Glebe Collegiate students host PM, UN Secretary-General
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Thursday, February 11, 2016 6:22PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 11, 2016 6:30PM EST
High school students at Ottawa Glebe Collegiate got a real life lesson in world politics today.
The Prime Minister of Canada and the Secretary General of the United Nations "popped in" to answer a few questions. This was not something you see during a normal high school day. Two world leaders at your fingertips ready to answers your questions. And students made the most of it.
The two leader might have been rock stars for all the excitement they generated as they walked into the auditorium at Glebe.
“This is a great opportunity for Glebe,” said Grade 12 student Shamar Phillips, who shook Justin Trudeau’s hand as he walked by, “for all the students.”
“Trudeau? I really like him,” added Grade 12 student Caroline Paredes, “He's really handsome, by the way.”
Trudeau and Ban Ki-moon had met earlier in the day focusing on climate change, refugees and peacekeeping.
Many of the same issues the Glebe students studying world issues raised. Like Gabrialla Lall, who asked about refugees.
“How can Canada and the United Nations address xenophobia with the influx of refugees?”
It was a question Trudeau was happy to answer.
"We've understood people of different backgrounds and perspectives add to the strength of our country,” he told the students, “not take away from it.”
It was an issue near and dear to Ban Ki-moon, who told the students of his experience as a 6-year-old in war-torn Korea in the 1950’s.
“Whenever I meet refugees and displaced people,” he told the students, “it comes directly and special to me. I feel as if it was my case.”
Gabrialla Lall was particularly impressed with that answer.
“He had his own personal story of how he was a refugee and that was really interesting.”
It was the Prime Minister's office who offered Glebe Collegiate this opportunity; one clearly the students loved.
“It was like a giant mess of emotions from all sides,” says student Dylan Girard of how he felt all day.
Ban Ki-moon had a challenge for these students, to expand their vision beyond the comfortable confines of their school and their country.
“Try to extend your privilege, your rights and share with other people,” he said.
It was a challenge some students, like Miguel Fernandes, plan to take on.
“I think I’m going to start getting more engaged in my community and contributing more.”