Maria Ximena Michemberg Conti, 28
I am an environmental engineer with a strong social background.For the past ten years I have been working in a shanty town called Villa 21. My final work of my Bachelor’s Degree combined my passion for people and their environment. I did it in another shanty town in Buenos Aires where, with a group of four other engineers, we developed several ways to improve the access to safe water and the way of discharging effluents. I was also involved in a project in Africa organized by the worldwide NGO called AIESEC which lasted three months, during which I taught English to local university students in their freshman years. This was a most enriching program which allowed me, for the first time, to develop an international perspective based on this multicultural experience in the city of Nabeul. Furthermore, I have worked for two multinationals looking after effluents, waste and encouraging people to think in a more sustainable way. Thanks to this journey, I discovered my two passions (the environment and working to improve the life standards of those in need) and what I feel and think is my purpose in life. So, in the last year I have decided to work on projects that combine my passion for the environment and the wellbeing of people, solving problems of access and quality of water in vulnerable communities all around Argentina.
Marina Porto Amador, 23
My main area of work within climate change is consumption patterns and plastic waste. I am particularly interested in this topic because I believe that, as we face exponential population growth, we need urgent changes in production and consumption behavior to secure our planet’s sustainability, and our lives itself. I am graduated as an economist and environmental technician, and I have work experience in financial sector (bank and consultancy) and entrepreneurship (started 2 companies related to biodegradable products and circular economy). I expect the YCL journey to be a life changing experience! By providing us tools and a strong network of young leaders, I believe that we will be able to think and act together to solve main climate change challenges with innovation and collaboration with multiple stakeholders. Complex problems demand complex solutions, and this is what we are going after!
Milvo Gabriel Prevedello Di Domenico, 22
Milvo Gabriel is a brazilian student of Environmental and Sanitary Engineering at the Federal University of Goiás (UFG). He discovered his passion for social work at 18 years old and since then has been sharing his knowledge in computer science, programming and natural sciences with kids and teenagers of public schools in various states of Brazil, thus becoming co-founder of an NGO called “Castor Clube” and being its CEO for two years. Currently, vegan at 22 years old, aiming for ways to get people involved in sharing their skills towards building a better community, is the president of the Academic Center of his course, co-creator and associate coordinator in one of his university’s wide extension project called “Ensinando para Apreender”. Milvo’s main area of work within climate change is to create awereness on the individual’s actions and habits and how those aspects impact the environment when visualized collectively. In that sense, he will do his best to take advantage of the opportunity given by the YCL to enhance his proficiency on Climate Change and develop ways to apply what will be learned to make a better place for all the living.
Marcos Szrajer, 32
Sustainbaility Specialist at Sodexo | Environment & Social Responsability at Stop Hunger Foundation | Consultant | Lecturer. Brazilian professional graduated in Biology with a Master´s degree in Genetics and Bioquemistry (Research applied to Sustainability) both at Federal University of São Carlos - UFSCAR). Postgraduation in Business Administration and Project Management (Insper). Currently coordinates several initiatives to prevent/reduce global food waste and fight bad nutrition around the globe. Has also expertise in improving corporative foundations impact and improve third sector institutions performance.
Eduarda Zoghbi, 24
I have been passionate about climate change since I was a child and watched Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, which was when I understood that I had to do something to change this scenario, leading me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science in the University of Brasília (UnB). At the time, I had the opportunity of working as an intern at the British Embassy in the climate change division and started volunteering in a youth led NGO called Engajamundo. Nowadays I work as a climate and sustainability consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) mainly with climate finance and sustainable infrastructure. I hope to learn a lot from the YCL while putting all the knowledge I gathered through these years in practice. I believe that the YCL will provide me with a lifetime opportunity to join a group of young leaders that have different backgrounds and are joined for the same purpose to tackle climate change through innovative solutions.
Milla Vaha, 35
I am a researcher from Finland. I hold a doctorate degree of European University Institute in International Relations and I am specialized in ethics of world politics. My current research is on the future of Small Island States under climate change threats. Over the last three years the project has brought me to vulnerable island nations in South Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, where I have interviewed head of states and governmental officials on their perceptions of what will happen to their states and peoples in future. I am excited to be a participant in this journey, especially at its pilot phase, and to be able to help building the program for young climate leaders all around the world. My favorite philosopher, Immanuel Kant, wrote already in 1795 that ‘the peoples of the Earth have thus entered in varying degrees into a universal community, and it has developed to the point where a violation of rights in one part of the world is felt everywhere.’ It is our duty to stop those violations of rights.
Zohar Afek, 25
I am an undergraduate student of biology, about to finish my degree this summer, and aspiring to continue to a Master’s in the field of environment or climate. I feel that environmental issues are some of the most pressing matters of our time that have the greatest influence on the future, so it is vital that we act to mitigate damages and relieve the earth of what we’ve caused. I want and feel obligated to be a part of that, which is why I try to be considerate of the environment in my daily life and why I want to work in the field. My experience is indirect – a month of volunteering in a wildlife orphanage in Zimbabwe, where I learned among other things about the human-wildlife conflict, which is always connected to or driven by environmental issues such as droughts, loss of land and more. I hope that with YCL I will learn about climate issues and how to practically work on solving them, hopefully gaining some knowledge and experience that would help me find my way in this field and fight for the environment.
