Students Reflect on the 2019 Teach For All Global Conference

Among the over 450 attendees at the 2019 Teach For All Global Conference were 20 students from across the globe, including 10 from the conference's host country, Armenia. Throughout the event, students of Teach For Armenia fellows and alumni presented at plenaries, participated in sessions and workshops, and in one case, interviewed Armenia's Prime Minister in front of an audience of hundreds. The adults in attendance were inspired, enlightened, and very impressed by the Armenian students and their peers from countries around the world, whose voices and perspectives were critical to an authentic exploration of the conference's theme: "How can we prepare students to shape a changing world?" 

The following are excerpts from reflections shared by three Teach For Armenia students who participated in the Global Conference:

During those incredible five days, when I saw 500 members of the network from 80 countries, I realized that our future is going to get better and better. I had the chance to create intercultural relationships, feel comfortable in an interconnected community, and to share my vision about education. I learnt that diversity and learning from each other's story says it all. I realized that to not to only be a student, but also problem solver, you need knowledge and the skills to act on that knowledge and overcome difficulties for better tomorrow. I met many educators and had deep conversations about the problems that I care about.  Some of them recommended important books, some of them saw me as a future teacher, and I started to push myself to share my ideas with more confidence. On the last day, we heard stories from all over the world, and I learned how others have started to answer educational questions that are important to me, as a student, in their countries. Sometimes you have many ideas , but you can't truly explain or express them. The Global Conference helped me to understand where I want to be, who I want to be, and what my role is in education.

— Inesa Zohrabyan, 16, Arteni Secondary School

I can surely say that this conference changed my scope of mind. As a student, it was unbelievable when adults from different countries told me that I had changed their life. Some of them shared my opinions with the others, and it was really inspiring. During the conference I understood that I was in the right place in the right time, and one of the most important things I realised was that my voice can be heard if I really want it to. During the Hackathon [our group] had different opinions about our topic, but as we created our poster we understood that each of us was right, we were just looking at the problems from different sides. I learned that language doesn't have to be a barrier for understanding each other—we were from different parts of the world but we understood each other very well.  I became acquainted with a lot of amazing  people. They inspired me. They changed my life. And I believe that with the help of good relationships we can change the world.

— Burastan Grigoryan, 17, Yerevan State Linguistic University 

The Global Conference was a really great experience for me, an intercultural experience to learn about the educational problems in other countries and understand their importance. It was very interesting to work on the Hackathon, where [students] spent more than seven hours working together with people who occupy high positions in the field of education. I believe that there are people in this world who are ready to help and support us in order to make the world a better place and achieve our goals, despite their position.

— Edik Nazaryan, 16, Stepanavan High School

We'll continue to share student reflections on the 2019 Global Conference in the coming weeks. For more stories from students across the network, visit our Student Voices Medium blog.