Alex Pommier is a member of the Cupertino High School UNICEF Club
Late last month, 31 teen leaders (Global Teen Leaders) from 15 different countries gathered in New York City to launch their involvement in the We Are Family Foundation’s Three Dot Dash global initiative. The event was the 2011 Just Peace Summit, based on the philosophy of young poet and peacemaker Mattie J. T. Stepanek.
I was honored to be nominated by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to attend this summit to further my community development work in Ethiopia and my involvement in the UNICEF High School Club Program.
|In a workshop on the power of film in storytelling, GTLs listen to members of the Invisible Children team tell their stories after watching the documentary, “Together We Are Free” about the power of youth in one of Invisible Children’s campaigns to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war.|
Having the opportunity to meet and work with the Global Teen Leaders (GTL) was incredible! Every GTL had a story and a dream for peace in the world. For example, Zuhal from Iraq unites ethnic groups by leading the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq, Shobana from Malaysia brings education to refugee children ignored by her own government, and Amala from India works to properly dispose of garbage in the slums of Bangalore. I discovered countless lessons on social action by learning about everyone’s experiences.
At the summit’s conclusion, each GTL was paired up with a mentor who would guide us in the next year in working on our projects to meet basic human needs throughout the world. For the next year, I’ll be working with my mentor to create a campaign to provide teens in Northern California high schools with the opportunity to learn from long-term, teen-led community development efforts in Ethiopia through a multi-year program involving fundraising, cultural discovery, supply collecting, and hands-on volunteerism.
At the same time, I’ll also use everything I learned and all the connections I made at the Just Peace Summit to continue working with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF through campaigns like Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, Believe in Zero, and UNICEF Tap Project! The Just Peace Summit showed me how teens from all over the world can come together, become one global family, and work to achieve a just peace.