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First weekend as a Youth Climate Leader

- by Marina Porto (Brazil) and Ximena (Argentina)

*Follow Marina's live updates on Instagram: @marinaporto_

*Follow Ximena's live updates on Instagram: @ximenamiche

*Follow YCL's live updates on Instagram: @YouthClimateLeaders

First weekend

The Youth Climate Leaders Program (YCL) has just started, and we are super excited with what has already happened and what is yet to come! We dedicated our first weekend to bonding with each other and working on our leadership skills.


We kicked off our first day of the immersion by getting to know each other over a delicious and traditional French dish: crepe! We could not have started any better, d'accord?


On our first day of program, we went to the Columbia Global Center here in Paris, where we had activities to learn more about each participant´s background and about ourselves.

First, Cassia and Flavia told us a bit more about the program, our schedule for the next couple of weeks, and introduced us to three YCL partners: Cesar Matsumoto, João Lacerda and Pamela Piazentin, who joined us here in Paris to help with the immersion and to teach us new leadership skills. During the morning, we were all invited to reflect and discuss, “Who is the person who is arriving to the immersion?” and “What brought us to the program?” were few of the questions posed by the YCL team. This activity was essential for knowing each other as individuals and also improved our group’s trust and openness.

The lunch was such an amazing part of the day! We all went to Jardin du Luxembourg, a famous and beautiful park in Paris, and had a picnic on the grass. It was a time to relax, enjoy the beautiful day and further connect with each other and nature. In the afternoon, each person provided insight on the climate change issues most pertinent to their respective countries. We discussed a number of climate change issues and developed a deeper understanding of our world’s current environmental problems. It was such a perfect way to start the immersion!


Sunday morning started in a great way as well! We went to Jardin du Luxembourg for our first activity. The day was beautiful and it was super energizing to start it outdoors. It was a day that helped us to improve our listening skills and to raise our meta-awareness, all based on Theory U, phenomenology and different methodologies that will be taught to us throughout the program.

Our first activity, called “The Empathy Walk”, involved choosing a partner to walk around the park while one person answered questions on why they are who they are, and the other COMPLETELY listen to what was being said. It was an incredible experience of listening with an open heart, which made us feel more connected with each other and as a group.

In the afternoon, we went to the Columbia Global Center, where Cesar taught us the different levels of listening and their relations to Theory U. We discussed the difference between “having the world I want” vs. “giving the world what it needs”, by listening to others with an open mind, open heart and open will. To finish the day, we learned the difference between what is a complicated problem - one that is technical and that one person is able to identify and give a solution to - and what is the complex problem, like climate change, for which there is not one simple solution and no single specialist who can solve the issue easily.

Next days

On Monday, we will kickoff a week filled with meetings with important international stakeholders by visiting the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Later in the week we will visit the National Assembly of France (Assemblée Nationale) and also have meetings with academia, NGOs and other stakeholders. We are very eager to learn from every participant and from each player we are visiting.

Hope you are with us in this journey!

See you in the next days :)