Internationalism Dinner 2024

by Mrs L Stefanini & Mrs M Donaldson

 

On Saturday 16 March, we were delighted to host our annual Internationalism Dinner, celebrating our diverse International community and an outlook of global-mindedness. Nearly 200 guests shared a delicious meal, with students in Year 7 to 13 and staff, representing 24 nationalities and identities. The Internationalism Dinner follows on from our recent MUN conference, in which Felsted hosted 14 schools and more that 250 delegates, representing 35 nations of the world to discuss the theme of Improving Peace & Justice as a Cornerstone of our Global Community. This theme was carried forward to our Internationalism Dinner, and we were reminded and encouraged by the MUN Secretary Generals, Elle F and Oscar T to remember that the value of sustaining our international community at Felsted is the difference that we can make in the wider world.

 


The evening was culturally diverse and great fun. Sixth Form pupils enjoyed a pre dinner reception in the BKA where Hannah P performed  ‘Sors de ma tete’ in French.  Within the meal itself, hosts Eva V and Norah L welcomed more pupils to entertain the assembled guests; Palak R performed ‘Om Shanti Om’ in Hindi and Alex TA sung ‘Alfonsina y el Mar’  in Catalan, ably accompanied by Rory C.  Will C and Luise B entertained us with games to test our international knowledge. Perhaps the two significant highlights of the night were the award of the Internationalism Prizes to Loretta S for her poem 'Together is the Answer' and Oscar T & Elle F for their inspiring speech on our dinner and MUN conference theme 'Peace and Justice'.  Their speech is printed below for you to read and digest. 

 

 



This speech was delivered by Elle F and Oscar T in their roles as MUN Secretary Generals, at the Felsted Internationalism Dinner

Hello Everyone, It's such an honour to be given this opportunity to speak to you today. Elle and I were secretary generals of this year's MUN conference where we chose the theme of peace and justice as a cornerstone of our global community.

Peace is not merely the absence of conflict; it is the presence of harmony, understanding, and respect among individuals and nations. It's the recognition that our differences need not divide us but can instead enrich our collective experience. Yet, achieving peace requires more than just lofty aspirations; it demands concerted efforts, unwavering commitment, and above all, the courage to bridge divides and build bridges of empathy and compassion.

Justice, too, lies at the heart of a peaceful society. It is the cornerstone upon which equitable societies are built, ensuring that every individual is treated fairly, irrespective of their background, beliefs, or status. Justice demands accountability for wrongdoing, protection for the vulnerable, and opportunities for all to thrive and contribute meaningfully to society.
But achieving peace and justice is not a task for the faint of heart It requires empathy – the ability to see the world through the eyes of others, to understand their struggles and aspirations, and to recognize our shared humanity in the face of our differences. For it is only through empathy that we can bridge the divides that separate us and forge bonds of solidarity that transcend borders and boundaries.


It also demands courage – the courage to confront our own biases and prejudices, the courage to stand up for what is right in the face of adversity, and the courage to extend a hand of reconciliation to those who have wronged us.


Moreover, peace and justice require action – not just words or intentions, but tangible, meaningful action that brings about real change in the lives of those who need it most. It means holding perpetrators of violence and injustice accountable for their actions, while offering a path to redemption for those willing to seek it. It means investing in education, healthcare, and economic opportunity for all, so that no one is left behind in the march towards progress.


But most importantly, achieving peace and justice in our world requires unity – a recognition that we are all in this together, bound by our common humanity and shared destiny. It means putting aside our differences and working towards a common purpose, knowing that the challenges we face are too great for any one person or nation to overcome alone.


During our conference we discussed topics not unknown to you all. We are currently witnessing 5 major wars, having caused over 10,000 deaths in the last year. Together we wish for justice and peace in Myanmar, in Palestine, in Israel, in Ukraine, in Russia, in Sudan, and across Africa with over 35 wars including Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Mali and the Republic of Congo. We also wish for peace for Haiti, Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia, Mexico and so many more.
It's difficult to believe in the fundamental goodness of humanity when we see the news and witness such injustice. There are a lot of very intelligent people in this room and I can only hope some of you can go on to have a voice in the world.

As we look out into the world today, we see a landscape scarred by conflict, injustice, and inequality. But we also see glimmers of hope – the brave activists fighting for change in their communities, the compassionate leaders working towards reconciliation and healing, and the countless individuals who refuse to give in to despair, choosing instead to believe in the possibility of a better tomorrow.

In closing, let us remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr., who said, "True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice." May we strive to create a world where peace and justice reign supreme, where every individual can live with dignity and purpose, and where the bonds that unite us are stronger than the forces that seek to divide us.