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More Alike Than Different
At the Iowa Student Global Leadership Conference, 132 Students From 53 Countries Made New Friends That Will Last a Lifetime

New friendships and cultural connections flourished as foreign exchange students from across Iowa gathered Feb. 2–3, 2018, in Des Moines for two days of fun and learning. The Stanley Foundation first organized the Iowa Student Global Leadership Conference in 1995 with the goal of fostering global citizenship.

Getting-acquainted activities set the stage for delving deeper into some global issues. This provides an appropriate environment for people from many different countries to meet and learn from each other.

The first night, students learned about each other’s cultures by sharing their countries’ traditional dress, answering trivia questions, and taking part in a speed-friending activity. They later danced to popular international tunes and recorded short, silly vignettes that were made into souvenir books.

The next day, noted speaker Dean Jacobs delivered the keynote address. Jacobs told the students he decided to fulfill his dreams of traveling the world after a terrifying, near-death experience. “It’s not the accumulation of stuff, it’s the accumulation of experiences” that’s important, Jacobs said.

The students learned about his journey to find the Seven Wonders of the World and how to apply the seven lessons he learned along the way. He challenged the students to ask themselves if they encounter each of these lessons—such as curiosity, humility, and respect—each day.

“We never let fear stop us,” Jacobs said, emphasizing that students need to “dream big, live tall, to make the world better. Dreams aren’t for special people, they’re for everyone.”

After lunch, the teens broke into small groups for student facilitator-led discussions on topics like climate change, nuclear weapons policy, education, Internet neutrality, agriculture, and poverty. They came back together to share their perspectives, many of which focused on how similar people are from around the world.

— Francie Williamson
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Courier Courier
The Spring 2018 issue of Courier highlights the issues facing Cambodian fishermen as their lakes are affected by climate change. It includes a tribute to Dick and Mary Jo Stanley, a look at UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ attempts at UN reform, and a peek at our Iowa Student Global Leadership conference.

The issue also focuses on how artificial intelligence is being integrated into military systems around the world, how sustainable farming practices can impact carbon emissions, and the cyber vulnerabilities of the world’s most dangerous weapons. Spring 2018 PDF. (1,151K) Subscribe for FREE.

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Stanley Foundation Annual Conferences Stanley Foundation Annual Conferences
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The Stanley Foundation: Part of COP23 The Stanley Foundation: Part of COP23
As a part of our efforts to limit global warming to 1.5° C, the foundation put forward policy ideas to achieve a global turning point in emissions by 2020, built upon efforts to catalyze global climate action by countries and sub- and non-state actors, and worked with journalists to strengthen coverage of the UN climate negotiations.

A Climate for Conflict: Stories from Somalia A Climate for Conflict: Stories from Somalia
The Ground Truth Project, New America, and the Stanley Foundation are hosting a Screening of “A Climate for Conflict” and discussion with the creators followed by a panel discussion on Climate Security and Societal Resilience on May 30, 2017.

Somalia today is at a crossroads between a deepening crisis and a path to stability. Photographer and filmmaker Nichole Sobecki and writer Laura Heaton spent 18 months documenting personal stories of Somalia, creating a film, photography, and reporting that vividly illustrate the human consequences and security risks of a changing climate. Read more.

Follow the conversation online with #AClimateforConflict.

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