May 26, 2011—New College student Samantha Sementilli traveled to Dubai to attend the Education Without Borders 2011 (EWB 2011) conference, held March 28-31 at Dubai Men’s College. At this year’s conference, themed “Innovative Solutions to Global Challenges … Diverse Perspectives; Unified Action,” Sementilli networked with top leaders of prominent global organizations and exchanged ideas with students from around the globe. For Sementilli, the experience was life-changing.
“It was a melting pot of cultures,” she says, “It was amazing to see everyone working together.”
EWB 2011 brought together more than 1,000 international students and 100 mentors to discuss important man-made and natural issues facing the world. Topics centered around education, economics, policy, engineering and technology, new media and science.
“The connections I made with the people around the world and the exchange of knowledge were wonderful,” says Sementilli.
Sementilli, a third-year political science and international studies major, wrote a paper for the education category, which explores how cultural awareness can lead to better decision-making. At the conference, she met with Yolanda Kakabadse (president, WWF International), Robert Swan (polar explorer and environmental leader, UK), Glenn Camp (chairman, Enviro Board Corporation, USA), Andrew Malcolm (national politics commentator, LATimes.com) and Anuradha Koirala (founder of Maiti Nepal).
According to Sementilli, the most memorable moment of the conference was the opening ceremony, a visual and aural extravaganza that included a horse show, light show, fireworks and drummers. The ceremony included internationally known solo rock and sky-scraper climber Alain Robert, who scaled the exterior of the Burj Khalifa as part of the EWB 2011 in just over seven hours.
Sementilli, a New Jersey native who transferred to New College from Northwest Florida State College, heard about the conference through Ann Quinn, New College’s multicultural and transfer coordinator, who was working in Dubai at the time.
“New College offers opportunities I wouldn’t have elsewhere,” she remarks. “Going to other countries gives me real-world experience and education.”
This wasn’t Sementilli’s first time visiting the Middle East; she traveled to Israel for an Independent Study Project to facilitate her Hebrew learning. Recently, she was elected international studies representative for the New College Student Alliance. In the future, Sementilli plans to pursue humanitarian work in the Middle East.
Education Without Borders is a biennial conference with the mission “to engage students and experts from countries around the world in active dialogue about the global challenges and enable them to create and implement solutions.”
For more information on Education Without Borders, visit ewb.hct.ac.ae.