Experiences and Friendships that Last a Lifetime: Reflections from Sarah Noble, Class of 1998
The ASP experience is unforgettable, and our alumni maintain a strong connection with each other and the school, long after they toss their graduation caps. Whether they stay local and continue to attend community events, or move halfway across the world and form a band together, or even meet again at a classmate’s wedding and find themselves tying the knot a few years later, our alumni’s stories don’t stop at the door!
This week, we’re featuring Sarah Noble, Class of 1998, as she reflects on her experience in the Model United Nations at ASP. The club inspired her studies in international relations, and later her career. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your thoughts on ASP with us.
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you dream it you can become it.”
These are the words I wrote on my senior page in the 1998 yearbook. The belief in possibility and positive change is a driving force in my life. My high school experiences at the American School of Paris (ASP) directly contributed to the choices I have made and the values I have developed that make me the person I am today.
Learning is cool
I was privileged to have incredible teachers throughout my four years of Upper School. In history, there was Ms. Lynn and Mr. Judis, and Mr. Jones in chemistry. In English, I remember Mr. Kite and French class Madame Samson. My math classes with Mr. Green, Mr. Austin, and Mr. Hubbard left a lasting impression. I learned a lot and learning was fun. The academic environment was one that wanted to see students thrive: it was cool to study and to be smart. The IB diploma program was academically rigorous, but also prepared me by teaching me how to think and be a responsible human.
Model United Nations
During my time at ASP, I was a part of different clubs and extracurricular activities. The one that tops the list by far is Model United Nations.
What an experience it was, to go to the Netherlands for a whole week of mock debate, simulating the United Nations with students from other international schools. In the months leading up to our January pilgrimage to The Hague, we would learn how to debate, how to lobby, how to represent different viewpoints than our own, and how to write resolutions as we focused on caring about diverse, global issues. It was both a social and educational experience that I remember to this day.
I was lucky enough to make the MUN team in Grade 9 and went to the MUN conferences each year, representing viewpoints from Saint Kitts and Nevis, Bhutan, and the United States. During my senior year, we went to the United States for the Yale Model United Nations. On our way there, we took a trip to New York City and went to the real United Nations building. On our tour of the UN headquarters, we got to see the actual Security Council––a great experience! I was quite touched to see, up close, the mosaic by Norman Rockwell with people from all over the world, inscribed with the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
This is one of the key values that I try to live my life by. Through my experience with Model United Nations at ASP, I discovered my passion for peace promotion cooperation between people and countries as well as my respect for the opinions of others. I continued to participate in Model United Nations when I went to do my undergraduate degree at Queen’s University, serving as a delegate and as a committee chair, before organizing a MUN conference as co-Secretary General, together with Erum Hasan (Class of 98).
After finishing my undergraduate degree, I followed my interest in international relations and pursued a master’s degree in conflict resolution. Afterward, I moved to Geneva to work for Interpeace, an international peacebuilding organization. Today, I am the Curator of the Peace Talks at Interpeace, a media and event platform co-founded by the United Nations, the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform, and Interpeace, which showcases the inspiring stories of people making a positive contribution to peace. Peace Talks events have taken place in more than 7 countries with over 6,200 attendees and 160 speakers, ranging from elementary students to the former United Nations Secretary-General.
I am also the Director of External Relations at The New Humanitarian, a non-profit newsroom that puts independent journalism at the service of the millions of people affected by humanitarian crises around the world. My interest in humanitarian and peace issues was sparked by my experiences from ASP, and today I am passionate about the role of media, communications, and storytelling to inspire and create concrete, positive change in the world.
I am also lucky to have made lifelong friends at ASP; my best friends today are the friends I made in high school. Erum Hasan, Nicola Sarn, Flavia Thome, Ingrid Johansen are part of my Grade 8 group of friends that I still am in touch with on a daily basis. We have gone to each other’s weddings, and now, our children play together whenever we are fortunate enough to get together. In fact, the last big party I went to last year before the pandemic was Flavia’s 40th birthday, along with Ingrid and Nicola.
We had been planning a reunion in Paris for our 40th birthdays in April 2020, but that will have to wait a little while longer due to COVID. We often reminisce about our times at ASP, about the dinner parties we used to have, eating pasta, drinking white wine, and talking about everything, including politics and how we will change the world.