Academics News

Thinking globally, acting locally

Posted on September 15, 2016 by Julie Funasaki Yuen

Three Mid-Pacific seniors traveled to Hyderabad, India in July to attend the Student Global Leadership Institute hosted for the first time by the Oakridge International School. The institute brings students together from all over the world to collaborate and develop innovative solutions to common global challenges. The theme of the first Student Global Leadership Institute in India was "conservation." All participating students were tasked with developing conservation-related projects and implementing these ideas in their local communities after returning home. Mid-Pacific seniors Elena Cordova, Malia Walsh, and Richard Winter participated in the two week-long program and were chaperoned by Student Assistance Program Counselor Cathy Ching. The trip was made possible through a generous donation from a Mid-Pacific alum.

Together with students from all over India and a small delegation from Hawaii, the Mid-Pacific students participated in excursions designed to inspire conservation ideas. They visited one of Hyderabad's many lakes where restoration efforts are underway to restore wildlife back to areas affected by deforestation. The students also toured Hindu and Muslim neighborhoods in Hyderabad, visited tombs and mosques, and learned about the culture of the city best known as a modern technology hub.


Mid-Pacific seniors Elena Cordova and Malia Walsh visit a lake in Hyderabad, India where restoration efforts are underway to restore wildlife.

Following the excursions, the students worked together in teams to develop ideas centered on the topic of conservation, and presented their projects at the end of the program.

"Oakridge Student Global Leadership Institute provided us with a network of friends from all over the world," said Richard Winter. "It provided us with a hands-on experience with local (Hyderabad) problems far from our own. More importantly, it provided local solutions that may be applicable in O'ahu."

Elena Cordova commented, "We tackled conservation issues, some uniquely local, most universal. Not only did we experience conservation from an entirely new perspective, we made amazing friendships with the students at Oakridge International and took home with us valuable cultural insights that helped shape my perception of culture and its conservation around the world."


Mid-Pacific senior Elena Cordova discussing conservation ideas with students at Oakridge International School in Hyderabad, India.

Cordova, Walsh and Winter plan to create a traditional Native Hawaiian plant garden on the Mid-Pacific campus near the elementary school for the purpose of preserving native plants and the Hawaiian culture, as well as exploring medicinal alternatives to current pharmaceutical industry practices. The Mid-Pacific students presented their project idea at the recent IUCN World Conservation Congress held at the Hawaii Convention Center this September. They also plan to discuss the garden with Mid-Pacific elementary school students upon its completion.


Richard Winder, Elena Cordova and Malia Walsh discuss their participation in the Student Global Leadership Institute in India at the IUCN World Conservation Congress at the Hawaii Convention Center this September.