Turning challenges into opportunities – Global Citizen Scholars engage in inspiring talk with Arrey Obenson, CEO of Transformunity

 

Last week, our current Global Citizen Scholars and Alumni from the program had the chance to attend an expert workshop with Arrey Obenson, CEO of Transformunity. Transformunity is a consulting company that tackles the opportunities of organizations, drawing on expertise in movement building and citizens engagement to accelerate positive change and sustainable development for a better future.

Based on his experiences from the past 20 years, Arrey shared his personal theory of change, kicking off the workshop with an inspiring speech on how we can choose between two roles when we approach challenges: spectator or actor. He emphasized that only one role will lead to finding solutions and living a prosperous life.

“I choose to be an actor rather than a spectator. I see life as a stage where we have a choice to be in the audience cheering others on or can use the opportunity to play a role”.

During the workshop, Arrey prepared a thought-provoking exercise for our scholars and alumni and asked them to write down what challenges they saw standing in the way of their success. Afterwards he asked them to determine opportunities within those challenges.

We all know how incredibly challenging this year has been, as our realities were significantly altered by the global pandemic Covid-19. But as Arrey and our global citizen scholars discussed, the crisis has also brought with it many opportunities, including new ways of learning through increased access to online education globally as well as opportunities for international cooperation and gatherings without burdening our resources, both in the financial sense as well as the environmental sense. These are just a few of the opportunities that were shared.

Instead of focusing on challenges alone, Arrey advocated looking at the possible opportunities and solutions. Arrey exemplified Africa as a case where challenges often overshadow the opportunities in the global dialogue. However, he sees so many opportunities! To Arrey, it is a “land of a billion opportunities”, vastly rich in 1.2 billion human resources.

Moreover, he illustrated how his theory has proven successful in his own work. After the outbreak of Covid-19 in Cameroon, Transformunity organized a massive education campaign on health and wellness: “Covid-19 was the challenge, but the opportunity was to build resilience in Cameroonian communities against infectious diseases”.

To conclude his presentation, Arrey encouraged everyone to turn every challenge into an opportunity.

Following the workshop, the scholars had the chance for peer-to-peer exchange with the alumni of the scholarship program who joined the call. After a round of introductions, the scholars were sorted into breakout rooms to connect and network.

At the end of the breakout room rotations, Program Officer Julia, thanked the scholars for their participation and shared ways for them to stay in contact!

We are very excited to celebrate the closing of this year’s scholarship program on December 15th! Stay tuned for information for how you can join the virtual event and watch our scholars present their SDG Micro-Projects!

Second Expert Workshop with our Global Citizen Scholars!

“Start small, start with something and have trust that it will grow.”

Zoe Kelland

This week, our Global Citizen Scholars had the opportunity to attend their 2nd Expert Workshop hosted by the BKMC featuring Zoe Kelland, Digital Campaigns Director at Global Citizen.

During the workshop, Zoe shared her experiences working with both Global Citizen and her own NGO Nakuru Children’s Project in Kenya and offered advice on how to scale a movement. She also had the opportunity to hear from each scholar about their own SDG Micro-Project for their communities.

During her presentation, Zoe shared some background information about Global Citizen, including their mission and the tools they use to activate over 4 million global citizens around the world.

Zoe also highlighted the organization’s tremendous impact over its’s 10-years of existence.

Additionally, to illustrate the way that Global Citizen works, Zoe exemplified a case-study in Sub-Saharan Africa where 1 in 10 girls miss school during their menstrual cycles. In 2018, Global Citizen organized a massive music festival in Johannesburg, South Africa in honor of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday. In the lead-up to the festival, Global Citizens sent 86,000 emails and 22,000 tweets to the South African Government demanding removal of the tax on sanitary products, funding for adequate sanitation in schools, and the provision of quality menstrual hygiene education for boys and girls. As a result, President Ramaphosa appeared on the stage during the festival and committed to taking action to provide sanitary products to girls with vulnerable backgrounds across the country.

Zoe also shared a bit about her NGO Nakuru Children’s Project in Kenya. Nakuru works in partnership with government schools to support vulnerable children through every stage of their education: providing free school meals; building classrooms; paying their school fees; and establishing extra support for children with special needs.

Since its founding over 10 years ago, Nakuru Children’s Project has directly impacted an estimated 2,000 children — through providing 330,000 free school meals; sponsoring 148 kids through secondary school; building 20 classrooms and other facilities; and creating a special needs unit where 42 children now learn.

To conclude her presentation, Zoe offered her advice for how to scale a movement:

  • Find a gap in the Market
  • Make it accessible
  • Tap into influencers
  • Use the power of storytelling
  • Start small and it will grow

To learn more about Global Citizen visit: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/

To learn more about Nakuru Children’s project: https://www.nakuruchildrensproject.org.uk/

The 2019 Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen scholars present their project ideas to the BKMC Board members!

