Home News & Stories Paving the path for a reimagined future : 2017-21

Paving the path for a reimagined future : 2017-21

The years 2017-21 were rife with challenges, new opportunities, and unforeseen adversity with a global pandemic! When the Covid-19 pandemic struck at the turn of a new decade, the Melton Foundation, like many other organizations, had to evolve overnight. By envisioning a virtual future for Global Citizenship, it shifted its activities to the online world and connected with individuals remotely in massive numbers. Before the pandemic, it continued its conferences with renewed thrust.

Key Highlights —

  • The 2017 Global Citizenship Conference was Ashesi University’s first chance to host the event! We also made a very special documentary led by Senior Fellow Jerome Bailey Jr. – this film portraits how Melton Fellows from across the globe discover Ghana, their role as global citizens, and an affirming image of Africa.
  • Innovations in conferences – ‘Samagra‘ was born – A jubilant celebration of Technology, Sustainability, and Social Innovation, in Bangalore, India! The advent of the Global Solvers Co-Lab with Co-Lab: 489 UN-limited, a convening of the brightest minds to advance the SDGs! As a result, today we have a new entry into the Melton Fellowship, the ‘Global Solvers Accelerator’ a.k.a the Leadership Track! More on that soon 🙂
  • India GCC 2019 – In September 2019, we enabled 300 Global Citizenship practitioners, 25+ Collaborators, to celebrate a first-of-its-kind ‘open’ Global Citizenship week! Experience our last GCC to date here, and relive the year 2019 in our IMPACT REPORT here
  • Adapting to COVID-19 – The year 2020 was a year of metamorphosis. The beginning of 2020 coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and before we knew it, there was a ‘new normal. Our network adapted, evolved, and transformed in no time – Melton Fellows in Chile raised a COVID-19 Response Fund to provide immediate assistance to the vulnerable population who were severely impacted by the pandemic-induced restrictions, Digital Events such as our GC IdeathonSDG Innovation ChallengesClimathonsTownhallsVirtual Global Citizenship Week took shape and brought us all together! Read all about it in our IMPACT REPORT here
  • Our commitment to Anti-Discrimination – We also sparked MUCH-NEEDED conversations about us being a truly anti-discriminatory network. The Melton Foundation values the uniqueness of every person. Our diverse backgrounds enrich our communities and expand our perspectives. We condemn all forms of discrimination. In an attempt to confront discrimination in all forms, and gather inspiration from Zero Discrimination Day 2021 which rang the bells to end discrimination surrounding income, sex, age, health status, occupation, disability, sexual orientation, drug use, gender identity, race, class, ethnicity, and religion, we organized an Anti-Discrimination Townhall during Global Citizenship Week 2021, and continue to work with conveners.org to build the highest standards of anti-racism, acceptance, equality, and uphold DEI as an organization.

The 2017 Global Citizenship Conference was Ashesi University’s first chance to host the event. The new fellows had the opportunity to experience homestay which provided them with lessons enriched with newfound wisdom. The highlights of the GCC were the Springboard session and the hands-on projects where all participants had the opportunity to visit  and work at local  projects in the area of Berakuso. Fellows also participated on the 100 Acts of Global Citizenship activity, designing projects and forming their working teams.

During the Board Of Directors (BOD) meeting in Boston, it was decided to devote 2017 to exploring and designing ways to make the Melton Foundation more dynamic and accessible to fellows, partners, and funders in new parts of the world. The organization also changed its legal status from a “support non-profit organization” to a “private operating foundation.” 

The 2017 New Fellow Orientation (NFO) took place in Berlin, Germany from January 20 to January 25, 2017. Our new fellows were joined by senior fellows and Partner Organizations. The primary focus of the orientation program was empowering global citizens to unite for a cause, creating spaces to critically reflect on global issues and design solutions together. One of the highlights of the NFO was the fellow’s visit to Potsdam, just outside Berlin to visit the HPI School of Design Thinking. The D-school is a school for aspiring entrepreneurs and social innovators. Fellows were encouraged to design prototype projects for tackling complex issues such as animal protection, women’s health, mental health, gender equality, and so on.

Samagra 2017, a conference hosted by the Melton Foundation’s BMS campus, sought to explore the converging fields of Technology, Sustainability, and Social Innovation. The Melton Foundation supported five Fellows – Junior and Senior – in the form of a Melton Opportunity to deliver workshops and bring a global citizenship perspective to the activities.

The 2018 Global Citizenship Conference (GCC) took place from 22-29 October 2018 in Phoenix, AZ, USA. The Melton Foundation took its approach to “collaborate across boundaries” to greater heights through a partnership with Net Impact at the 2018 Net Impact Conference (NI18). This was the very first time the GCC was organized by the foundation’s staff without anchoring with a campus as the host. The partnership with Net Impact proved to be highly rewarding in terms of content, diversity of interests, and quality of presenters. Moreover, the fellows were exposed to a more open and diverse environment by attending the NIC18.

