Dozens of young people gather in Vila-real to change the world


British School of Vila-real hosted the first edition of the SDG Youth Summit in Spain, organised by 2 Sixth Form students. 40 students from 4 schools in the Valencian Community presented their proposals to address issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals.

At British School of Vila-real, learning is at the heart of everything we do and we want to continually provide the best opportunities for our pupils and our parents. It is important to us that our pupils also experience learning outside the classroom and connect with pupils from other schools, experiencing full linguistic immersion and developing communication, leadership, and innovation skills.

Following this vision, we did not hesitate to support the innovative idea of two of our Year 12 students, Marcos O. and Sofia G-V., who have worked hard to organise the SDG Youth Summit themselves, a unique event, created by students for students, which addressed issues related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its final summit last Monday, 19 June.

Foto de familia de los alumnos participantes en el evento ‘SDG Youth Summit' celebrado en British School of Vila-real.

Family photo of the students participating in the ‘SDG Youth Summit’ event held at the British School of Vila-real.

The SDG Youth Summit kicked off a few weeks ago with an initial online session, followed by several meetings between participating groups to develop their proposals, culminating in our first student-led SDG Youth Summit.

Vila-real brought together 40 students not only from British School of Vila-real, but also from three other schools in Valencia, including British School of Valencia, Caxton College and Cambridge House College, focusing on issues such as climate change, poverty, hunger and social justice, among others.

The students developed a comprehensive business proposal that not only highlighted their creativity and innovation but also provided a practical solution to address one of the key issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The students presented their proposals in English to the other participants, teachers and a jury made up of 4 experts in the field: Santiago Luis, Director of the Dept. of Organic Chemistry at the UJI and director of the European Chemical Society; Javier Ordóñez, Professor of Economics and researcher at the Laboratory of Energy and Environmental Management at the UJI; Teresa Ros, Senior Environmental Researcher in the area of Sustainability at the Institute of Ceramic Technology of Castellón; and Alex MacDougal, teacher, coordinator of the Debate Club at British School of Vila-real and coordinator of the teams representing the European Youth Parliament.

Members of the jury and organisers of the SDG Youth Summit with Rhian Cross, Headteacher at British School of Vila-real.

After the presentation of each group, there was an open discussion round, where other groups and the jury board could ask questions and analyse the group’s proposal. Once the open discussion round was over, the judges awarded points to each team, ultimately resulting in a final winning proposal.

Winning group with the student organisers of the SDG Youth Summit.

this is your step towards helping to make the world a healthier planet. You might wonder how working together on your project helps, but your practical and well thought out proposals to resolve each of the pressing issues is a step closer to being able to achieve them. Yes, they may remain simply as proposals and ideas, but think about all you have learnt about sustainable planning for a better future, simply by being a part of this summit – the next step is to share your energy and enthusiasm with others and start to think about how you can actively raise awareness in your schools and how we can start to make a tangible impact on your futures. As many of you have commented on in your presentations – the future is in your hands and it is up to you to make sure that it is a future that you want to live in”, said Rhian Cross, head teacher of the host school British School of Vila-real, during her closing speech at the event.

Initial idea and its organisers

After regional event of the EYP all the way back in February, Marcos thought of the idea of hosting a debate tournament at school based on the Sustainable Development Goals. He asked Sofia to help him organise the potential debate shortly after and he wanted to host the event in April, anxious to meet up again with the people we met in the EYP. He was extremely eager about this idea, but we convinced him that it would take a lot more time so it would be better to hold the event in June. Sofia and Marcos began making detailed plans for the event, and wrapping their heads around what a big responsibility this was. Between exams and planning the summit they have been unbelievably busy. All this effort and dedication culminated on the 19th June in a summit that brought together dozens of young people excited about making our planet a more sustainable place to live.

Sofia represented British School of Vila-real at the recent second edition of the global TEDxYouth event organised by ISP Schools and British School of Vila-real in Vila-real, making it the first TEDxYouth Spain event in the region of Castellón, where 11 young representatives from ISP Schools in Spain shared in English topics, ideas and experiences associated with the slogan “Future Makers, World Changers”. In addition, Sofia and Marcos have participated several times in the European Youth Parliament and will represent the Valencian Community together with other students next September in Malaga in the national phase of the competition.

What are the SDGs?

The SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are a set of 17 goals established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs aim to address global challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice, and aim to create a better future for all people, societies and the planet.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a call to action for all countries to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognise that poverty eradication must go hand in hand with strategies that promote economic growth and address a range of social needs such as education, health, social protection and employment opportunities, while tackling climate change and protecting the environment. Underlying these goals is the need to Act for Our Common Future. That is the call of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint for a better world.

The 40 young people gathered at the British School of Vila-real joined this call reaffirming that we don’t have to wait for the future we want: we can create it now. We can all join the global movement for change.