The new batch of the Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen scholars of this year met with the Ban Ki-moon Centre team and its Board members in Alpbach on August 25th. A total of 6 scholars were chosen this year respectively from Rwanda, South Korea, Ghana, Jordan, and Nigeria. The scholars presented their innovative ideas and projects aimed to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in front of the Centre’s co-chairs and Board members and received some suggestions and advice on how to move forward with strategic plans to make the most impact. Salahaldeen Alazaizeh, who is a Business & Innovation Designer at مؤسسة فاي للعلوم Phi Science Institute introduced “Xi Education” which is a social enterprise that aims to educate undergraduate students, equip them with advanced skills and give them an interactive experience to enhance their knowledge in research, applied science and innovation. He stressed the importance of advancing the SDG 4: Quality Education and creating a solid scientific community of young multi-disciplined youth in Jordan.
“Presenting my project in front of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens team, listening to the inspirational story from Co-chair Heinz Fischer and getting structured feedback from Co-chair Ban Ki-moon himself was one of my best experiences here in Alpbach!” – Salahaldeen Alazaizeh
Eun Ji Scarlett Park from South Korea presented her project idea on “Rain Water Harvesting” by using rainwater jars that are environmentally friendly, cost-efficient, and sustainable. She tackled the issues of increased population and pollution as well as other impacts of climate change.
“I have truly learned to acknowledge myself as a global citizen. As an individual with passion, we can be a good leader; but with the drop of compassion, you can be a global one.” – Eun Ji Park
Oyindamola Adegboye from Nigeria introduced “Common Futures Conversations” initiated by Chatham House: The Royal Institute of International Affairs where she serves as a Country Representative of Nigeria. The program’s objectives are to address the disconnect between young people and traditional policy-making processes at both a national and international level; to use digital dialogues to give young people to opportunity to enhance their understanding, connect with peers and develop their own ideas; to make their voices heard; and to foster more global cooperation on controversial and highly-debated issues. She suggested the digital hub and the CFC communities as solutions.
“I was mostly inspired by the work of the other young scholars who are doing amazing things towards a more equal and sustainable world. The passion and innovation were evident in the atmosphere and I was privileged to be in the midst of such people. They give me hope for the future of the world.” – Oyindamola Adegboye
The “Light to Read” project was initiated by Samuel Afadu who is the founder of Light My World International. In Ghana, “over 6 million people are living without electricity in their homes,” he said.
“Providing solar-powered lamps to school children in communities with no access to electricity in Ghana will enable students to study at night, improving their education and knowledge level while reducing the expense of money used by their parents to provide light for the family.” – Samuel Afadu
Belinda Isimbi Uwase, Founder of the Girls Light Our World (GLOW), explained her project which supports young girls who have recently graduated or are still in high school in Rwanda. She said the group intends to provide a platform for female students to freely express themselves, learn new skills and contribute to their community through volunteering and taking actions. After presenting her project, Uwase said,
“Having the honor of presenting my project to such influential people was a dream come true. I felt an overwhelming feeling of pride and gratitude, and I am so thankful to the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens for giving me this opportunity. I have never felt so proud to be a global citizen.” – Belinda Isimbi Uwase
Daniel Park from South Korea presented his idea of connecting directly with farmers through an online platform in order to empower farmers and to have them have a 100% profit from their products. To execute the project, Park said that there needs to be some support from volunteers and NGOs and that sharing knowledge with others is crucial. After sharing his project ideas, Park expressed his appreciation for having an opportunity to share his ideas and to learn from the other change-makers and leaders from all over the world.
“It was a truly amazing experience in Alpbach where I had an opportunity to see and listen closely to many global leaders such as former SG Ban Ki-moon.” – Daniel Park
One of the scholars from last year Alhassan Muniru, Co-founder of Recycle Up! Ghana, also participated in the meeting to share his experience and his own project ideas with the new scholars. The BKMC Board members, including the co-chairs, congratulated the scholars on their progress made and encouraged them to continue their impact while applying a global citizenship mindset. At the end of the presentations, the scholars were awarded the “Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen Scholarship” certificate. Learn more: https://bankimooncentre.org/projects/global-citizen-scholars-fellows Ⓒ BKMC / Eugenie Berger

