Opened in 1971 as Singapore International School by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, UWC South East Asia became a full member of the UWC movement in 1975. For more than 40 years, it has been offering a mission-driven, values-based international education to students from more than 90 nationalities. A K–12 school, with two campuses and over 5,500 students, UWCSEA is now recognised as one of the leading international schools in the world.
Student Speaker Series Programme
About the Speaker – Ryan Hreljac
The Ryan’s Well Foundation – a Canadian charitable organisation providing effective and sustainable solutions to the water crisis in the poorest regions of the worlds’ developing countries.
The Foundation grew from the passion and courage of one 6 year old boy, Ryan Hreljac. Ryan was inspired to take action as a grade one student when he learned of the devastating consequences for people without access to safe drinking water.
Students heard Ryan speak
Dear Mr and Mrs Safavi,
We are three Grade 11 students, Manvi, Mimi and Elsa and we are the Student Speaker Series Coordinators. We wanted to write and thank you for making this programme possible.
Our main goal for ‘Speaker Series’ was to bring in speakers who have achieved something from a relatively young age to demonstrate that age is no barrier to achievement. Additionally, we wanted to feature speakers who have a positive impact on those around them, not simply people who started up their own businesses when they were quite young, but those who have made a positive difference in the world. We drew up a list of potential speakers and then wrote to them. Ryan Hreljac, from Ryan’s Well Foundation was to be our first speaker.
We chose Ryan because he fitted our criteria perfectly. He was a very humble and kind man that works towards a profound cause. Ryan started his initiative at the age of 7, when after hearing a school presentation about how some children in the world do not have clean and safe water, he started a project to build wells in Uganda. Gradually, this initiative became ‘Ryan’s Well Foundation’ which he continues to work on today. He goes around the world to talk about water issues and on the importance of making a difference no matter who you are or how old you are.
Ryan arrived in Singapore on Monday 18th September and spent a week at the College. He talked to students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and even gave a talk to parents after school. Ryan was an extremely friendly person and an inspiring speaker. We all heard him speak a total of 5-6 times and every time we were still hooked by what he said. He catered what he was saying to the age group that was listening, and added or removed details accordingly.
As this was our first event, we did encounter a few challenges along the way. We learned the importance of communication and ensuring all members of the team were in the loop about plans. We also improved upon our planning skills throughout the week and have ideas for promoting and growing the series moving forward. Just getting hands on experience of coordinating a small lunchtime talk and organising assembly talks, gave us a valuable insight into event management and appreciation of all the things we need to do to make an event successful.
We plan to contact our next speaker shortly. We are looking at inviting either Saad Chinoy, from online story maker Tusitala or James Koo from Disney. They both live in Singapore which would reduce travel management and enable us to focus on refining some other aspects of event organisation. We hope to have one of these speakers come in before the end of this academic year and possibly coordinate events to take place at our East Campus as well.
Thank you, once again for enabling us to create the Student Speaker Series. We are incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to do something like this and it has been a very meaningful experience.
Student Speaker Series – Elsa Wadhwa, Manvi Lakhotiya and Mimi Elzinger
“Ryan’s presentation was actually really inspiring. It got me and my friend, Arushi, thinking. We really want to start doing something important that can help someone else”
“Ryan was fantastic. He came to our Grade 3 assembly and the students were so excited to meet him.”
“There were issues with organising the speaker events such as communication and logistics, but since this was our first time organising such a large event, we were able to learn the kind of problems that can be faced on the way and how to solve them for next time.”