3 ready to influence world

New grads off to GYLC

Imagine being 17 and having the world put on your plate.

GYLC graduates

From left, Young Caymanian scholars Anthony Watler, Arikka Ebanks and Jeremy OSullivan prepare to go on the trip of a lifetime as they attend the Global Young Leadership Conference. Photo: Anna Wootton

Just think of the opportunity to meet heads of state and interact with them on policy issues and peace.

Three bright, young Caymanians will get the chance to do exactly that when they leave the rock of Grand Cayman Friday to fly to the Global Young Leaders Conference.

GYLC is a leadership development conference that takes place in Washington, DC, and New York, US; Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; and Prague in the Czech Republic.

Arikka Ebanks, Jeremy O’Sullivan and Anthony Watler, 17-year old recent graduates of John Gray High School, will represent the Cayman Islands at the conference.

The theme of this year’s conference is The Leaders of Tomorrow Preparing for the Global Challenges and Responsibilities of the Future.

The conference will host many exciting opportunities for the students, said Jeremy.

‘Different world leaders will be coming to talk to us,’ he explained.

‘We’ll be discussing things about peace and world issues as a whole, and we’ll be introduced to many different world leaders,’ added Arikka.

The meetings with these leaders and newsmakers will be interactive, allowing students to engage in dialogue with these guests, whose influences affect politics, finance, culture and diplomacy.

The conference will take place in various forms, through leadership summits, exercises and meetings, among other initiatives.

The GYLC seems the perfect channel for breeding the next generation of political scientists, and Arikka admitted to having considered this future.

‘I want to go into corporate law, but I’ve thought that perhaps after retiring from law I’d love to go into political science,’ she said.

Jeremy and Anthony have other, though equally ambitious, career ideas.

‘I want to go into accounting,’ explained Anthony, whereas Jeremy stated he aimed to work in computer science and networking.

‘I also want to study culinary arts, at some point, though,’ he added.

Of course, the GYLC will be an ideal opportunity for the students to learn more about world issues; however the prospect of global travel is also an appealing aspect of the trip.

‘Being in Europe will be amazing,’ said Jeremy. ‘I don’t know much about Prague and Budapest, but I can’t wait to go to Vienna. It’s supposed to be a fantastic city.’

‘A friend of mine just came back from Prague,’ added Arikka excitedly. ‘She showed me all these pictures; I’m very excited to go.’

‘Just walking around and eating the food will be fantastic!’ Anthony said, touching on a topic that many who travel in Europe will be familiar with – the wonderful food.

Each student would not have been able to participate in the conference without the support of their sponsors, however.

Arikka was sponsored by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority; Jeremy by Cable and Wireless and Anthony by Deloitte and Touche and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Arikka has further travel plans after the conference as well. In August, she will be leaving to attend the Li Po Chun United World College in Hong Kong for two years.

‘I am really, really excited about going to this college,’ she said. ‘I want to learn Chinese as well!’

With such bright opportunities ahead, these young Caymanians are certain to prove an inspiration to students following in their footsteps.

‘We got into the conference by being nominated,’ Arikka explained.

‘Students who attended the conference the year before nominated us, and Mr. Eustace Francis, a teacher at JGHS, also nominated me. When we get back, we will do the same.’

This nomination method should serve as encouragement for future students to work on their leadership skills so that they may be given the same opportunities as Jeremy, Arikka and Anthony.

The three students depart this Friday for the conference, which will last two weeks.

‘We’ll all be staying together, so we’ll have fun,’ Anthony said.

‘The conference is there to educate us in world issues,’ stated Jeremy. ‘I’m looking forward to it.’