A group of Elgin High School students hoping to travel to China next March need $40,000 to make it happen.
Elgin High School history teacher John Devine said it will be a transformative experience for his students. They will travel to China in March for the Global Student Leaders Summit to discuss globalization.
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"It's something a lot of my students and I are passionate about better understanding," Devine said, "and taking some kind of active role in pursuing both the great promises and addressing some of the problems that have come along with globalization."
The conference will bring a blend of perspectives highlighting both the good and bad effects of the world becoming more interconnected. In a fundraising pitch to Kiwanis Club members Tuesday, Devine said it will not be dominated by industrialists looking for new markets and cheap labor, nor the activists who seek to "right all the wrongs" of globalization.
Former U.S. Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman Jr., will serve as the keynote speaker at the conference along with NPR Planet Money reporters Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson, who specialize in covering global economics.
Ten students have committed to the trip so far with a waiting list that may push the total number of student travelers to 20. Each family will pay about $650 and the goal is to fundraise the remaining $3,950 for the weeklong trip to China, home of the world's fastest growing economy.
Devine hopes to expose his students to new ideas at the conference and get them thinking about the "new normal" of the business world -- where employees are constantly working with people of other nationalities or for companies based elsewhere. Devine said to a certain extent, that is also the new normal of Elgin.
"To not like that is some people's preference or opinion," Devine said. "To deal with it, though, is certainly the task of this coming up generation. A summit like this will put them square in front of the real issues."
People can send checks to Elgin High School or donate online by clicking here. Four percent of online donations are given to the hosting site. Find Elgin High Schools Next Generation of Global Leaders on Facebook for details.