The Ban Ki-moon Centre mentors young researchers writing paper on the SDGs

Young researchers from the Regional Academy on the United Nations visited the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens on May 9th. The group of three young scholars from Austria, the Czech Republic,and Germany presented their ideas for conducting researches on the SDGs. As their mentors, BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer and CEO Monika Froehler encouraged the group, stressing that their inputs will also inspire others to take initiatives and further actions to make changes in society as global citizens, The group’s research findings will bring together and reflect varied perspectives and fields of expertise with the examples of best practices. A 20-page research paper will be submitted by the end of this year and presented at the RAUN conference in early next year. Learn more: http://www.ra-un.org/

Ban Ki-moon encourages the new scholars of the Global Diplomacy Convergence Program

The Global Diplomacy Convergence Program (GDC Program) of the Global Diplomacy and Trade Institute at Konkuk University celebrated its first matriculation ceremony on January 10th, 2019. Co-chair Ban Ki-moon attended the ceremony to deliver a speech and encourage the scholars to become global leaders who possess international competitiveness. Established in last November, the institute welcomed about 50 scholars who have expertise in various different fields. The GDC program offers lectures given by diplomats, world leaders, and experts in the field of international trade and diplomacy.

Ban Ki-moon Centre’s First Global Citizen Scholars – European Forum Alpbach 2018

This year, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens sponsored four scholars to attend European Forum Alpbach in Tyrol, Austria. These “Global Citizen Scholars” were nationals of countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. To be selected, each scholar had to show that they were active as global citizens in their communities. Whether founding their own NGOs or participating in leadership roles in already established youth and women’s empowerment organizations, the selected scholars displayed outstanding dedication to the principles of global citizenship. During the Forum, the scholars had a busy schedule, including opportunities to engage face-to-face with the Centre’s Board and Co-chairs. One event was dedicated to the scholars sharing their stories and plans for their future work as global citizens. After their presentations, they each received a certificate of achievement.   The Scholars: Alhassan is Ghanaian and pursuing his Master’s degree in a joint international MSc program in Sustainable Development, majoring in Energy and Material Resources. Alhassan is also a co-founder of Recycle Up! Ghana (RUG), an NGO working to educate and empower Ghanaian youth to develop local solutions to waste problems. To learn more about this initiative, check out their website! Loan is Vietnamese and enrolled in a joint program for her European Master’s in Social Work with Family and Children. Loan is a trained Social Worker and recently served as the Manager of “Alumni Hands-on Mentorship,” a partnership with the US Embassy in Hanoi that connects undergraduate alumni from rural communities with alumni mentors from the Vietnam-US Alumni Club. Mohammad is Lebanese and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. After experiencing life as a refugee first-hand, Mohammad was empowered to pursue his higher-education by the United Lebanon Youth Project (ULYP). Today, Mohammad gives back to his community as a volunteer with ULYP and is a passionate advocate for education for all. To learn more about ULYP, check out their website! Juliana is Palestinian and is enrolled in a Master’s degree in Human Resource Counselling. She recently served as the Vice-President of the local Youth Council in Bethlehem-Palestine. The Youth Council creates opportunities for its members to implement initiatives that serve the city and to represent Bethlehem in many local and international events. To learn more, check out their work here. Stay tuned for more updates on the Centre’s Global Citizen Scholars! These four change-makers are now alumni and ambassadors of the scholarship program and the Centre looks forward to watching them continue their journeys as global citizens! Photo: Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens

CEO Monika Froehler Conducts Workshop at the Regional Academy on the United Nations 2018

CEO Monika Froehler of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens was invited to give a lecture-workshop at the Regional Academy on the United Nations (RAUN) held at the Vienna International Centre today. RAUN is an international and multi-disciplinary program that allows youth to discuss issues related to the UN and international affairs. Participants are Master and PhD students who get to conduct group research projects in close cooperation with an international organization like UNDP, UNODC, UNIDO, UNEP, IOM, OSCE etc. This year’s theme is “Innovations for Development: Towards Peaceful, Sustainable and Inclusive Societies.” During the workshop, 48 students learned about the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s vision and work and participated in group works on the topic of global citizenship. The students were split into working groups to brainstorm and exchange ideas about the concept of global citizenship and how to effectively promote it. One speaker of each group presented on the outcomes of their discussion. The winner team was awarded the Ban Ki-moon Centre pin. The first sessions of this year´s RAUN class were held in Bratislava and Vienna from May 9-11. The RAUN scholars will continue their journey to Budapest in September and come back to Vienna from 15-18 in January 2019. The academic responsibility for the program is carried by the RAUN project manager headquartered in Vienna. With assistance from mentors, UN practitioners and guest lecturers, the participants will write research papers which will be published through RAUN. Their research will result in the students developing their knowledge in respective areas, integrate theoretical knowledge on policy situations, advance practical thinking, obtain methodological tools for research, and advance their competence to analyze. Source: http://www.ra-un.org/