Wilkey Rong, a U2 Arts student double majoring in economics and German, has actively begun to realize his goals and ideas in promoting a better future. He considers education reform and economic development to be the best foundations to build a more sustainable and prosperous future, and works enthusiastically to promote those changes.
Growing up in the metropolitan city of Shanghai, China, Rong was exposed first-hand to the consequences of the vast disparity between the rich and the poor. The systematic oppression of certain groups like migrant workers affected him deeply.
Rong is also invested in the problems concerning education in China. According to Rong, the schooling system often aims for students to complete degrees to earn high-paying jobs, instead of encouraging critical thinking and reflections on world issues.
“Schools should not dictate what is right or wrong, but should teach how to think about cause and effect,” Rong said.
Rong believes that education should act as a guide to explore topics and incite discussion, while cultivating rational and comparative thinking.
“Education is about encouraging people and teaching them to think,” Rong said.
Rong sees the connection between human rights and education, and is studying to find ways to connect the two.
Over the summer, Rong was a chief student leader for the International Baccalaureate World Student Conference (IBWSC), a conference created to bridge the conversation between high school students and teachers about involvement in human rights activism. Different perspectives were offered by guest speakers to generate interest and appeal to teenagers from a multitude of backgrounds. Rong worked with Service Point Enrolment to campaign for the event and recruit participants. He is also a leading member of the IB Alumni Advisory Council (IBAAC), a chapter that brings together former students in volunteer programs and other meet-and-greet events. His involvement with IB extends to his active participation in advancing the program by holding monthly advice meetings with IB coordinators throughout the year.
Rong has been involved with the Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) chapter at McGill since the beginning of this semester. As VP Internal Affairs, he is tasked with running financials for the club, while advocating its core beliefs and values. The organization seeks to create awareness about issues of fundamental rights in order to incite long-term and non-dependent change. According to Rong, JHR encourages the open discussion on controversial topics in support of the inherent equality of all human beings.
“JHR is really a platform to voice opinions,” Rong said.
After surviving his transitional year as an international student, Rong became an active member of the International Students Leadership Program (ISLP), which is a division of International Student Services (ISS). He organizes launch events with networking opportunities for both international and exchange students, acting as an advisor for them.
Rong’s biggest wish is for positive globalization. Increasing communication, circulation of ideas, and acceptance of different perspectives in multiple disciples are movements Rong thinks would benefit our world on a large scale. He maintains that world citizenship is critical, and that we must take further steps to turn this theory into reality.
“As long as communication is established, we can start to solve the problems,” he said.
McGill Tribune: Who is your favourite TV show character?
Wilkey Rong: Monica from Friends—she’s hilarious.
MT: What’s in your fridge?
WR: Alles in Ordnung, (German for “I’m very organized”), so it is stocked with a little bit of everything.
MT: Current jams?
WR: Latch by Disclosure.
MT: How do you make your sandwiches?
WR: My homemade sandwiches have eggs, […] tomatoes, and cabbage. For sauces, I use both teriyaki and soy sauce.
MT: If you could trade places with anyone in the world who would it be?
WR: I wouldn’t want to change.