“Mr. Møller’s message to us is a call to action. As citizens of the world and leaders of the future, we have a collective responsibility to address the issues of peace, sustainable development, and human rights facing our world today.”
– Read my latest article for the Stanford Political Journal, on UN Director-General Michael Møller’s call for us to embrace our collective responsibility
As I sat amongst 500 enthusiastic, eager, and immensely talented students in Warwick University’s Ramphal Lecture Theatre, I couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that just a mere day or two ago I had been slaving over midterm examinations back at Stanford, fearing that I would miss my flight to London as I rushed back to my dorm to pack and then catch an Uber to SFO. There’s something about travelling and crossing time zones (…or probably just the effects of jet lag) that makes it seem like you’re living in two disparate worlds.
When one of my closest friends from high school, Manisha, messaged me late last year about the possibility of arranging a Stanford delegation to attend the Warwick Economics Summit in the UK, I didn’t quite believe I would actually be able to carry through with it – arrange a group of Stanford students to go to a conference in the UK, in the middle of the school year? It seemed a little far fetched, given Stanford’s intensely hectic quarter system, not to mention the issues of distance/cost.
But happen it did, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
A week in the UK not only afforded me the opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussions about economic, political, and social issues facing our world today, but also gave me something arguably just as valuable – it allowed me to witness the incredible drive and passion of the students at Warwick University. I have no words for the level of professionality, efficiency, and commitment that the student organisers of the Warwick Economics Summit displayed. It’s hard to believe that the summit was entirely student organised: arranging for the organisation and accommodation of 500 students; inviting renowned economists, politicians, and Nobel Laureates to speak and lead seminars at the conference; sorting out the finances of such a large-scale event… Needless to say, I was impressed. It made me wonder why Stanford lacked something similar, given our incredible Economics faculty (let’s face it, we could probably hold a conference solely with Stanford professors as lecturers, and people would still come), and highly motivated student population.
Truly some food for thought – perhaps this is something we can consider for the future.
Hearing speakers like Jean-François Copé, Former budget minister of France about the political and economic answers to populism in Europe, and former Italian PM Enrico Letta on the future of the EU, exposed me to issues of European politics and economics that are discussed much less frequently here in the U.S. But most valuable of all was meeting students from all around Europe and the world – it was incredibly humbling and exciting to meet so many like-minded people. It’s refreshing to see so many politics and economics junkies in one place; especially since Stanford is more computer-science oriented (although we do have a very diverse cohort of students), there really isn’t as big of a economics/finance/politics career-oriented focus here. That’s perfectly fine, but it was lovely (and somewhat heart-wrenching) to see what university life could’ve been like had I chosen to go to the UK instead.
Of course, it wasn’t all work. Seeing Manisha again was absolutely wonderful, and I’m positive that we’ll be up to even more exciting things in the future! Manisha is possibly one of the most motivated and inspiring people I have ever had the fortune to meet, and I look forward so much to seeing her achieve even more incredible things in the future. I also stayed with my bloop Alex in London (she’s studying at Imperial College!) and had a lovely time with her munching on eclairs, celebrating Chinese New Year, and visiting impressionist exhibitions – the Monet exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London is a must-see for all impressionist lovers!
Ah, to think all that was a month ago.
Strange, bitter-sweet nostalgia besieges me as I sit here next to the windowsill, the pattering of the raindrops harkening back memories of cold, windy England. Rain isn’t quite characteristic of the dry, sunny climate of the Bay area, so I guess complaint is hardly warranted. A silent moment of reflection, and a small smile in remembrance of one of the most fulfilling and fascinating weeks of my college life —
And then it’s back to the grind.