The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

GIN organizers improvise when first keynote speaker is a no-show


The organizers of the Globals Issues Network (GIN) conference had to scramble on Monday morning when scheduled keynote speaker Josephine Kennedy of World Learning failed to show up for her speech.

Kennedy was scheduled to give a presentation at 9:30 AM at George Washington University’s Funger Hall, but she didn’t make it and wouldn’t answer her phone, causing the conference organizers to be forced to make a quick decision on what to do instead.

“Apparently what happened is she wrote the date wrong on her calendar and she booked herself for another event on the same day,” GIN organizer and WIS senior Phoebe Thomas said.

Kennedy’s non-appearance was simply an unfortunate mistake.

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“She was very apologetic when she finally called back, and she might be coming to WIS to do something to make up for it,” Thomas said.

Kennedy is the Director of Global Education at World Learning, an organization that helps improve education all around the world.

To buy time, the organizers decided to send everybody to their Global Villages, which were scheduled to happen right after Kennedy’s keynote. While everybody was in their Global Villages, the GIN organizers met to come up with a solution.

“The good thing here was that pretty much everyone has something to say,” said Thomas, “so we took [the students’] presentations that were ready and we put them in.”

All of the conference attendees gathered in the auditorium to listen to two student presentations. The first one was a presentation by a student discussing the HPV epidemic and the importance of HPV vaccinations. The next presentation was by School Without Walls student Cooper Ellenbogen about the rise of cryptocurrency and bitcoin.

“Both of the students who presented were from School Without Walls,” said Walls senior and organizer Agustin Pereira, “I know them personally, I know they’re great public speakers, and I think the crowd really enjoyed them.”

The first presentation about HPV ended with an intense game of Kahoot with over 100 participants. The crowd was extremely engaged in the presentations, despite the inconvenience of the canceled keynote presentation.

“Getting your voice heard is a big part of what we do here at Global Issues Network,” said Pereira, “and if there are students who are willing to come up and present, we feel like that is a good way for them to portray the issues they want to talk about.”

By Saul Pink

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