Over in Bangalore, Samagra 2018 was conducted again with much fanfare and enthusiasm. A new innovation that took place in 2018 was the Global Solvers Co-Lab : 489 UN-limited. Revolving around SDGs 4, 8 and 9, participants gained a deeper understanding about these SDGs, explored how they intersect, and developed strategies to mobilize meaningful actions in their communities and in their growing spheres of influence in order to generate impact locally and help push the needle on a global scale.

In September 2019, we enabled 300 Global Citizenship practitioners,25+ Collaborators, to celebrate a first-of-its-kind ‘open’ Global Citizenship engagement week, with inspiring Springboard Sessions, lively panel discussions, 5 hands-on workshops, 10 emerging Sustainability startups and companies at the Social Innovation Expo, an intercultural evening with myriad performances from different cultures, and ample networking opportunity through the week. Melton Fellows and India GCC 2019 participants collaborated with prime project centers in Bangalore, India – the Karnataka Human Rights Commission, community centers, the Dry Waste Collection Centre (DWCC) and Organic Waste Converter Plants in Bangalore to experience the grassroots efforts and effects of sustainable living.

The Melton Foundation also partnered with Civic Dinners to organize our first Networking event – A Civic Dinner around Sustainable Action. 80 guests and 10 Table Hosts, from over 6 countries, came together to discuss sustainable ideologies, veganism, mobility, zero-waste living, climate change, and other pressing global issues.

A Call for Civic Action at the International Civil Society Week, hosted by Bridge 47, invited 200+ civic actors from across the globe to share, discuss, and inspire novel initiatives furthering Global Citizenship Education, in Belgrade, Serbia. Contributing to the exchange, Melton Fellows showcased our #100Acts of Global Citizenship campaign. Senior Fellows Sabreesh Sekar, Cynthia Muhonja, and Director of Strategy Lars Dietzel joined a ‘Freedom Run’, in order to raise a voice for freedom, unity, and solidarity in our societies.

From 15-20 March 2019 in Berlin, Germany, we convened our newest batch of Melton Fellows to learn about intercultural exposure and development, social innovation and design thinking, and earmarking actionable ‘Commitments to Action’ around the Sustainable Development Goals.

The year 2020 was a year of metamorphosis. The beginning of 2020 coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Melton Fellows in Chile raised a COVID-19 Response Fund to provide immediate assistance to the vulnerable population who were severely impacted by the pandemic-induced restrictions. The Melton Foundation hosted multiple Virtual TownHalls which turned out to be vibrant online forums for discussions and evoked thought-provoking ideas.

Online Workshops engaged Fellows in meaningful conversations and equipped them with a variety of skills to deal with emerging challenges. Our intercultural Podcast series, Global Citizenship in Practice, which streams stories stitched together from a colorful fabric of cultural diversity continued to attract listeners and advance the discourse on collaboration and powerful actions.

The Fellows in the Learning Program successfully completed 25 Acts of Global Citizenship. They also developed three toolkits under SDG 3, 4, and 5 that will be turned into legacy projects and built upon further by the future generations of Fellows. At our Temuco Global Citizenship Hub, Together with partners, we organized a full-day Innovation seminar with a workshop about the Mapuche Cosmovision and Innovation.

In Bangalore, we connected to local organizations and beyond by organizing a Climathon about Waste Management and a very well-received virtual Townhall about Mental Health. As part of Climathon Temuco, multiple teams worked together to frame prototypes that ameliorate the air quality in Temuco, Padre las Casas and other cities in southern Chile. Climathon Hangzhou was hosted on our Zhejiang University campus. The theme for the event was ‘Waste management & Community involvement’.

The Global Citizenship Educational Week in Chile unfolded in conjunction with AFS Chile and Alfaduc. The Global Citizenship Virtual Ideathon convened SDG advocates, social impact crusaders, and Global Citizenship practitioners to work together on low/medium-fidelity prototypes that resolve global crises. Some of the final prototypes from our Virtual Ideathon have gone on to become full-fledged missions.

The SDG Innovation Challenge 2020 was a pan-African event. Devised around the theme of ‘ Securing the 2030 commitment beyond the post-COVID-19 Era ‘, the solutions were linked with mainly three SDGs – Good Health and Well Being (SDG 3), Quality Education (SDG 4), and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9).

In the afterward of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, the Melton Foundation issued a public statement condemning racism. This spiked a very important internal discussion about experiences of racism and discrimination within the organization’s network. Based on these discussions a Townhall was organized for reflection and for discussing steps on how to move forward. As a consequence, the foundation hired a consultancy firm that helps to review all operations through anti-discriminatory lenses.

To finish off an unprecedented year, the Melton Foundation became a vetted and trusted organization in 2020, joining some of the world’s best non-profits at Global Giving!

While we celebrate the triumphs of the last THIRTY years, we also reflect on our mistakes, and each one of us contributes to shaping a better tomorrow for the MF. Thank you for coming on this nostalgic journey with us! Retrace our history by starting from here!