During the the 2016 International Conference, the Round Square President, His Majesty King Constantine, set a challenge to all assembled schools; go out and find a way to make a positive difference in the world.
His challenge was accepted by more than 80 schools around the world and in July this year, the Round Square Community gathered in Cape Town to award those who distinguished themselves in this mission. The Conference was an outstanding and inspirational event that brought together 1,127 delegates from 47 different countries. Keynote speakers included Lorne Sulcas, a former long-time game ranger and an acclaimed photographer, Caleb Swanepoel shark attack survivor and South African Adaptive Surfing Champion, and Dr William Fowlds, a renowned South African wildlife vet and rhino specialist who is passionate about wildlife conservation.
The Opening Ceremony
The conference was officially opened at the Cape Town International Convention Centre by Round Square President His Majesty King Constantine who said, “the coming together of students from different countries and cultures to learn from each other has been at the heart of Round Square since its beginning”. He asked the assembled delegates to, “make many friends, exchange ideas and learn from one another.” The Opening Ceremony was a vibrant and exciting event, with students from all three host schools performing a variety of dance, music and song. 169 schools took part in the Flag Ceremony, a Round Square tradition that marks the coming together of the Round Square community for the conference week.
The Opening Ceremony also included the announcement and presentation of the Round Square Anniversary Challenge awards. Students from St Andrew’s Senior School took home the winners trophy for ‘Commitment to Sustainability’. This was for their worthy work in preparing and providing porridge every morning to 800 disadvantaged children using funds they earned from photography ventures they ran.
Other winners included:
- Problem solving: St Paul’s Co-educational College, Hong Kong
- Inventiveness: Emerald Heights International School, Indore, India
- Tenacity: The Southport School, Queensland, Australia
- Greatest Whole School Involvement: AKS Lytham, UK
Adventure, international understanding and service
Following the Opening Ceremony, student delegates embarked on a special race. Teams raced around the Cape Town Waterfront solving challenges to reveal the location of their next check point. This scavenger hunt encouraged students to work in teams and develop problem solving and communication skills. Whilst student delegates raced around the Cape Town Waterfront, the adult delegates participated in a programme of workshops, good practice sharing presentations, regional meetings, and attended the Round Square Annual Forum.
Opportunities to develop and exercise positive intercultural teamwork and communication skills are a core component of every Round Square Conference, and RSIC2017 was no exception. Students and adults broke into Baraza Groups, with each group having its own cultural symbol and name and led by a student from one of the host schools. A term adopted by Round Square to describe workshops that involve a cross-section of delegates, ‘Baraza’ comes from an old African word meaning “the coming together of different people“.
The adventure days mixed both student and adult delegates into cross-cultural teams and offered a fantastic opportunity to see the very best that Cape Town had to offer. Delegates had the option to take part in nature hikes, mountain bike riding, surfing, kayaking and penguin encounters. All options offered amazing and breath-taking sights, including for one lucky group some impromptu whale-spotting.
The service days offered delegates the opportunity to give back to the local community in Cape Town and (in most case) get their hands dirty! Service days proved to be a rewarding mix of hard work and good fun, and for many a humbling experience. Delegates visited local communities, serving in local soup kitchens, volunteering at education centres, gardening and playing with local children.
The Student Cultural Performance held simultaneously at the three host schools was an evening of pure entertainment and a showcase of international talent. With student delegates from all five Round Square regions performing at each school, the evening celebrated the diversity of the Round Square network and each school’s rich cultural heritage in a riot of song, dance and rhythm.
We are very pleased with our students who continue to learn invaluable lessons during the St Andrew’s School, Turi service programmes and through various other charitable projects.