YRE International Jury
Christopher Slaney is a freelance journalist and television news producer with thirty-five years experience, much of it in the Middle East and Africa. He started out as a television news cameraman when stations shot film which needed processing in a lab, editing was a skill involving scissors and glue, and getting stories on air when satellites were still a novelty often meant finding airline crew who would carry a spool of film to London or Paris. In 1990 he covered the release of Nelson Mandela from prison as a live transmission and thus began a new career producing live coverage of major news events. Notable credits include the handover of Hong Kong to Chinese rule, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat returning to Gaza, US presidential elections and the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Since 1998 he has worked mainly for the Associated Press, the world's global news agency but still welcomes the chance to use a camera and was recently in northern Iraq for PBS fliming a report on the Yazidi and Kurdish communities.
Julie Saito is a Programme Specialist of Communication in the Section of Education for Sustainable Development at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris. She started her 20-year journalistic career as Television coordinator for Nippon Television in New York and NBC News in Tokyo, which brought her an Emmy Award in 1986 as Associate Producer of KNBC’s production “Ring of Fire,” a series of stories on earthquake preparedness in Japan. After receiving her M.S. in Journalism from the Columbia School of Journalism in New York, USA, she worked for Japanese daily, Asahi Shimbun, as staff writer for 16 years. She joined UNESCO in 2007 as attaché de Press for the Director-General. Ms. Saito was born in Tokyo and has lived many years abroad: Bangkok, Nairobi, New York, Lyon (France) and currently in Paris.
Torvald Jacobsson is a senior advisor and expert with over 20 years experience from a multitude of areas within the sustainability field: business, science, film/TV production, art/entertainment, education and policy. He was Head of Scientific Research for the award-winning international documentary and TV-series “The Planet” on Earth System Science and Global Change. Since 2014, Torvald Jacobsson serves as the Founding Director of TheGoals.org, a new crowd-learning web platform for affordable mobile devices, covering the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals for young learners and distributed in collaboration with the World Organization of the Scouts Movement, FEE and other international and national partners. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ National Committee for Geography.
Ms. Mari Nishimura works in Ecosystem Division of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) focusing on Education and Youth in Nairobi, Kenya. Before joining the HQ in Nairobi, she worked on promoting sustainable lifestyles among urban youth. She led the education part of the activities towards SDG12 Sustainable Consumption and Production, responding to the need for new cultural and educational models to foster a new generation of citizens that integrate sustainability in their personal and professional choices. She brings in her hands-on experiences in the Economy Division office in Paris, the liaison office in New York and the regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Panama City.
Before joining UNEP in 2015, she worked in public policy and advisory at the European Union level covering issues related to Fluorinated gases as well as at the global level relating to Ozone Depleting Substances such as HCFCs regulated by the Montreal Protocol.
Anne Vela-Wagner is the Executive Director of the Mars Wrigley Foundation. She has deep experience in global strategy and partnership development and currently leads programming with partners in 20 countries around the world. In addition to a career in social impact, she has extensive corporate communications experience spanning content development, editorial, measurement and strategy. While leading the Foundation’s global partnerships, evaluation and overall management, she also leads the Mars Ambassador Program – a global, skills-based, volunteer program providing Mars Wrigley associates around the world the opportunity to use their business skills and passion to create positive social change. She has sat on numerous non-profit boards and committees and is currently part of a cross-sector task force to eliminate litter in the Chicago River. Anne holds a BA from the University of Illinois and a MSC from Northwestern University.
Pedro Marcelino is an award-winning Toronto-based documentary film producer and director, currently releasing his first full-length feature, When They Awake. Pedro's involvement with YRE started in 1995, as one of the first-ever students to participate in an international mission (Mission Antarctica). He later mentored students in Mission Azores and Mission Algarve, hosted by YRE Portugal. Over the last decade, he has collaborated with FEE and YRE in various events, and has produced the new YRE video tutorials and handbooks. Having started his career as a reporter in his school paper, he later became a photo reporter in Germany, and soon after an international correspondent and editor with a leading Chinese magazine, where he would focus on urban planning and the politics of urban space. A graduate in International Politics and International Development, he has worked all around the world with various governments, and with institutions such as the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, and the International Organization for Migration, on issues related to identity, migration, and security. An author with a dozen titles to his name, Pedro is currently a full-time filmmaker.
