British Deputy Consul General visits South High

Principal Aponte organized a meeting with Ramin Navai and nine students. For about an hour and a half students were given the opportunity to ask Navai questions about Britain. Students also shared experiences and issues from South with Navai. Navai was interested in learning about South culture and what the students were interested in.

Maggie Fisher, Features Editor

Deputy Consul General Ramin Navai visited South High on Friday, February 12. Navai works out of the British Consulate-General’s office in Chicago and was visiting Minnesota when he stopped by South High. He met with students, participated in Singing Telegrams, received a tour, and held a discussion in a freshman history class.

According to the British Consulate General’s Chicago website, the purpose of a Consulate General is to represent the UK. It says, “this involves dealing with a wide range of political, commercial, security and economic questions of interest to the UK and this region of the United States.” There are ten British consulates in the United States, each one has a responsibility to be informed about what is happening in their geological region and know how local events may impact  the UK, it’s nationals within the United States, and the United States.

For example, Navai had to write a report on Ferguson and police brutality. In the report, he had to evaluate if “British citizen’s will be involved”, and if the protesting will “spread to other states”. He has also had to help British citizens navigate the justice system in Minnesota.

Navai shared the goal of his visit to Minnesota, this time, was to “strengthen ties between the UK and Minnesota.” He explained he wanted to support and strengthen UK businesses. But, he visits local schools in order to get to know the people and immerse himself into the local culture.

This immersion included a meeting with about 9 students. Every student in the meeting was representing a student organization. Navai wanted the students to know that everyone has a “responsibility to have an understanding of global affairs.” The students had the opportunity to ask him questions about current events and about British culture.

One aspect of South that Navai was particularly interested in was student activism. He asked the students about their environmental work, the walkouts, social justice issues, and clubs that they were about of.

At the end of the meeting, Navai said, “I’ve become much more hopeful [after] I sit down with young people. . . I look here and I see hope for the future.”