Young Argentinians Raise Their Voices for Access to COVID-19 Vaccines
Several prominent Latin American leaders spoke during the opening of the 76th session of the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly in New York City, echoing common concerns about the unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines internationally. At the same time, young people also raised their voices within their educational processes in the continent, using the “U.N. Model” as a way of channeling their perspectives on the matter. Colegio Ward (Ward School), in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is an educational institution founded by the Evangelical Church of the Disciples of Christ in Argentina and the Methodist Church. Colegio Ward educates children and young people so that, aware of their importance and dependence on God, they can contribute to the society in which we live with ethical and Christian values. In addition, Colegio Ward fosters an education that respects and promotes human dignity and asks students to think about the circumstances that impede or hinder the exercise of that dignity. The School provides an education focused on service to the community.
Adriana Murriello, General Director of Colegio Ward, explains the U.N. project the students worked on regarding the issue of vaccines:
Our school, like others, once a year mobilizes its students with the “United Nations Model”: a pedagogical strategy that tries to emulate the deliberative and decision-making procedures of the United Nations General Assembly. This exercise is always an excellent opportunity to motivate students and challenge them with sensitive issues of world interest while making an effort to investigate and try to represent the country that corresponds to them by lottery.
This year, the theme of the Model was the problem of production, distribution, and equitable access to vaccines. We are thrilled with the result of the work completed by students ranging from 12 to 18 years old, who voluntarily chose to participate, or about 80 in total.
For the first time, the exercise was carried out in a hybrid format. Presidency table, Jury (there were awards and mentions to the students’ work), and technological support worked from Colegio Ward digital classrooms. “Country” delegations worked mostly in virtual mode.
Both Professor Murriello and this author thought that given the document’s high social and ethical content, in the freshness of the adolescent gaze, it seemed pertinent and opportune to share the Resolution approved by the “International Delegations” composed by these young advocates. Here it is:
Here are some of the voices of participants of the educational experience regarding COVID-19 and vaccines:
Carolina Rosa, year 6 (17 years old)
Ambassador of the Russian Federation and 1st Mention (per delegation), Distinction (individual)
In my opinion and to end the pandemic, all countries must work together. Although hopefully, we could be near the end of it, this should have come sooner. Therefore, the Resolution points towards a quick collaboration among all countries.
Sofía Sutton, year 2 (14 years old)
Ambassador of Morocco, 3rd Mention (per delegation)
This topic (COVID-19 and access to vaccines) was fascinating. It showed that humanity should be united and quickly find a solution to end this pandemic that affected everyone. Although this is a complex process, I think this can be achieved with effort and patience.
Máximo Malatesta, year 5 (16 years old)
Ambassador of the Republic of India, 2nd Mention (per delegation), 3rd Mention (individual, shared)
This Project helped me reinforce my conviction that we, as a species, can join forces and intellect and put aside selfishness and any partisanship to unite for a cause and succeed. There are still situations and inequities to work with. The goal is not easy, but certainly not impossible.
While politicians and world leaders struggle in countless discussions on how to navigate through COVID-19, these young Argentinian advocates put the emphasis where it should be: putting dialogue, mutual understanding, life, and solidarity as priorities for the common good.
To support Colegio Ward in their educational ministry with youth in Argentina, you can make a financial contribution through Global Ministries. Information on sending gifts to Global Ministries online, by check in the mail, or by phone can be found at www.globalministries.org/give.