Mr. Liam Birch
| CSIA Round Square Representative
My name is Liam Birch, and I am the Round Square Representative here at CheongShim International Academy. It is my great honor and privilege to formally welcome you to Korea this coming March! Allow me if you will to spend a short amount of your time introducing myself and our conference to you all.
I teach political science and sociology here at CheongShim, and am also responsible not only for what happens with Round Square, but also a variety of other activities our students like to engage with, such as the World Schools Debate Championship, Korea Public Speaking Championship, and National History Day (all of which I am also judge/selector for). I am also the faculty member responsible for UK university applications, where we have a superb matriculation record at prestigious institutions like Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham. I hold teaching certification for both the UK and the USA, and am currently in the process of earning a masters degree in International Relations from the University of St Andrews in Scotland.
Over the years, as I attended countless Round Square conferences and events, I started dreaming of the possibility of bringing the Round Square community to Korea for a once-in-a-lifetime event here at CheongShim International Academy. I am delighted to say that this dream is now a reality, and I cannot wait to see everyone at our beautiful, mountainside campus, here in rural Korea.
I had a multitude of reasons for why I wanted to do this, but ultimately, my main motivation for volunteering CheongShim as a host was that I knew we could put on an amazing, world-class event. CheongShim students are some of the most responsible, diligent, driven, and organized students that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I've seen them run student-led conferences before - our famous MUN for example - and I know how hard they work to put on a truly international-quality experience for all of our guests. Indeed, every time I attended a Round Square conference abroad, there was one thought - one relentless idea that just wouldn't go away - “we could do this”!
And do it we have. I won't lie - this has been hard. There have been so many setbacks, so many misunderstandings, so many disappointments, so many arguments, and so much sweat and tears poured into this. You'll see the results of this incredible amount of hard work over the next few days with us: the days rehearsing dance routines to get them *just* right; the weekend trips around Seoul pretending to be a 13 year old girl who knew nothing about Korean history but everything about Korean pop; the late nights designing logos, pamphlets, t-shirts, and everything else I failed to think about when enthusiastically volunteering to host this event!
But most of all, you'll see an incredible country with incredible people; an incredible past worth revering; and an incredible future worth aspiring to. You'll experience life in an ancient palace, submerge yourself in Korea's pop music phenomenon, hone your diplomatic skills in MUN, and live history as you stand on the border between North and South Korea.
This celebration of internationalism, democracy, and leadership awaits you. We cannot wait to see you all.