HUMANS OF ISP: The People in our Community

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Changemaking at ISP: A Conversation with Robert, Secretary General of ISPMUN

Get ready to be inspired as we hear from Robert, an ambitious Grade 12 student, changemaker and Secretary General of ISPMUN. Robert has spent 7 years at ISP and is involved in leading various initiatives at school like the Fitness club, the MUN (Model United Nations) club, and most recently has organised our first-ever ISPMUN 2023 conference.

Hi Robert! Thanks for being here today and congratulations on the success of the ISPMUN conference! Can you tell us more about your journey with MUN and what inspired you to want to organise a conference?

Ever since attending my first MUN conference, I’ve wanted to organise a conference, however, I only solidified the idea after attending MUNISH (quoted in the Learning@ ISP). I first pitched the idea to the previous MUN leadership team but wasn’t able to unite a team until this year.

My vision was to lay the groundwork for our very own conference and for it to become the most memorable conference in the Czech Republic.

I’ve learned many lessons from the organisation of ISPMUN, from managing communication with administration and sponsors to helping provide the resources for the team to succeed.

However, the most valuable lesson that I’ve learned from organising ISPMUN is the importance of the people. You can have the nicest podium, a high-tech website, and an overall perfectly organised conference, but without the people, all the effort is but materialistic things. I’ve learned to never forget about others and never try to do everything alone.

I found that if you feel as though you aren’t able to achieve what you desire with those currently around you must try to find others sharing your dream. 

Wow, that sounds like a transformative experience. Can you tell us how your involvement with MUN relates to your academic interests?

My academic interest is in industrial engineering, and more specifically, management sciences and engineering.

Through my studies, I hope to learn more about leading others and possibly starting my own organisation centred around creating sustainable modular housing. The diplomacy and public speaking skills that MUN garners will be quintessential to my presentations and execution of new initiatives.

Additionally, the skills I have gained by being in leadership positions in MUN, from leading the club and organising a conference to leading our delegation to diverse conferences, even serving as the chair in some, will also aid in my ability to be a more supportive and candid leader that will allow the team to develop.

What sparked your interest in modular housing, and how do you want to pursue that?

My primary goal after ISP is to complete my studies at university, but then I’d like to either launch my own start-up or join an organisation where I can explore the field of sustainable modular housing. I think there is the potential to significantly reduce the carbon emissions coming from the real estate industry, thereby affecting positive change in the realm of global warming. Also, as many of my potential universities are located in Miami and California, finding a way to sustainably address the housing crisis will help pave a new path within the real estate industry that can reform the norms. 

Sounds like you have found a way to leverage your leadership skills with your academic interests and your desire to bring about positive change.  Is there any one experience at ISP that has helped you cultivate this changemaker attitude?

I would say that ISP is unique in the way it cultivates changemakers. Unlike other institutions, we, as students, aren’t forced to take on leadership roles; rather, we are provided with opportunities where we can exemplify our values and grow as learners. The most recent experience that has helped me adopt a more changemaker attitude is organising ISPMUN.  Throughout the organisational journey,  I reflected a lot on my development as both a learner and a leader. At all times, I was pushed to my limits, either from managing communications to making sure all requirements and requests were met, however, I persevered.  I learned extremely valuable lessons in leading a team and how to support a team to perform at its best.

I also realised that even something as grand as organising a whole MUN conference is possible with work and dedication.  If you told 9th-grade Robert that he would be the Secretary General of ISPMUN, first he would have asked what that is, and then he wouldn’t have believed it could be a possibility.

This dedication to MUN has fostered my self-discipline and has helped me adopt other roles such as being the social media manager and distribution coordinator at Friendship Prague. It has also allowed me to succeed in IB with 4 HL (higher level classes) while getting scores of 7’s. The idea of being able to achieve a predicted 45 on my DP would not have been a thought that would’ve crossed my mind in the past but now I see it as simply a result of my efforts.  If there is one thing I’ve learned throughout the past couple of years it is that as long as you take part in all the opportunities you are exposed to, you can achieve extraordinary things.  All I can do is work hard and constantly strive to improve myself and my surrounding communities.

Thank you so much, Robert.  Any closing thoughts that you’d like to share with us? 

I want to first thank you for having me, and I also want to say that ISP was my first International School and is also my favourite, as I consider it my second home.  I can’t express my gratitude enough for having the privilege of attending ISP. From our community to our incredible curriculum, ISP is truly the greatest place I’ve ever seen for the development of learners into changemakers. Thank you once again.