Mayra is a Salvadoran photographer with an academic background in Civil Engineering, masters in Design and International Commerce. Her work close to indigenous communities in underdeveloped areas in Latin America and India, has made a tremendous impact on the career as a photographer by conveying the message through the human factor in her body of work. Her experience in photography helped her to present, more artistically, the work of artisans around Latin America, a path she chosen to follow becoming a consultant in artisan production and commerce. It gave her the opportunity to see her dreams of empowerment and development in small rural communities to become true. Her photographic journey started with her father, an enthusiast for photographic technology; still she was the one doing the experiments and going beyond the rules. She now works at her studio located in Copenhagen and exhibits her work focusing on women issues in Latin America, India and Denmark.
Constant CJ Brand is a journalist with nearly 20 years of experience in communications currently working as a Press Officer at the European Environment Agency (EEA) in Copenhagen. During his two years at the EEA, he has helped to improve media coverage of key Agency work on climate change impacts and adaptation, air pollution and the circular economy as well as bolster the Agency’s profile on social media. He previously worked as a Press Officer at NATO in Brussels and prior to that was a staff reporter for the Associated Press and The Economist Group’s the European Voice covering European Union, NATO, UN and other news events across Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg based in Brussels. Constant Brand holds a Master’s degree in European Studies, Politics and Administration from the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium, and an undergraduate degree in Political Science (Honours) from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
Sasha Karajovic has been a member of the non-governmental organization "ECOM – Environmental Consultancy of Montenegro" since 2001, and at the end of 2002 he became the coordinator of international projects in this NGO.
Sasha started Blue Flag in 2003 and YRE in 2008. The last two years he has been engaged in launching the Green Key programme. In addition, Sasha is executive director of ECOM.
Parallel to activities in the NGO, he is also a journalist - an associate of the local public radio service Kotor.
Sasha is working for ECOM on a fully volunteer base and in his professional life, as an expert, he has more than 25 years of experience in spatial and urban planning; environmental, nature and cultural heritage protection and coastal area management.
Sasha is also a multi-year consultant to ministries and several municipalities in Montenegro for the field of planning and environmental protection, as well as international organisations UNDP, GIZ and ERM.
Anna is an environmental scientist specialized on climate change and international development. She has worked with governments, NGOs and civil society organisations on climate and energy issues. Was named by The Guardian one of the top campaigners to watch before Paris COP, and currently she Co-Directs Climate Tracker, a network of more than 10.000 young journalists around the world that focus on climate and environmental issues. She is interested in communication and politics, and hikes and organizes in her free time.
Filipa Murta is 21 years old and she is from Vila Nova de Milfontes, Portugal. Currently holds a degree in Communication Sciences from the University of Algarve, from which she held Erasmus in Malaga (Spain) for a semester. At this moment, she is in the 1st year of a Master's degree in Journalism at the Superior School of Social Communication, in Lisbon.
Her first contact with Eco-Schools happened in 2012, in the Colégio Nossa Senhora da Graça, when she was in the 9th year. Filipa first participated in the Eco-Reporter project of Energy and later became Young Reporter for the Environment at the Rock in Rio Lisbon Mission in 2014. She returned to this mission again in 2016 and 2018. She also represented the YRE at COP 22, in Marrakesh in 2016. The following year, she was in Estoril, in the Lisbon area, to join the YRE team in the Greenfest Mission. In 2018 she went to the north of Portugal to participate in the Eco-Schools National Seminary Mission in Guimarães.
Last year she debuted as Young Reporter for the Environment ambassador to a primary and secondary school on the island of Madeira, since she was trainee at RTP Madeira, one of the portuguese public media. This year YRE mission at the National Eco-Schools Seminar in Lagoa was one of her last projects. She has also been a monitor at four YRE National Seminars and has written some articles, reports and photoreports that went to the national and international JRA competition. She also joined some challenges on the platform such as "Report of the Month", international collaboration of an article with Kazakhstan and the submission of several videos to the contest, such as “25 videos for 25 years YRE”, among others.
Recently, she was awarded the 3rd Prize for “Best Promotional Video” of the YRE National Seminar in Viseu, won the 1st prize in the “Article” category, in the age group from “19 to 21”(YRE National Competition) and also obtained an Honorable Mention in category “Photography”, in the age group from “19 to 21” (YRE National Competition).