Coach) and the awe-inspiring activist and musician Kiran Gandhi all took centre stage and presented ideas that challenged our preconceived notions of what change might look like.
In addition, students took part in team building activities, played a wide range of sports with their peers from around the world and took part in some valuable service initiatives. Service is of course one of the six Round Square IDEALS, and each student had the opportunity to work with their new friends on projects for a cancer institute, a centre for deaf people and a home for abandoned elderly people. This was followed by a 3k ‘Run for Cancer' alongside India’s first blade runner, Major D P Singh.
Regardless of what activities they were involved with, the students were challenged to work with others from different cultural backgrounds, to forge new friendships and to develop their empathy with the world around them. This was not an easy task, but I am pleased to report that our students took on the challenge with zeal and did a wonderful job of representing Felsted.