(HONOLULU) — Participants of the Student Global Leadership Institute at Punahou School visited the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies July 30 to learn more about water security and cooperation.

Participants at the Institute, from four U.S. and four Chinese high schools, had been engaged in an intensive two-week schedule designed to encourage them to work together, considering social responsibility and multicultural perspectives as they approached real-world problems, such as access to vital natural resources. Water, just such a resource, was the theme they focused on, with the students aiming not only to develop solutions to water-related problems in their respective locales, but to hone the leadership skills needed to bring their ideas to fruition. 

The U.S. schools participating were Cary Academy (North Carolina), Phillips Exeter Academy (New Hampshire), Sidwell Friends School (Washington, D.C.) and Punahou School. The Chinese schools were Beijing Huiwen Middle School, High School Affiliated to Fudan University, High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China and The Second High School Attached to Beijing Normal University.

While at APCSS, the students were welcomed by Director, Lt. Gen. Ed Smith, who provided an overview of the role and mission of the Center.  They then participated in a roundtable focused on the theme of “Water and Security,” with presentations by Dr. Scott Hauger and Professor Shyam Tekwani, followed by a question and answer discussion session that included Dr. Al Oehlers, Dr. Justin Nankivell and Professor Kerry Nankivell.  

Discussion topics included resource sharing and how smaller countries can contribute to the development of international policies. In addition, the students also expressed interest in how APCSS successfully brings together security practitioners from many diverse cultures to discuss security cooperation. 

“APCSS has partnerships with other institutes which are interested in long-term capacity building and the strengthening of relationships that lead to more collaborative and cooperative potential for common good,” said Smith.  “The Student Global Leadership Institute, hosted by Punahou, has a similar mission to APCSS – developing a community of future leaders who are engaged in common global challenges – which is why it was a natural fit for us to host them for this visit.”