Student Attends Presidential Youth Inauguration Conference in Washington

As a student in an international school with a mixed background of Eastern and Western culture, seeing Barack Obama become the President of the United States, someone who also has parents from different origins, has stirred up hope in me for the changing world.

"So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled," said the 44th US President in his swearing-in ceremonial speech on January 20. I believe his election has been a great leap into a world of globalisation. Mr. Obama is a great model of a global citizen; his open-mindedness to other cultures will surely link the world.

This January, I was invited to attend the prominent Presidential Youth Inauguration Conference where altogether 15,000 students ranging from middle schools to colleges from all over the world came to Washington to witness the historic moment of the Presidential Inauguration. It was truly a memorable moment for me to stand amidst the people of the United States sharing the same hopes and expectations for America.

We were warmly welcomed at our designated base for the day, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Our excitement grew as we trailed onto the people-packed mall, and our excitement peaked as we chanted "Obama! Obama!" To be there at that moment listening to President Obama's speech was absolutely thrilling and to see so many people who were as deeply moved as I was by his words at that point will always be ingrained in my heart.

However, our excitement didn't end with the inauguration. We started the night off with an awesome Inaugural Ball at the National Air and Space Museum, dancing and listening to Chris Daughtry's live performance. In fact, the intense five-day programme was full of enriching activities including motivational speeches by Al Gore, Colin Powell, Bishop Desmond Tutu and others who shared life-changing experiences and words of wisdom with our eager young minds. Not only were their messages both inspiring and filled with hope, but they also served as a reminder to us that we all had a common goal—to contribute to the shaping of our world.

This experience has started to shape me into a global citizen and I want to learn how I can be more involved in making an impact and how I too can be a more open-minded student.

Mika Ulmet, Year 12 Student, YCIS Shanghai

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