Opening remarks of Nikola Danev

Article by Austin Fast
Picture credits: Donna Urdinov

“Introduce yourselves, involve more participants, don’t speak too fast, and create more structure in the presentation.” Those were the bullet points of advice that teacher Melissa Mitreski passed on to her students after they facilitated an interactive session on racism and sexism in modern society at Nova International High School in Skopje, Macedonia.

On 14-17 November 2013, Nova hosted 80 students from eight member schools of the Central and Eastern European Schools Association (CEESA) for a “hands-on student involvement conference” (HOSIC) to discuss, debate and explore their chosen theme of “Modern Society.”

Although Nova staff handled some aspects of planning the event, Nova students such as 15-year-old Nikola Danev took the lead and got valuable experience from organizing the conference including 12 presentations and two keynote speakers, plus a cultural tour of Skopje and social events around the city.

“I managed to bring together so many people from so many cultures, and all of them minors which makes it even harder because there’s then more responsibility,” Nikola says. “Now I know how things work. Not everything is as neat as you think it would be.”

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