Students spend time with global peacekeepers

Santa Catalina School students had a unique opportunity to interact with international peacekeepers and defense personnel who were in Monterey for a special two-week course on women, leadership, and national security.

The occasion was made possible thanks to Catalina’s relationship with the nearby Naval Postgraduate School, which hosted the delegates through the Department of Defense’s Institute for Security Governance (ISG). The group of 29 delegates, representing 23 different nations, participated in an exercise on Catalina’s campus and later enjoyed dinner with global education students and other student leaders.

At the dinner, each student was paired with a member of the visiting group. The intimate atmosphere allowed these students to make extraordinary connections with global leaders and to learn from their journeys, both personal and professional.

Ellesia '24 sat at a table with women from Botswana, El Salvador, and Indonesia. She described them as hilarious, sweet, thoughtful, and fascinating. "Sharing one common meal from 23 unique perspectives was the experience of a lifetime," she said. "Over the course of the night, we smiled, cried, and formed unforgettable bonds as we laughed over how spoiled dogs are in the United States. The passion and energy that drove discussions at each table was eye opening, and my fellow global leaders and I have gained new perspectives on issues affecting people around the world. Connecting with like-minded women who have experienced such different lives from all of us has awakened us to a higher appreciation for the opportunities we are inspired to take on in our daily lives."

The ISG course supports a United Nations resolution to increase women’s representation in decision-making positions at security and defense institutions. The inclusion of women in these roles promises to yield more diverse perspectives on how to address national security challenges, resulting in more effective responses to those challenges.

Course participants included 25 women and four men from countries in Central America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean.

Peacekeepers and students sit around a table in the dining room.

Ellesia, left, with her table mates.

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