On March 29, 2018 the Freshman Class of the Pope High School Globalization Academy held its fourth annual “Global Connections” night at Pope High School. Each year, locally-based international Consuls General are invited to participate in a panel discussion whereby the students prepare and ask the consuls topical questions on their country’s geopolitical issues ranging from immigration to commerce.
This year’s event was attended by Sr. Victor Peláez Millán representing Mexico and Mr. Charlie Battle, representing the country of Monaco.
Freshman Olivia Brooking directed the first question to Battle regarding the advantages and disadvantages of Monaco choosing not to be a member of the European Union. Battle, one of Monaco’s “Honorary Consulates” located in 45 countries throughout the world, opened his comments by applauding the Pope Globalization Academy’s efforts to expand global education among its students. He went on to explain the unique nature of the one-square mile Principality of Monaco, which is a sovereign and independent state, with Prince Albert of the Grimaldi family as its current sovereign leader. Monaco relies on France for national defense and the euro is its official currency.
Battle said there is no income tax per se, but if you are a French citizen, you pay taxes to France. “We are a member of the Council of Europe which was created in 1949,” said Battle, “That organization was created to be more concerned with human rights.” He said Monaco also became a member of the United Nations in 1993.
Gabriela Garcia presented her question to the Mexican consul regarding the current efforts to promote growth in the county’s economy.
“Our country suffered a lot in the 70s and 80s do to inflation,” said Peláez Millán. He went on to explain the government’s efforts to efforts to keep inflation low. “Since the 90s, our economy has grown at a rate of 2 percent. That’s not enough,” he said.
Peláez Millán said out of a population of 110 million, 45 million are considered to be in poverty. He explained that since 2014 the government-run political parties are promoting reform through opening up sectors to foreign investment such as energy, communications and education, and have passed a law to promote competition.
There are 20 students in the freshman class cohort that will be graduating in 2021. Brendan Widness, Pope Globalization Academy director and Pope High school teacher, said, “The Global Connections event is unlike anything in the Cobb County system.” Widness also notes that the entire night is created and run by the academy. “The students spend many hours prior to the event researching the countries represented to formulate newsworthy, thought-provoking questions. It is an amazing experience for our community and our students to hear a global perspective on current issues.”