Global Youth Leaders Offer Advice on Living Fearlessly 183

Global Youth Leaders Offer Advice on Living Fearlessly

Leadership and courage are not determined by age. On Friday evening at the Resnick Aspen Action Forum, Adria Goodson, chief program officer of the Pahara Institute, spoke with five young leaders from across the globe— Annabel Lee from China, Isaiah Son Pather from South Africa, Salvador Gomez Colon from Puerto Rico, Daniel Mills from Florida, and Lucia Fernandez from Georgia.
Goodson kicked off the discussion by asking the panelists how they have acted as bold leaders. Annabel has decided to focus on girls’ access to secondary education in China, an issue that she believes does not receive the attention it deserves. “I have seen China’s rapid growth and the problems that this rapid growth has led to,” she said. As a result, the country’s focus is often on pollution or the socioeconomic gap.

Last year, Annabel and her sister started Wings for Girls, a program that raises money for young girls living in remote villages to attend high school. The program also promotes awareness of China’s education gap. By the end of the year, Lee hopes to have helped eight girls achieve their dream of going to high school.

Isaiah is from Cape Town, South Africa and attends a school with a majority white population. "It can be quite a difficult environment for boys from alternative religions, backgrounds—social and economic," he said. To address this issue, Isaiah spoke to the school's faculty during a sustainability conference, focusing on the idea of embracing one’s identity. He encourages students to be proud of their backgrounds and who they are.

Lucia is also dealing with issues of race and identity at her school in Atlanta. There is a wide socioeconomic gap in her community. "We have students who live in million dollar homes and students who live in Section 8 housing," she said. After four girls — who were white — posted pictures mocking an African community living on Georgia’s coast, the Anti-Defamation League’s coalition “No Place for Hate” was asked to speak at the school.


"We talked about some things that we had never said before," Lucia said. "I shared how in a time in my accelerated math class, a substitute asked me if I spoke English." Although not all the students took the coalition’s message seriously, Lucia and her friends were not discouraged, they joined the coalition. She remembers her mom asking her if she wanted things to change or stay the same. “That was my motivation,” Lucia said.

A year after meeting Grant, his first friend with autism, Daniel’s family adopted a child affected by the same condition. These experiences inspired Daniel to educate his peers on the many facets of autism. Along with Grant and his brother, Daniel created a presentation that they showed the dean of the school. They were then asked to present it in front of the entire student body. Daniel remembers that moment vividly. In some ways it was terrifying and it some ways you could say it was exciting because you could tell these kids were learning something new," he said.

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Salvador felt hopeless. "The first thing that struck me was the absence of light," he said. This inspired him to create a campaign that distributed solar lamps and hand-powered washing machines to the island’s hardest-hit communities. He did this because he realized that the problems of his fellow citizens would not solve themselves.

The young leaders offered advice to the adults in the audience. They encouraged them to let go of their pride, speak the truth, and do the right thing, even when it is difficult. They also refuse to be put in a corner because of their age.

"Age is just a number,” Salvador said. “It shouldn't define your maturity, responsibility, or potential to do good and take action."
Blog AGLN Blog 07/28/2018 2:32pm EDT

Leave a Comment

No Data Available

Other Recent Posts


Explore upcoming opportunities to come back together with this community and continue the journey of fellowship. October 14-15, 2023 | Dubai, UAE AGLN Fellow Reunion in Dubai Fellows across the AGLN, especially those in China, India, Africa and the Middle East, have expressed a desire to reconnect with one another to build deeper bonds in a location ...

Added by Samantha Cherry Blog AGLN Blog 08/02/2023

Charles Conn is a 2001 Henry Crown Fellow. He is co-founder of Monograph, a life sciences venture firm, and chair of Patagonia. Charles co-authored best-selling Bulletproof Problem Solving , and newly released The Imperfectionists: Strategic Mindsets for Uncertain Times (Wiley 2023). Our Operating Context We live in a different world than the one ...

Added by Charles Conn Blog AGLN Blog 05/16/2023

Together with the McNulty Foundation, we're excited to announce the Winners of the 2022 John P. McNulty Prize , three individuals who have leveraged their expertise, experience, and networks to build and lead transformative social impact ventures. Their transformative social ventures are striving to end malnutrition worldwide , sparking a ...

Added by Samantha Cherry Blog AGLN Blog 07/18/2022

More than a year after the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, the American political landscape reflects the yawning divides highlighted on that violent day and reveals the extent to which extremist beliefs have become part of the mainstream. As the 2022 midterm election campaign kicks into high gear, I’m deeply concerned about the state of ...

Added by Jonathan Greenblatt Blog AGLN Blog 02/25/2022

Fellows across the network are tackling issues like good education, diversity on boards, cross-community dialogue and more. This Giving Season, we're excited to share causes close to the hearts of Fellows across our global community. Read below and consider giving or getting involved in these incredible organizations.

Added by Jael Lewis Blog AGLN Blog 11/24/2021