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Global Support for Teen Thinkers

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead


In just two days, we will learn which team has the best idea to invest in and to improve a women-owned business on the microloan KIVA platform in their assigned country (click on the link to vote for your choice - voting ends tomorrow, May 5)


Guiding the students along the way are our speakers, workshop presenters and team coaches. Please join us in thanking these amazing individuals for their inspiring work in this global community.


Kick-off Speaker, Panelist & Board Member From USA / Liberia Hon. Teta V. Banks, Ed.D. 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 United Nations Association- USA and also to the Executive Committee of the World Federation of United Nations Associations. 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.

Destination Workshop Presenter & Panelist From Tanzania and USA Lauren Schmidt, MSW 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.


Workshop Speaker

From USA and Singapore Natalie Ngu Natalie Ngu is a Strategic Partnerships Associate of KIVA. Kiva (www.kiva.org) is a mission-driven technology non-profit. We run a global marketplace platform for crowd-funded micro-loans to serve the financially excluded in sectors such as education, water, clean energy, and refugee resettlement. Kiva combines the culture and approach of an internet start-up with a mission to alleviate poverty. We aim to drive social impact and enable opportunity while providing a borrower-to-lender connection: “Loans that change lives." In just 15 years, Kiva has raised nearly $1.5 billion in loan capital for more than 2 million borrowers in 84 countries. Kiva’s lenders fund over $1 million in loans every 3 days.

Higher Education Preview Workshop Presenter

From Armenia and Spain Mane Nalbandyan

Mane is originally from Armenia when she started her career as a marketing and social media expert in a gaming company. She has always been passionate about education and moved to the international education sector for the past 5 years. She works as a Senior Regional Manager for the Asia Pacific region in IE University´s Global Markets team. Having international education and spending a year in IE University, she is now based in Madrid and heads IE´s international offices in Asia and Oceania in order to guide students through their educational journey.

Advisory Board Member

From France and Australia Andrew Hand Andrew is a broadly experienced secondary educator serving 37 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. He has led international education committees within the Educational Collaborative for International Schools and the Association of Australasian IB Schools. Andrew currently serves on the Advisory Board of Pioneering Schools.

Panelist & Advisory Board Member From Brazil Valmir Gomes 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 From UAE and Tanzania Angolwisye (Ango) Paul Mwakisu 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 From Spain Elisa Melendez Martin 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.

ELL Skills Guide Presenter & Panelist From Vietnam Nhu Anh Nguyen 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 From Ireland Shane Hanna 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 (tbd)

From the USA Nicole Bohannon 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. Scorer From Poland and France Kasia Buszka Kasia is studying double bachelor's at an international university. Since she remembers she has been involved in solving problems within her communities and making a positive social impact. Her professional life is based on three pillars: charity and social impact projects, business/ startups, and policy making. With experiences in organizations such as Europan Youth Parliament, EYP or Erasmus+ but also creating projects and startups of her own she is aiming to share and gain more and more knowledge. She is constantly evolving in all three fields as she believes that continuous development is what makes her happy and fulfilled. Team Coach

From Japan and the USA Miyu Sakurai Miyu is a student at New York University studying Applied Psychology. In high school, she participated in Model United Nations conferences in New York, Berlin, and Boston. She has also participated in World Scholar’s Cup tournaments in Hanoi and at Yale University. Currently, she is passionate about mental health in children and adolescents and spends her time teaching young children English and Japanese. Miyu has served as a Team Coach for several Buddies Without Borders Online Forums. Team Coach

From USA Calla O’Neil Calla O'Neil is an incoming freshman at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service. She is passionate about finding ways to bring people together to tackle the world's greatest challenges. Calla serves as a founder and co-chair of the National Youth Board at Graybridge, a non-profit working to fight racial injustice through building racial unity in schools and businesses. In addition, in 2020 she began working with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society where she lead a group of twenty-one high school girls to become the 2021 National Capital Students of the Year and now serves on the LLS Junior Leadership Team. Calla first became involved with Global Education Destinations in the summer of 2019 when she participated in the first Buddies Without Borders forum. She is thrilled to join the team of coaches and hopes to help other students leave the forum just as influenced and inspired as she did when she was a part of it.


Award Sponsor

From the USA Marshall Bailly 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 teen thinkers to collaborate and speak up is here: AquaAlliance: Mobilizing Youth for Global Water Access. Join us to make the world a better place, one teen, one idea and one action at a time!

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