This week, more than 40 students from King’s High School’s business class participated in a mock International Economic Summit sponsored by Boise State University. The Summit corresponds with International Trade Day, when countries worldwide examine how political and economic changes impact their trade agreements.
Each year, the Summit teaches a variety of skills to more than 20,000 high school students and some college students around the country. King’s High School Business Teacher Marian Morris, says “It’s a great opportunity that teaches micro and macro-economics in a fun way that engages the students.” Other skills taught include finance, technology, creativity, teamwork, problem solving, writing, speaking, debate and design.
“For me, the summit was a fantastic learning experience that challenged my time management, financial, and team building skills to help shape my abilities to effectively and efficiently improve GDP and quality of life for countries around the world,” said King’s Freshman, Noah Parnell representing New Zealand. Freshman Ellie Gaenz representing Cuba added, “At the summit, I learned how to be an independent student and to work on my own. I learned to think on my toes and be a logical learner like I should in the real world.”
To participate, students at King’s formed teams assigned to represent 20 real-world countries with varying GDPs per capita. Each team researched their country and made tabletop displays, dressed in traditional clothing, and demonstrated knowledge of their country’s resources, important issues and needs. Each “country” proposed an important topic that they would like to present at the Summit and voted to hear the top three. The winners were United Arab Emirates for Non Renewable Energy Sources, South Africa for Disaster Preparedness and Egypt for Sexual Violence.
The day of the Summit, teams formed free market trade alliances, engaged in rapid-fire import/export negotiations, secured loans from the Summit Bank and choose how to invest their resources. They listened to the three presentations on important issues and voted individually on which to support based on topic, presentation or alliances made.
During the negotiations, we spoke with some participants about their Summit goals. Team Cuba expressed that they needed to import food and buses for transportation and hoped to export Tabaco, science/technology and sugar cane. They thought that South Korea might be a good trading partner. New Zealand had plenty of food to export. They explained that Indonesia had temporarily blocked their food exports through the WTO, but that the decision to block had been recently overturned, so they were looking for new alliances. They needed to import all things related to health care.
According to the International Economic Summit website: “The Summit has gained national recognition as one of the most effective educational programs available anywhere for teaching core, transferable career skills in economics, finance and even technology. Students gain a multi-cultural understanding of how the world works and what they can do to prepare.”
Sophomore Drew Brennan, representing South Africa, said, “The International Economic Summit allowed me to translate my classroom learning into hands-on experience. It was a valuable and enjoyable opportunity that has increased my confidence for a future career in business or economics.”
“The IES was an experience like no other!” stated Sophomore Robin Cheung representing Malaysia. “It was a beneficial learning experience that taught me about the inner workings of global trade. I’d love to be a part of it again.”
The Idaho Council on Economic Education has been partnering with Boise State to offer economics outreach programs since 1971. For more information, please visit www.econsummit.org.
Click here to see a slideshow of this event.