May 11, 2022

Foro internacional de Round Square


Fuimos los anfitriones del primer día del Foro internacional de Round Square LET´S RECONNECT AMERICAS FORUM 2022 que organizamos junto al Colegio The English School y que se terminará este fin de semana. Contamos con la asistencia de aproximadamente 50 asistentes entre rectores, profesores y representantes de Round Square de diferentes países: Argentina, Bahamas, Brasil, Canadá, Chile, USA, Perú y Colombia. Uno de los momentos más significativos de nuestro encuentro fue haber contado con la participación de Juanita Goebertus, exalumna de la promoción 2002 y Representante a la Cámara por Bogotá (2018-2022) como keynote speaker con su charla A Look at Colombia from the Peace Process until Today y escuchar el emocionante discurso de Sofía Brugman que queremos compartir con todos ustedes.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are the actors of our future and the future of the world.

Sofía Brugman,  11°

Let´s Reconnect Americas Forum 2022

My journey with internationalism began five years ago. I was 12-13 years old. It started with an exchange to Blue Valley School in Costa Rica, where I spent a week getting to know another culture and enjoy a unique context while experiencing, learning, and therefore growing. Hence my journey continued. I became an official Round Square member. I hosted and befriended exchange students, giving them bites of my culture while immersing them in places that whisper our rich Colombian history. I attended summits and postcards and also became a Baraza leader for last year’s Blue Skies and Brave Conversations. Now I stand in front of you, as the Round Square Student Committee Chair of Nogales.

When I was selected to read these words, I was thrilled. I am honored to share this stage with you and to talk to you, the people who are going to eventually carry our future. So when I was invited to speak, I wanted to do my best. I want to talk to you. I want my words to be brief but meaningful. Formal yet risky. Simple but thought-provoking. To get inspired, I asked Diana for guidance. She told me that I could start by answering the following question: “How do you see Round Square in Nogales?”

I started talking to myself to see if I had anything to say that matched my brief but demanding list. And even if this question gave me a clear starting point, even if this question was of my liking, I felt that it limited me, and I didn’t quite grasp why. I just knew. I decided to start off by making another tidy list of how I see Round Square at Nogales.

I started with environmentalism. You see environmentalism in Zasqua. Or you can see leadership in 11th grade when students are part of the student council, house prefect, or members of the marching band. Or you can see service in our incredible social service program in which students go to marginalized communities to share their knowledge. Internationalism and democracy can be seen in our UN models, postcards, Round Square conferences, and exchanges. Or you can see adventure in the hiking program of the school, where we are challenged mentally and physically by a diversity of environments. However, that is not everything Nogales has to offer. This is not Nogales; it is part of Nogales, but not the whole. Even if this list answered my question of seeing, I found out why I felt that this question was limiting my answer.

As I told you, I have been in Round Square for about six years, and I have never seen Round Square. I have been in Round Square, I have been Round Square. The idea of seeing something suggests that I am from afar watching others do, others act. I like to think of this as being part of an audience in a theatre, just seeing a play. I am seeing the play, but I am not part of the play. I cannot change what the actors are doing, how the narrative develops, the sound, the music, the words used. I just passively see and wait, and I hope that the play will interest me enough to keep me hooked. Entertained, if you will. I hope that my entertainment standards will be met by others.

When we are part of Round Square, we are part of the cast. We are on the stage impacting an expecting crowd. However, there is something that differentiates Round Square from a theatre company: Round Square’s goal to also involve the expecting audience.

This is why I started thinking, in school, in class, during recess about how is Nogales Round Square? Maybe we are Round Square because when we order food in the cafeteria, we do it in a conscious manner. We know the economic, environmental, and social costs of the production of the food we consume. We know about how our Colombian ecosystem, jungles, forests, are burned to the ground to have more space for cattle to graze. We are conscious of the process that a piece of meat has been through.
I have always thought of service as helping those who are marginalized. This idea was reinforced by the way people see service: a clean hand slowly reaching an emerging dirty hand. Because the motivation behind this is that the clean hand will help the dirty get clean. At Nogales, service transcends the image of the hands. We experience service everyday: when a student is helping a fellow classmate with their homework, when someone offers to carry the tray of that one person with crutches, when someone understands the emotional needs of others and encourages them to ask for help. When we are kind; when we acknowledge the presence of others by greeting them; when we thank them. When we understand that we are part of a community, they impact us as much as we impact them.

Democracy is experienced in every class because we have spaces to listen, think, and share. During class, we build knowledge through conversation. We acknowledge all the voices that speak. Our classes are not based on debate where most of the time two sides argue in an intellectual battle to prove that they are right and their opponent is wrong. During a conversation, both sides listen to each other, and based on what they hear, they answer. Both sides are supporting and disagreeing with each other to find a solution. And even if there is a disagreement, because as humans are diverse, disagreement is essential to understand where the idea is coming from and why. Democracy goes far beyond an academic and formal context because it starts with informal conversations and interactions.

Leadership is seen in that constant drive of being part of a change, of having a latent drive: from creating game tactics during PE, assigning roles in group projects to being understanding and critical in humane ways. Being a leader at Nogales starts with venturing into the unknown and impacting our community and growing from there. Some examples are the transportation software coded by our students to calculate the location of the school bus and the student ID system to monitor attendance. Leadership is not exclusive for the older students; it is for everyone. This is what Nogales is doing. It encourages these values from a young age, so that when we grow into teens and adults, we are not able to see Round Square, but to be Round Square.

And, here, in this event, there is also internationalism. When we share what we have learned with others. When we are able to understand the role we have on a global scale and how we can contribute. It is not only about doing the extraordinary; it is about being conscious of the ordinary and acting in a sustainable and holistic manner. This way, with time and commitment, the extraordinary will become part of our reality.

This is Round Square. So as I stand here before you on this stage, I hope that with time, starting today, you will figuratively join me here to not only see Round Square but be Round Square. Because when we are, we act, and when we act, we change. Ladies and gentlemen, we are the actors of our future and the future of the world. Join me here, join us here, enjoy and learn from the forum. Here is where we discover how we act, how we think, how we change, and how we transform.

Thank you.


Sofía Brugman,  11°

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