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Global Guidance for AquaAlliance

The AquaAlliance Forum is pushing for the finish line this weekend. Nine teams of teens from 20+ countries are working hard on creating ways to energize Buddies Without Borders communities to address the Global Water Crisis. What are the root causes and what can we do about it?


From Global Education to International Education, from MUN to ELL, from IB to Service Learning, the following individuals lead the way and showed our students how to make the world a better place:



Kick-off Speaker and Panelist - Mitchell LeGrand, USA

Mitchell LeGrand is the Educational Programs Manager at H2O for Life, a nonprofit dedicated to educating students on how they can take action on the global water crisis. He works with schools, teachers, and students that support W.A.S.H. (water, access, sanitation, and hygiene) interventions. He has worked with H2O for four years but participated in the program as a high school student. His educational background is in global studies and political economics, with his research being on the intersection of education and peacebuilding, both of which are essential to his work at H2O for Life. With nearly a decade of nonprofit and education experience, Mitchell is always excited to work with young people who want to change the world!


Panelist and Advisory Board Member - Teta V. Banks, Ed.D., USA and Liberia

The Honorable Dr. Teta V. Banks is a diplomat, educator and human rights advocate. Her parents were civil rights colleagues of Dr. King and Mrs. Rosa Parks. Dr. Banks is the first woman of African descent to be elected as Chair of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) and also previously as Chair of the United Nations Association- USA. The International Forum, established in 1988, is a leading educational and corporate consulting organization that provides training, analysis, research, speakers' series, curriculum development, and educational international experiences throughout the world. It has collaborated with corporations, government agencies, and NGOs to advance the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.


Panelist and Advisory Board Member - Andrew Hand, France and Australia

With tertiary qualifications in English Literature and Language, Sociology and Education, Andrew is a broadly experienced secondary educator who served 40 years as a teacher, administrator and educational leader in state and international schools in Australia, Malaysia, Switzerland, the United States and Germany, including the International School of Geneva and the United Nations International School, New York. Most recently he has recruited students for Forward College in Europe. He has led international education committees within the Educational Collaborative for International Schools and the Association of Australasian IB Schools. Andrew has also served on the Advisory Board of Pioneering Schools.


Panelist and Advisory Board Member - Valmir Gomes, Brazil

Valmir Gomes is an international educator and leader with experience in Brazil, China and the USA. He has worked as a humanities and technology teacher. In school leadership, he has worked as an Academic Dean, Student Dean and Principal and Educational Technology Specialist. He is currently a consultant in projects involving business development, educational initiatives and team development. Some of the companies he works with are PLUSSED+ and the Institute for Development Impact. In his last principal position, he led the Middle and Upper School Division of Whittle School & Studios in Washington, DC.


Panelist and Award Sponsor - Lauren Schmidt, USA and Tanzania

Lauren helps build the next generation of teen social entrepreneurs. She is a graduate of Columbia University, a member of the Association of International Educators and a learning partner with the Association of International Schools in Africa. She has over a decade of experience working with international students and has lived in Tanzania for 10 years as a Dean of Students on international development projects funded by Oxfam and HIVOS. Lauren currently helps students share their unique impact in essays as an App Mentor at Crimson Education, resulting in acceptance at Havard, Yale, MIT, Columbia, Stanford, Duke, Brown, Georgetown, John Hopkins and many more schools.


Panelist - Angolwisye (Ango) Paul Mwakisu, UAE and Tanzania

Ango Mwakisu has been serving as a recruitment and admissions officer for more than 10 years. Originally from the beautiful land of Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar, Tanzania, Ango is an alumnus of Jacobs University where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Communications, Systems and Electronics. He is an active member of the International Advisory Committee of the Collegeboard and the Governance and Nominating Committee of the International Association for College Admission Counseling. Mwakisu recently joined NYU in Abu Dhabi to continue his work in international recruitment counseling.


Panelist - Elisa Melendez Martin, Spain

With a professional experience focused, at its first stage, on Marketing, Communications and PR within the Telecommunications industry, Elisa experienced a career change by getting involved in the Education sector, firstly, in the Corporate Diversity area. Since 2016, she is the Head of Global Markets for Undergraduate programs at IE University managing a team of more than 30 international professionals based both in Madrid and at our international offices around the world. Elisa holds a Master in Marketing Management and a PS in Lobby & Advocacy from IE University, a Master in Prevention of risk at Work, Specialization in Security from the Centro Tecnológico Castilla y León and a BA in Translation & Interpreting from the Universidad de Valladolid.


Panelist and ELL Skills Guide Presenter - Nhu Anh Nguyen, Vietnam

Nhu Anh has taught English at Vinschool and Hanoi Academy in Vietnam. Her approach to teaching is to place students at the center of all lessons and to design all class activities and assessments to meet individual needs. Nhu Anh believes that each student is unique and she is energized by creating new ways to best support them. Reflecting on her own journey of education in Vietnam, and seeing the challenges still faced by Vietnamese students today as they enter the global education system, Nhu Anh has decided to pursue her MA in Education at Colorado State University in the USA in the near future, while continuing teaching English through her own creative language program.


IB Skills Guide Presenter - Shane Hanna, Ireland

Shane Hanna has been a teacher for over 15 years. Shane has been teaching English as an Additional Language and English B alongside his role as International Student Coordinator. He is a Steering Committee member of Philosophy Ireland, and a practitioner of P4C (Philosophy for Children) and CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning). He has been a guest speaker at the University of Limerick, Maynooth University and Trinity College Dublin. Shane holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Trinity College Dublin and is currently working towards PhD in University of Limerick.


Negotiation Skills Guide Presenter & Panelist - Nicole Bohannon, USA

Nicole Bohannon is a research associate for ISS. She performs research on labor rights, sustainability, environmental and social and corporate governance (ESG) issues to be voted on at annual and special shareholder meetings of publicly-traded companies. Nicole ran the global education program at the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area for several years. She graduated with her master's degree at King's College London. Prior to working at the UN Association, she worked in political fundraising, nonprofits, and consulting firms in Washington, DC. She graduated from George Washington University with a BA in International Relations and Affairs with concentrations in Latin America and Europe & Eurasia.


Award Sponsor - Marshall Bailly, USA

For more than 15 years, Leadership Initiatives has partnered with outstanding high school students to gain real-world experience, explore future careers, develop leadership skills and experience college life. By working to help break the cycles of poverty and dissatisfaction that plague so many communities worldwide, Leadership Initiatives connects small businesses with grassroots development in underserved communities in Africa. In total, Leadership Initiatives has created over 54 businesses, expanded 27 businesses and supported over 10,000 US student internships in the process.


The next opportunity for teens to earn global leadership and internship experience is here! This Fall we will explore Green Jobs in the Green Economy. How can we develop our careers while securing a prosperous future for all? Fill out the Interest Form and be the first to know when the application opens. We have a first come first serve rolling admission process, so be sure to get in line now.

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