HISD students earn study abroad scholarships during inaugural Global Issues Summit

Two HISD students earned study abroad scholarships after delivering inspiring speeches during the district’s inaugural virtual HISD Global Issues Summit and speech competition.

Ritika Gupta, an eighth-grader at Lanier Middle School gave a passionate speech about gender equality, and Nusaibah Arif, a junior at Sharpstown International High School, showcased Houston’s diversity by delivering her speech in Bengali about the Bengali Language Movement. These two students will receive a full scholarship to study abroad – when global travel safely resumes – from HISD Abroad partners, The Puranik Foundation and Amigos de las Américas.

The two HISD students had their voices amplified by UNICEF USA, who announced the winners and included their speeches in an article published on the UNICEF USA website.

The first of its kind event was hosted by HISD students Van Nguyen and Boris Mejia, seniors from HISD’s Houston Academy of International Studies. The event was designed to increase the global competency of Houston students by creating international youth exchanges aimed at disadvantaged demographics in Houston. The summit gave HISD students a platform to exchange their views on the connection between global issues and their local communities.

Student hosts, Van Nguyen and Boris Mejia broadcast live from Skyline Displays headquarters.

HISD students as young as thirteen-years-old gave speeches on women’s rights, climate change, wealth disparity, and other global issues related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Their words traveled across the world, reaching students and teachers residing in 22 different countries and 66 different school districts that participated in the Summit.

Each of the student speeches given at the HISD Global Issues Summit will be included in UNICEF’s #CreateForUNICEF initiative, and the two speech competition winners have been selected to participate in the HYOUston DiverCity Fest by UNICEF.