Hartford Public High School Students Attend the 13th World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in Warsaw, Poland

Hartford Students Plan To Talk Peace With Nobel Prize Winners

The students attending the 13th World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates include Xavier Arriaga, Frankielys Quinones, Keren Torres, educators Giana Gleeson and Taylor Ives behind the sign, Kaylanie Santiago, and Yahaira Escribano.
(Monday, Oct. 14, 2013) Five students at Hartford Public High School expect to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience next week of traveling halfway across the Earth to discuss global peace and human rights with some of the world’s most prominent figures at the annual World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Warsaw, Poland.

The summit participants include former Nobel prize winners the Dalai Lama; ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev; Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa; and former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk, among others.

The opportunity was made possible through the efforts of Giana Gleeson, a Spanish and History teacher at Hartford Public High School’s Law and Government Academy, who was herself a senior in college when she attended the summit three years ago.

“This is a momentous opportunity,” said Ms. Gleeson, who came to Hartford Public High School by way of Teach for America.  “There is no doubt that the lives of these students, if able to attend, will be forever altered.”

 There is one catch, however: The students have been raising funds online since February for their travel and hotel expenses, but are still $1,200 short of the $11,500 they need for the trip. The contributions include a $1,000 donation from the office of Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. Those who wish to provide further assistance can do so by connecting to http://www.gofundme.com/3xwdzg on their browser.

“If this goes well, I’m hoping that we can develop a lasting partnership with the organizers of the summit, whereby our kids can be invited to attend every year,” Ms. Gleeson said.

The World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates was launched by Mr. Gorbachev’s foundation in 1999 as a venue for promoting international peace and human rights. In addition to the laureates, prominent global figures active in social, scientific, political and cultural arenas typically attend. Topics of discussion range from extreme poverty and managing water resources to ethics in politics and cross-cultural integration. Summit organizers anticipate that the use of chemical weapons in Syria will be a main topic of discussion this year.

The summit is hosted in a different country every year and is attended by an estimated 6,000 university and secondary students from all over the world. The only U.S. high school students at the event will be from Hartford, Ms. Gleeson said.

“The conference will have a lot of value for me because I need to learn about human rights in order to help people.” said Frankielys Quiñones, 17, a senior at the Hartford Public High School Nursing Academy whose ambition is to become a pediatric registered nurse.

Keren Torres, another senior at the Nursing Academy, said she too wants to incorporate all that she hopes to learn about human rights into the field of medicine. “The question I have for all of the world leaders is, ‘What made you sacrifice so much for people you don’t even know?’”

“I want to pick the Dalai Lama’s brain,” said Yahaira Escribano, 17, a senior at the Law and Government Academy.

The other two students who have been chosen for the trip are Xavier Arriaga, a junior, and Kaylanie Santiago, a senior, both from the Law and Government Academy.

The students were invited to attend the conference after undergoing a rigorous written and oral application process. They expect to be accompanied by two chaperons, Ms. Gleeson and Taylor Ives, a behavioral technician at the Nursing Academy.

To see the story on Fox News, click here.

From Gianna Gleeson's GoFundMe Page:

Giana Gleeson is a Spanish and History Teacher at the Law and Government Academy at Hartford Public High School in Hartford, Connecticut. Just three short years ago when she was a senior in college she was invited to attend the 11th World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in Hiroshima, Japan. As one of only four U.S. students invited to the conference, she had the honor of meeting and working with some of the most influential people and organizations in the fields of peace building and human rights. At the closing of the conference Giana teamed up with some members of the Japanese youth to deliver a Final Declaration on Behalf of the World's Youth to the Nobel Laureates. In this declaration they urged Nobel Laureates to provide the youth of the world with a clear path to participate in the conversations and activism for human rights and peace. They demanded that youth involvement is crucial to create sustainable peace for the future.
They listened.

Today, three years later, Giana is raising funds for her own students who have recently been invited to attend the 13th World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in Warsaw, Poland this coming October.

This is a momentous opportunity for the five Hartford Public High students that have been selected. They will give a voice to our city, our state, and our country. These students have demonstrated their passion for making our world safer, healthier, and more prosperous for all. There is no doubt that the lives of these students, if able to attend, will be forever altered. This opportunity will change the trajectory of each of these student's lives and, for the first time ever, will bring them outside of their city and into the movement for a safer, more peaceful world.  This opportunity is enormous, it's beautiful, it's life-changing and you could play a role in making it happen!

Read below for more specific information about the city of Hartford and the World Summits. Check the blog at hphspolandforpeace.blogspot.com.

Giana Gleeson has published a "crowd-sourcing" fundraising website to help raise funds for the trip.  You may visit it at:
Contact gleeg001@hartfordschools.org with any questions/comments!



What is the World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates?

For a few days each year, Nobel Peace Prize Laureates convene to discuss the world’s most pressing issues. From literacy and poverty to nuclear weapons and advancements in science, leaders from all over the globe come together to make sense of the status of our world. This conference is called the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. It has been heralded as the most important event in the field of peacemaking.

This year will mark the 13th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates and the emphasis on youth will be stronger than ever. The Summit has placed incredible importance on empowering youth to be active in their home communities and around the world. Students will learn about the accomplishments of the Nobel Laureates, interact with other youth from various nations around the world, and most importantly, engage in direct dialogue with the Nobel Laureates themselves. Students will also be participating in specialized workshops with various organizations and leaders where they will gain knowledge and skills in the areas of peacemaking, human rights, and global citizenship.


What is Hartford Public High School/ Hartford, Connecticut?

Hartford Public High School is the second-oldest public secondary school in the United States. Founded in 1638, it has undergone many changes over its 375 year existence. HPHS is now broken down into smaller learning communities instead of one larger high school. Still situated in the same building, HPHS offers the Law & Government Academy, the Nursing Academy, and the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology. Three students from the Law & Government Academy and two students from the Nursing Academy have been selected as the delegates on the trip.

 Giana was originally placed in the district of Hartford by Teach for America. TFA is an organization that places passionate teachers in underserved, high-poverty communities. Hartford is one of these communities. Thus, the importance of this opportunity for these kids is invaluable. After working here for the past two years she has seen how high poverty and associated circumstances can often create barriers to excellence. More importantly though, Giana has witnessed students and teachers break down these barriers to rise up towards achievement. This experience at the Summit will be one of these moments that will set a new standard for what is possible for Hartford and its students. They are amazing and deserve nothing less than this incredible experience.

Giana Gleeson with His Holiness in Hiroshima, Japan.


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