Gisela Provasi, 25
I am a Brazilian lawyer graduated from Panthéon-Sorbonne University on Sustainable Development and Environmental Management, also a passionate field and attorney volunteer of Liter of Light Brazil and a never-retiring ballerina (besides from a wannabe yogi). As of work experience, I have had very enriching internship experiences such as in a environmental law team in São Paulo (at Felsberg), at the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Resources (IBAMA), at the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the UN in New York, and at the office for circular and social economy of the Paris City Hall. Living in France for 2,5 years, I am constantly seeking to become my best self, personally and professionally, which is why I wish to dedicate my professional career to fighting climate change and its effects, through adaptation with special regards to city vulnerabilities and climate-induced migration, the subjects that move me the most. I am also interested - and very personally engaged - in waste reduction and women empowerment. Through YCL, I hope to sharpen my leadership skills and action-oriented nature. I am mostly looking forward to exchanging ideas with the other young leaders and specially to listening to the Kenyan vulnerable communities inhabitants. Following YCL, I hope to be able find the right opportunity where to put my experiences, talent and energy into work.
Masai Mahapa, a 20
I am currently based in Polokwane, a town in the northern parts of South Africa. My main area of work in the climate change space, is distributed electricity generation with the use of solar Photovoltaic panels, which converts the sun’s rays to electricity. Roughly 89% of the electricity in Africa is generated from dirty coal which releases a lot of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Solar and wind not only cleaner, but are now cheaper than coal in most parts of the world and I believe we need to switch to more clean and sustainable sources of electricity generation to save future generations the trouble of implementing emergency measures to stop climate change. The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones and the coal age won’t end because we ran out of coal. I believe the Youth Climate leaders program will be a good opportunity to learn from people who come from all walks of life and how they are taking part in reducing climate change. It will also allow me to give back directly to society through the projects in Kenya.
Michelle Diane Hernandez, 25
Hernandez is passionate about environmental justice and seeks to address issues of climate change through holistic and inclusive urban sustainability initiatives. Hernandez attended Brown University where she attained a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies. Hernandez has also studied and conducted research in Sao Paolo, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; and Hanoi, Vietnam as a participant of the International Honors Program: Cities in the 21st Century- People, Politics and Planning. Over the last three years, she has worked in Washington, DC for a political consulting firm called the GROUP and has developed public affairs strategies for public and private sector clients. Hernandez also works as an alumni consultant for the Brown Alumni Association on First-Generation College student and alumni matters. As part of her Youth Climate Leaders journey, Hernandez hopes to gain international work experience in sustainability projects, form deep and genuine relationships with other climate change leaders, and build coalitions among youth climate change champions.
Muhammad Haysam Azhar, 19
Greetings Ya'll! I'm Haysam and I hail from a one of the three metropolitan cities of Pakistan called Lahore. I'm currently pursuing my Bachelor's in Managing Operational Complexity and Economics & Society, the intersection of which fascinates me. Having lived my entire life in Pakistan, a country that has always been in a state of socio-economic crises, I remember the day 1400 people died in Karachi because of a heat wave due to climate change. The entire country, shook to its core, was unable to react to this problem. It is at that point in time that I realized that climate change was not a global debate. It was a western debate and wasn’t engaging developing countries particularly in South East Asia. After thorough research on the issue, I realized that prevention is no longer enough. We need to reduce the pre-existing CO2 in the air in order for the planet to regain its natural equilibrium. I see YCL as a stepping stone to becoming a field expert and a carbon economist as I engage with professionals working in Climate Policy from around the globe. The best part? I get to do that in two of my favorite cities of the world with some very talented people from all over the globe.
Unelker Magoga, 23
Numerous times, I have engaged fellow college students in Kenya about the impacts of climate change at inter-varsity climate dialogues, I have carried out climate simulation activities that explain the journey that the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change has had through the years, while also elaborating what goes on at the annual Conference of Parties, as a member of the Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change and ACT Alliance Youth Advocacy Group. Similarity, I have also taught young boys and girls in schools in rural Kenya about climate change and what that means for their families, majority of which are farmers. I have planted trees in schools and helped facilitate the distribution of solar lamps to rural households that lack access to electricity, in a bid to promote the use of clean, affordable and alternative forms of energy. My journey in the field has put me in a position where I now realize that I am a young leader in the field of climate change. Leaders however, need to keep growing. One of the goals of the Youth Climate Leaders program is to empower a diverse group of young leaders from all over the world with leadership and entrepreneurial skills to be used right now to address climate change. I need these skills in order to grow, know better and do better.
Thomas Marques, 18
Hello my name is Thomas, I am 18 years old and I am Brazilian but I am living in San Francisco for now. Actually I don't have any experience in this area but I am really excited about learning more about climate changes and especially what we need to do to change the future scenario. I am really anxious about meeting this YCL team, I expect to learn a lot from everybody and I hope to teach you guys something as well, considering my age and my lack of experience in this field of course. Also I love listening to music (all kinds)