by Allana Rumble CLima Conference Director
“Why lead?” is a question worth asking.
Not all do. Many, perhaps most in fact, are content to follow, gliding along in the slipstream of the fast and furious ahead. I often wonder if they’re the ones who’ve got it right. Using the tracks in the snow laid out by someone else however means the direction may not be yours. Gliding along in a slipstream means the pace is determined by someone else.
Making a choice also means taking accountability for the consequences that result from that choice. Heading in the wrong direction or making a misstep are decisions that a leader has to accept ownership of….along with any opportunities and successes that also might happen to come their way.
These challenges and rewards of leadership are a difficult thing to teach. Leadership, in many ways, is something that must be done to be understood.
As an active member of the Global Issues Network (GIN) movement within Latin America since its inception in 2011 I have had the pleasure of observing students in the process of genuine leadership learning. When students tackle an issue of global importance through GIN they grow as collaborators, communicators, innovators and empowered global citizens. Perhaps this is why, when I discovered that the UNFCC Climate talks (COP 20) were being hosted in Lima, Peru in December of 2014 I knew there was a choice that had to be made and a direction to be decided upon.
This is the 1st time in 10 years the COP Talks have been hosted in South America. This presents an incredible opportunity for our community to be actively engaged in creating an innovative, student-led, impactful conference in advance of this major political event.
The exact shape this would take took some figuring out. GIN was a well developed network before it landed in South America and when our community was first approached about leading in coordinating the conference at Colegio Roosevelt in 2010 there wasn’t a reference for determining our readiness for the responsibility. I, along with many others, took a leap of faith that the opportunity would outweigh the challenges and that the potential to provide these opportunities of growth for student leadership were too significant to be ignored. In 2014 a choice again presented itself. When opportunity knocks, open the door. When an opportunity comes knocking to do something meaningful towards solution development on a global level…open the door…and call for all your neighbors to join in as well. After significant contemplation, collaboration, communication and innovation the concept of CLima was born.
CLima is a Student Leadership Climate conference being held from November 21-23, 2014 which is one week in advance of the UNFCC Climate Talks. CLima is the flagship, under 18 years of age, English Speaking, UN Youth Event for COP 20. This unique conference is open to students from Gr. 7-12 from around the world and will bring together elements of the Global Issues Network and Model United Nations for the 1st time. Our Global Issues Network participants will be developing solutions to issues of global importance connected to Climate Change in a GIN Select format with the ten global issues most closely connected to climate change being highlighted. Our Model United Nations students will be in committees developing resolutions to the same issues that will negotiated in the UN Talks the week following. Through our UN partners we will share their work. We have also developed our own TEDx Style event within CLima called EDx. It is an opportunity for a select group of exemplary young leaders to spread awareness about their passions and concerns surrounding climate change issues, as well as what is being done globally to address them. In the style of a TEDx Youth conference we aim that students teach students. Our objective is to bring global youth awareness to the most important meeting on the planet and to communicate the fresh ideas and energy of young leadership to those in need of a reminder in how to get things done.
“Why Lead?” lead so that others have a model to learn how to do so for themselves. In designing the CLima conference organizational core we set up 11 distinct teams so that each student could pursue their own area of passion while acquiring skills transferable to a later career path. Within this structure we have a student leader for the teams of; media, communications, technology, arts, entertainment and experience design, guest speakers, hospitality, business, carbon offset and logistics. Each team leader has their own team of students to manage and motivate along with a staff member on board for support and encouragement. The student leaders behind CLima conference planning amaze me on a daily basis. I asked why they choose to lead for the purpose of CLima conference organization. This is what they had to say.
“Conference organization gives you the opportunity to pursue something you are passionate about while using your skill set for a greater purpose.” – Lola Sanchez-Carrion, Ambassador of Ambassadors “The team structure for this event gives you the opportunity to work with new people and those with skill sets or interests different from your own.” – Maria Plevisani, Media Team Leader “A unique aspect of this leadership opportunity is the chance to coordinate an event that runs as pre-conference to a United Nations event. This is an event of global importance. It is the 1st time this type of student leadership opportunity has occurred within our region.” – Vasco Piva, Experience Design Team Leader “There are so many aspects of planning to be done for an event this size that there is no contribution that can be considered too big or too small. We will all contribute what we need to in ensuring this is done well.” – Jana Algaranaz, Business Team Leader “This is an opportunity to try something new. That is exciting. CLima brings so many different passions together and that brings new opportunities for learning and growth all the time.” – Gisella Silva, Logistics and Business “In organizing the guest speakers I have had a chance to connect with people I would not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise.” – Clemencia Pinasco, Guest Speakers Leader “The best part of CLima is that it allows us students to use our skills & passions to help save the world through authentic application of learning.” – Pedro Sanchez, Tech Co-Team Leader “CLima conference organization serves our school’s mission statement, “Our mission is to empower our students to pursue their passion for learning, lead lives of integrity and to create socially responsible solutions.” This conference is an opportunity for students with different skill sets to collaborate for a common goal.” – Diego Sandoval, Ambassador of Ambassadors “In organizing an event of this scale I have had the experience of seeing “behind the scenes” and have developed a newfound appreciation for the level of effort involved in event work.” – Carina Sacchi, Hospitality Team Leader “As CLima is a student-led event it has involved aspects of management that I had not originally anticipated. Managing a team of peers has been a valuable experience and has allowed opportunity for developing ownership and responsibility in the experience. We have great pride in being a model for leadership.” – Jamile de Medeiros, Communications Co-Team Leader “I’m only 17 and I feel I’m saving the world” –Barbara Aveggio, Arts Co-Team Leader
I am in these leaders slipstreams and have never been happier as an educator. I have complete faith in the direction they are headed and I know we will arrive on time to the destination we seek.
CLima conference planning is now well under way. Our website has been live since May 2014 and has, to date, received well over 7000 page views and visits from 42 countries around the globe. Please pay us a visit at www.clima14fdr.com if you haven’t done so yet. Registration is open and we are building a collection of conference participants with significant international representation. We sincerely hope you will be here to join us in this once in a lifetime occasion for genuine student leadership and engagement. If you have any questions about how you can become involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org
CLima Conference Student Leaders, August 2014 Bottom left: Barbara Aveggio, Gisella Silva, Clemencia Pinasco, Jamile de Medeiros, Maria Plevisani, Lola Sanchez-Carrion Top left: Carina Sacchi, Pedro Sanchez, Jana Algaranaz, Diego Sandoval, Vasco Piva, Diego Carriquiry, Daniela Delgado