An interview with alumna Giovanna Basso
When did you graduate from School of Nations? Tell us a bit more about your history at School.
I graduated in June 2020. And I must say that June was a period of many emotions. Even though I didn’t have the typical graduation, my last weeks at school were a whirlwind of emotions, the end of a cycle. I entered school shortly after my sixth birthday, so I can say that School of the Nations was part of my childhood and adolescence, in addition to marking my life in Brasília.
What do you miss most about your time at the School of Nations?
It is challenging to summarize twelve years of many good mornings for Afonso in just a few words. I miss everything, all the memories I made at EdN, both good and bad. I miss the emotion of waking up every day to go to school and talk with teachers and colleagues. Above all, I miss everyone’s support. My routine was to speak with Camila, set up a meeting, speak to Cris, Nery, Mary, and I loved being connected with everyone and knowing that everyone knew and supported me.
What are your best memories from your time at School of the Nations?
I have a lot! But I confess that I remember most of my high school. I remember creating the debate and theater club and taking part in an amateur theater festival—we got better makeup and the original script. I remember every country I represented at the UN simulation conferences—I loved representing the United States on the Commission on Women’s Situation. I loved, even more, having the honor of creating Nations Girl Up. I loved all the classes—even those I didn’t like very much—and the relationship I had with the teachers, being a Math monitor for Mr. França’s classes, and helping Ms. Ilza at the Book Fair. And I can’t forget how much I enjoyed spending hours at school, both on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. I could walk around the school with my eyes closed.
What college do you attend or plan to attend? What is your major, or in what area would you like to major?
From the 2020 Class of School of the Nations to Minerva School at KGI. I confess that I am not sure about which course I will choose. However, the world is my campus, and I intend to explore the four corners of the planet before deciding.
One significant legacy you left for our School is Nations Girl Up. In your own words, what is Nations Girl Up?
Nations Girl Up is much more than a UN campaign; it is union, possibilities. Together, we were able to do so many things! Nothing is more powerful and revolutionary than exchanging ideas and experiences. We joined the school while campaigning to collect pads and promote feminist literature. The club’s first board was a group of friends who became closer when they discovered that they could do much more together. I also learned that it is okay to be the way I am, and I hope the club has a little bit of the other girls and me.
What does it mean to you to be part of this initiative? What role did you play in the group? Are you proud of it, and why?
As the founder and first president, Nations Girl Up showed me that it is with a little bit of madness that the world changes, little by little. In the beginning, we were the only club in Brasília, and the nearest club was three hours away in Goiânia. We didn’t have much support because nobody knew what we were doing, not even me. And it was without direction that we found our way. Just knowing that other girls continue in the club is already a feeling of achievement.
What are your dreams for the future of Nations Girl Up?
I want these new girls’ most outstanding achievements to be friendship, closeness. It is incredible to change the world, but it is even better when you do it with other extraordinary people because if you grow and improve, that is already changing the world. Why not, then, change the world of those close to you?
You are the author of the book “Adolê Sente: o mundo na perspectiva de uma jovem audaciosa.” Can you tell us about it?
Just as Nations Girl Up came out of the need to talk and talk, I also needed to do it personally. I always liked to write. I think life made a lot of sense when I wrote about my life, both outside and inside the school. Yes, I carried a little green notebook around not to miss any event that happened around me. “Adolê Sente: the world from the perspective of an audacious young woman” is composed of 32 argumentative chronicles, short stories on themes that permeate my life as a young person. Above all, it is a book for all audacious young people who want to feel more comfortable in their skin.
What inspired you to write this book?
We always aim to be those people we imagine we want to become. The good news is that we are already the person we want to be, we just need to be polished. I needed to write the book I would have liked to have read when I was younger. But if my “youth” is gone, my younger sister, Giulia Basso from 9B, can now learn what it took me years to learn. So, she is the one who illustrated the book, because “Adolê Sente” is a girls’ book for girls (and for boys too).
How does your book relate to current issues we are experiencing in society today?
“Adolê Sente” talks about my experiences as a girl who wants to trace her destiny. I talk about how I suffered from mental health and self-esteem, but I also discuss songs and movies that helped me be who I am. Or even on general themes, such as social and gender inequality or sustainability. Much of what I wrote was inspired by what I experienced at School of the Nations.
Where can we find your book?
I think the correct question would be, “where can’t we find the book?” “Adolê Sente” is available both as an e-book and in hard copy at Livraria Cultura, Saraiva, Martins Fontes, Livraria Travessa, on Chiado Books’ website, Google Play, and Amazon. But if you want a signed copy, just talk to me!
Do you believe studying at School of the Nations influenced you to be who you are today, an advocate for gender equity, and an author?
I believe that in addition to being unknown universes ready to be explored, we are also the union of each person who has crossed our path. A part of me will always be EdN and all the people who helped me be who I am. I know the sky is my limit because EdN has always supported me in my “crazy things.” I have already won a theater award, took part in several diplomatic model conferences, and created the first UN club in Brasília... I had the “no,” School of the Nations gave me the “yes.”
What advice would you give to our students who are afraid of putting their ideas out and voicing their opinions?
Do you know that characteristic that makes you different from others? Be it your curiosity, your intensity, or your passion? It's what makes you who you are, so don’t hide it! Make it stand out, be “crazy.” The “no” you already have, but you are the one who gives the “yes.” If you are afraid of doing something, go scared. If people don’t believe you, continue until they do. Everything seems inconceivable until we go ahead and do it. So, know your comfort zone and find a way to get out of it every day. Sometimes we must be a little crazy to make what’s on our minds real to others.