Culture Vulture, August 10, 2011
From Argentina to China, they have come to Santa Fe
Thirty two young people from 14 countries on five continents have come to Santa Fe this week for a Global Leadership Forum. They are all 10th and 11th graders (in China they are gaoyi and gaoer) who are interested in preparing for an increasingly global society. Their current schools and the universities they will eventually attend are more globally connected than ever before and these young people have an interest in the complex issues of globalization, including environmental sustainability, issues of war and peace and diplomacy.
Miss Thea and I are privileged to be hosts for Chinese student Bὶ zhὶ qing, whose American name is Lucille.
Lucille is from Hong Kong. I say “from” because, 15, she is quite a world traveler. She has three passports: Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom. She is currently a student at a boarding school in the UK and is here in New Mexico for close to three weeks as part of the program organized by United World College in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Known as United World College USA, UWC at the Montezuma Castle in Las Vegas is one of 13 United World Colleges worldwide – the first being Atlantic College in Wales.
The northern New Mexico program is the brainchild of John Braman, a Santa Fean who has spent his entire career working on programs dedicated to mentoring youth. John views these young people as the hope of tomorrow, as well he should. In this very difficult time in our world, one can easily become disheartened by war, poverty, starvation and the ongoing worldwide financial crisis. The one hour I spent with these extraordinary young people last evening at the welcoming reception has given me great hope for our future as a species. I know each of these teenagers (ages 15 and 16) are viewed by John and those running the program as leaders of tomorrow. It is clear they are already leaders – needing only time, education and maturity before they make significant contributions to their communities and society as a whole.
They have already had a busy schedule, with much more ahead for each of them. They began with one week at the Las Vegas, New Mexico campus of UWC-USA. For last evening’s gathering they were welcomed to Santa Fe with a wonderful ceremony of thankfulness and honoring by Stephen Fadden from the Institute for American Indian Arts. Steven spoke in his native Mohawk language before translating his message of hope for these young people – telling also a traditional story about the Courting Flute he played for them. The flute song and the legend of its origin were in perfect harmony with the ravishing Santa Fe sunset that seemed perfectly matched to the legend’s story of young people in a courting ritual at sunset. These teenagers, last evening, seemed to be courting their futures.
This morning I will deliver Lucille to Warehouse 21 for the start of the Santa Fe portion of the program. During the week, she and the others will be at W21, the Santa Fe Complex, the IAIA Campus and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum before heading off to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu for a few days and the conclusion of the program. I am so looking forward to Bὶ zhὶ qing’s return home to us this evening.