Two inspiring students, Joanna Tao and Sungyeon Kwon, have been chosen to participate in the 9th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) as YRE representatives. The event is a week-long leadership development training programme which will bring together 1,000 of the most promising leaders in the world. As stated on the USLS website, "the Programme has been designed for young persons who are committed to making this world a much better place for the human race". The symposium will be held at the UN Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand from 1-7 August 2018.
Apart from being regular participants of the training programme, Joanna and Sungyeon will be working as Young Reporters. During the event, the two of them will be creating posts for the YRE social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtags #YRE_INT, #FEE, and #YouthLeaders. After the event, they will also create more in-depth articles and videos about certain topics that caught their attention during the seven days. Their work will be presented on the YRE Exposure page from the 14th of August.
Below you can read more about the two participants, including their experience with YRE and their expectations to the event.
Joanna Tao from New Zealand
"I am an 18 years old student from the University of Auckland, studying the Bachelor of Urban Planning with Honours. Throughout the years, I became aware of more environmental issues as I have noticed growing environmental concern both in my community and globally. That is when my interest in being an environmentalist grew stronger. Through my dedication to improving our global food waste problem by researching into local dumpster diving and food waste problems, I have written a report on dumpster diving in New Zealand. This has resulted in me becoming the national winner for YRE Writing Category for 15-18 years old in New Zealand, December 2016. I look forward to my full participation at the conference as I am honoured to be chosen as a YRE representative. It is expected that I will engage at a high level with other like-minded young people, as well as expand my knowledge of the SDG. Whilst doing so, I would also like to learn from speakers and experts at the conference who were able to utilise their passion for journalism and the environment in their careers. By attending the conference, it will allow me to expand my horizons and learn to advocate for the environment through different channels, on both local and global scale."
Sungyeon Kwon from Korea
"My name is Sungyeon Kwon, and I am an undergraduate student at Korea University. I major in Linguistics and Media & Communication. Collaborating as a team with my best friend, Yunhyun Heo, diverse experience in numerous different video competitions taught me about the power of media. This led me and Yunhyun to join the YRE competition, because we felt strong about the problems climate change brought in our country. The video is a story of a girl who experiences harmful effects of climate change caused by global warming. She realizes the seriousness of the problem and produces a broadcast media to share information on environmental problems. The main character, during the interview to make a film, finds out that climate change will amplify and be inherited to our descendants. To solve this problem, she comes up with the idea of utilizing diverse media to share opinions and information on environmental problems and make a motivation for the public to notice them. This shares the objective of the 13th SDGs goal, climate action, to fight against climate change and its impacts. As a result, the video won an honorable mention award in the 2018 YRE international competition, and I was gracefully selected as YRE representative. Instead, Yunhyun is currently serving his mandatory military service in the Korean Army. Now, as a YRE representative and delegate of Korea, I will be participating in the 2018 UN-USLS (University Scholars Leadership Symposium) in Bangkok, with another YRE representative, Joanna, delegate of New Zealand. During the symposium, I expect to reach youth empowerment, especially regarding the problems related to SDGs. I hope the winning projects of 2018 YRE competition become a motivation for adolescents around the globe to become YRE reporters themselves."