In late April, V Form students Tenzing Kunsang '19, Carson McCoy '19, and Bilal Morsi '19 took a pause in the midst of their busy junior spring semesters to travel to Baltimore and participate in the 2018 Better Understanding for a Better World (BUBW) Conference. This annual conference is hosted by the Civilizations Exchange and Cooperation Foundation, a Maryland nonprofit organization that works to encourage cross-cultural and religious dialogue. Tenzing, Carson and Bilal spent the four-day conference immersed in interfaith and inter-cultural exchanges with high school students from around the world. Students attended from schools in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Uganda, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belgium, the Philippines, India, and Pakistan.
"The goal of BUBW Conference is to promote better understanding between Muslims and people of other faith, said Chaplain Jay Hutchinson, "and these three students were the only U.S. citizens participating in the conference." The following week, a visiting delegation of Kazakhstan imams visited St. Andrew's to observe an American high school at work.
"This conference gave Bilal, Tenzing, and me the tools we need to show people that the differences we see within society are merely walls built and sustained by the misconceptions we have of other people," said Carson McCoy '18. "At BUBW, I learned that the only way to fight injustices within our world is to break down those walls through conversations, friendships, and an open mind. The BUBW Conference ultimately allows its attendees to realize and understand that every human, regardless of their religious affiliation, culture, race, gender, or orientation strives to find peace, have hope, and feel loved."
St. Andrew's students have participated in the BUBW Conference since 2011. Former conference attendees include Mary Wilson '12, Eunice Song '14, Yousaf Khan '16, Dianna Georges '18, Samir Davis-Arrington '18, and Noor El-Baradie '19.