2016 Global Citizenship Conference Recap: What a Week!
The 2016 GCC at Universidad de La Frontera in Temuco, Chile celebrated the Melton Foundation's 25th anniversary. Here are some of the week's highlights:
Nearly 400 guests filled the UFRO auditorium for the Springboard Sessions, the conference’s signature event. The all-female lineup enthralled the audience with their very different life stories and the lessons they’ve learned in their work for social change.
While Zahra Al-Harazi, Canadian Ambassador for UNICEF, called on the audience to embrace their “otherness” in order to leave their unique mark on the world, indigenous rights activist Myrna Cunningham said it’s time for all rights movements to work together towards a global movement.
Clara Vondrich used the climate movement to show that motivated, young people can truly make a difference in tackling big global challenges, and Marlou Hermsen called on fellows to find their purpose and use it to tackle the Global Goals – the greatest challenge of our generation – and make a global impact.
The Melton Foundation turns 25!
To mark the 25th anniversary of the foundation, several fellows gave emotional speeches throughout the week about the significance of the MF network in their lives.
“For me, the Melton Foundation is a family. A place that allowed me to see beyond, know other realities, become a better person, learn a new language. But most importantly, it helped me realize that I am not just a young man who lives in a southern country. It helped me realize that I am a member of this incredibly big thing that is humanity; That I’m an actor in this big scenario that is the world. That I am a global citizen and that my actions not only have an impact on my community, but also around the globe and the responsibility that this entails. The responsibility to change the world in our daily lives.”
– Francisco Andaur (UFRO fellow and Junior Fellow Board Representative).
“The Melton Foundation has truly been a psychedelic experience for me. By psychedelic I mean ‘mind revealing’ (for its etymological root). I have been able to make visible the thoughts inside my head,” said Senior Fellow May Garces. “The truth is that what you create, creates you back. The ideas that you practice inform you of who you are, your strengths and your weaknesses. Isn’t it amazing that we can do this as Melton Fellows? We agree on common values, and we can be intentional in making them real.”
Learning with and from the local community
Fellows and the university community got to interact, present their projects and learn from one another. Field trips to communities in the region facilitated exchange and offered real-world examples of gender empowerment, sustainable economies and cultural identity in the local context. Workshop sessions led by Senior Fellows and partners treated topics as varied as the Black Lives Matter movement, climate communication, grassroots girl empowerment, global energy consumption and sustainable growth, and indigenous identity.