Senior Katelyn Souza designed the ICGL poster highlighting water’s abstract features and impact on life. PHOTO: Katelyn Souza

For the 2023-2024 school year, the Isdell Center for Global Leadership (ICGL) has chosen to focus on the theme of Water. ICGL was founded at Pace in 2014 and strives to build off of the school’s mission of “creating prepared, confident citizens of the world” and build global insight and leadership skills among students and faculty in Lower, Middle, and Upper School.  

“The ICGL team, Neville Isdell, Fred Assaf and the ICGL Advisory Board were all a part of creating the nine annual global themes: Water, Food, Climate, Conservation, Energy, Waste, Education, Global Health and Technology. Since the beginning, there has been an ICGL Advisory Board made up of both a Board of Trustees member and parents who are in lines of work that align with the theme and have global connections to advance our program. All of the themes that we have chosen are huge topics and also connect in some aspect to all of the previous themes. The reason we chose to cycle back was that if you just keep going, your themes become less universal, and really there is no end in sight and so the faculty and students can continue to build on that theme when it arises again with a new perspective,” said Director of ICGL Trish Anderson. 

The ICGL Council is composed of 15 students in grades ninth through twelfth who explore the annual theme in depth and develop presentations, discussions and events around their research to share with the Pace community. The council is approaching water through the lens of three essential questions: how does water impact and shape living, how does human use and consumption of water impact those systems and how do we conserve water and develop sustainable practices for the future? The ICGL Scholars, an independent study course, comprises four students: Asher Lubin, Emma Lowry, Uma Graz and Mary Oyefuga. These scholars throughout the summer read two books titled Chasing Waters and The Brilliant Abyss to unpack issues involving ocean and freshwater systems. The ICGL Scholars serve as global leaders in the Pace community and help bridge the entire school with current affairs surrounding the annual theme.

Ted Ward, Associate Director of ICGL and US History teacher, hopes students take away one key focus around the theme of Water: “I really want students to understand the power of water. It is vital to our existence. It’s hard because we are in an environment where we’re not really exposed to it a lot. I want them to understand our impact on local waterways and how we can change the way we undermine water and make a more sustainable mark.”

During the year, students can engage with the annual theme through community and global partnerships. Pace is collaborating with two particular partnerships: The Chattahoochee River Keeper (CRK) and the Atlanta Creek League (ACL). The CRK is a program that monitors water quality levels through their Water Watch Program, and also organizes river cleanups. The ACL promotes connection with our local creek systems through cleanups and trail walks. 

“This year, I hope Pace Academy students can better conserve water and become more aware of its importance. I hope that I can develop skills to help me gain an understanding of any global issue and to be able to help educate others on those issues,” said senior ICGL Scholar Asher Lubin. 

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