Harvard hosts high schoolers for International Economic Summit

3 min read

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Council on Economic Education (MCEE), the International Economic Summit Institute (IES), and Harvard University, along with funding support from the Challenger Foundation, conducted the second ever New England high school trade simulation at Harvard’s Murr Center on Dec. 20.

During the daylong simulation, 72 teams of students from high schools in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire received hands-on experience at negotiating trade alliances and developing economic policy.

As part of the daylong summit, 370 students were separated into a number of groups, each representing a different country. The groups competed for points by passing written tests, presenting economic proposals, and trading goods and services with other groups. Students also earned points for donning costumes representing their “home nations,” and creating table displays that best represented these countries.

The students’ goal was to serve as economic advisors to their selected countries, while aiming to increase the standard of living, said Scott Guild, director of economic education at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which co-sponsored the event. Guild said the program demystifies for students the workings of global economics and allows them to apply economic decision-making toward tangible goals.

“Young people make economic decisions all the time,” he said. “However few understand or are exposed to the short-term and long-term implications of their actions. The summit’s curriculum and trade simulation provides teachers with a tool to engage students to focus and apply what they have learned in class about economics to a very specific goal and see if they can fulfill it.”

A number of college students from North Shore Community College, Federal Reserve Bank staff, and industry partners volunteered at the event as scorekeepers, bankers, and greeters.

“This was a wonderful day for MCEE, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Harvard University, and the hundreds of high school students and their teachers who came for the IES,” said Margaret Brooks, president of the MCEE. Dan McCarthy, MCEE chair and vice president of Eaton Vance Management agreed. “There is nothing like hands-on learning and this event gave these students exactly that — a fun and challenging opportunity to really apply their skills at a great college campus,” said McCarthy.

Participating Massachusetts high schools were: Arlington High School, Bedford High School, Boston Latin School, Marshfield High School, Medway High School, Millbury High School, and KIPP Academy, Lynn. Out-of-state schools included Pelham High School, Pelham, N.H., and Canton High School, Collinsville, Conn.