Kiwanis and Sister Cities Send Six Teens on a Mission to Learn the Virtue of Global Understanding.
The fate of the world rested in the hands of Lukos Stefan and other countries’ representatives at a last-hope peace conference in Washington, D.C. Like the other diplomats around him, Stefan had arrived at this meeting as a firm advocate of his nation’s agenda and his personal convictions. Nuclear war was imminent. Compromise was not an option.
But that was the scenario of mock peace talks at a Sister Cities International Youth Leadership Summit in D.C. this past July. Stefan and five other California high school students met other teens from around the world on a trip made possible, in part, through a partnership between the newly formed La Cañada Flintridge (LCF) Sister Cities Association and the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada. After hearing a presentation by LCF Sister Cities Association President Victoria Schwartz, Kiwanian Mike Leininger believed the two organizations could and should work together. Sister Cities International is a Kiwanis International Community Partner.
The teens’ trip included a reception at Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae’s residence, tours of the capital, a meeting with U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff and interacting with other students from around the world. One highlight, Stefan reported, was attending a motivational leadership panel discussion.
“(2016–17) Kiwanis International President Jane Erickson revealed an underlying theme that peaceful international relations begin at a local level with a strong and supportive community,” he says.
At the mock peace conference, as talks foundered, Stefan said the students fought for a solution.
“My mind shifted from personal concern to an appreciation of the new and foreign people surrounding me,” he says.