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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of November 7 - 13, 2001


Teen’s economic summit a worldly affair

Express Staff Writer

From Russia’s Moscow to Idaho’s Sun Valley, students have participated in world trade simulations to improve their understanding of our global economy. More than 1,000 participants have functioned as "economic advisors" from first, second, and third world countries during the summit events at regional sites.

Students learn world economics through day long summit. The advisors from India confer with teacher James Foster. Left to right are students Lizzie Laycock, Thomas Zygaj, Brisa Ayub, Carolina Gomez and teacher James Foster.

Begun in Boise in 1990 by Borah High School teacher Kali Kurdy to help her students better understand international economics, the Idaho Council on Economic Education took over the program and increased its scope.

In 2000, Kurdy was awarded $25,000 when she won the NASDAQ National Economics Teacher of the Year award for this program.

Within two years of Kurdy developing the project in two summits for 400 students, more than 10,000 students in eight counties were participating. "Idaho is very progressive academically," she said.

The Economic Summit project provides high school students with the opportunity to explore basic concepts within the theme of international trade. Working in small groups, student teams adopt a country and take on the role of economic advisors. The goal for each team is to improve their country's standard of living through international trade.

Last Thursday, students from Wood River, Ridgefield and Dietrich high schools represented some 22 countries at an Economic Summit in the Limelight Room of the Sun Valley Inn. Twin Falls was to have participated but dropped out. As a result, some students from the College of Southern Idaho represented some of the countries that had been chosen by the Twin Falls teams.

Prior to the summit, teams conduct extensive research to evaluate conditions within their adoptive countries. They then develop strategic plans to improve living standards, and devise issues that they can utilize for trade and alliance building.

For instance, the Japanese advisors "Issue Statement" for the summit in Sun Valley was as follows: "Japan proposes to decrease electronic prices five percent lower than any other country in exchange for natural resources."

In the import and export graphs given to the advisors, natural resources were rated "0" points, compared with "4" points for electronics.

During the course of the culminating summit event, students representing specific countries went through trade and alliance negotiations and votes for trade issues, costume judging, and a trade session. Points were awarded for completion of specific tasks and objectives. Economic advisors with the highest point totals at the end of the day were recognized and awarded.

Switzerland’s advisors from Wood River High School eventually won the most points.

The summit teaches other skills as well, Kurdy pointed out, such as critical thinking, flexibility and how to deal with obstacles.

James Foster, an economics teacher at WRHS, facilitated the teams from that school. Also on hand was Jody Hoff, of the Idaho Economic Summit, and employees from banks in town to handle the financial aspects of the trades and loans.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.