The Defining Moments contest winners had a great day at Winterlude in Ottawa today, starting with a meet-and-greet at the outdoor exhibit, and finishing with skating on the Rideau Canal.
This afternoon, the artists were on-site at the Defining Moments outdoor display, to engage with the public and answer questions about their artwork and how their artistic process connects with their sense of Canadian identity. They braved the frigid temperatures and kept smiles on their faces the whole way!
Singer-songwriter Kaitlyn Purvis graced the Winterlude stage to sing her winning song "I am this Country" to a sizeable crowd.
After a break to warm up, we regrouped to for a skate on the Rideau Canal.
This weekend has been a great opportunity for these youth from all over the country to connect and get to know each other while exploring their Canadian identity.
On February 16th, winners of the Defining Moments youth art program gathered at the National Gallery in Ottawa to receive awards for their outstanding artistic achievements. Representatives from the federal government, the youth sector, and the arts community came together at the prestigious gallery to honour the 26 young artists who were handpicked by our national jury, as the standouts from over 700 submissions to the Defining Moments online global gallery. The ceremony was hosted by TakingITGlobal's co-founder and Executive Director, Jennifer Corriero.
This family day weekend, 12 of the 26 artists were brought to Winterlude courtesy of TakingITGlobal and the National Capital Commission (NCC), to share their perspective as young Canadian artists and celebrate the culmination of Defining Moments after two years of engaging youth from coast to coast. Attendees had the opportunity to meet the artists and peruse the exhibit on site at the gallery before the ceremony began.
Upon receiving their awards and prizes, each artist shared a personal reflection on the inspiration behind their artwork. The audience was captivated by the insight and diverse perspectives of our young artists and to hear how Canada continues to shape their sense of place and identity.
TakingITGlobal was pleased to welcome the Honourable Jamie Nicholls, Member of Parliament for Vaudreuil-Soulanges, to the podium to congratulate our young artists and share his personal journey in the arts as a young man living in Canada.
Also, in attendance was Brigitte Beaulne-Syp, Senior Program Officer of the National Capital Commission, who invited the public to visit Confederation Park to view the Defining Moments outdoor exhibit, on display until February 18th.
The young artists, who have joined us from 8 provinces in Canada, will be on-site in Confederation park for a meet and greet at the outdoor exhibit today, Sunday February 17th, from 12 to 3 pm.
Congratulations to all of our young winners!
Artists received an award and certificate, as well as prizes courtesy of Adobe, Pearson Foundation, the Canadian Museums Association, and Best Buy.
Innovate for Good is only in its 11th month of existence and already the community is having many positive outcomes, with plenty still yet to come. What began as an idea and a partnership between TakingITGlobal and Microsoft is now a community of 800 young social innovators leveraging technology to improve their communities.
Innovate for Good involves offline events as well as the online community. There were seven main events each in different regions of the world last year, each designed to get young people collaborating on innovative solutions. The year closed with an event in Dubai, where young people from the region spent the day developing their ideas into viable project plans. The new year will include many regional events across the United States, such as Washington, D.C. next week, as well as New York, and Silicon Valley in the coming months.
The event in Dubai led to six ambitious participants entering Sprout, joining ten other Innovate for Good members in this e-course which cultivates practical skills for starting social ventures. The previous round of Sprout saw eleven graduates, many of whom are actively readying their initiatives to launch. Innovate for Good members have generated about 60 idea pages that can be developed into real social innovations. Many projects are actively being developed by the recent group of Sprout graduates and current Sprout students – 27 people altogether.
Quoc Anh’s team in Vietnam has made a prototype app, Lifebox 365, which makes a record of positively reinforcing actions, tracking happy moments made towards life goals. Javier and Romina are creating JoinUpz, a platform to connect those who have great ideas to the necessary people, resources, and tools in order to achieve their goals and potential business ideas. Adrien, who was featured on the Microsoft Corporate Citizenship Blog, has created Tech4Kids, a project that teaches the foundation of programming to children in primary school as a way to solve social problems. While Quoc Anh, Javier, Romina, and Adrien are driven by their passion for doing good, Sprout gave each of them practical skills and tools, and a clear pathway to social innovation.
Each new event brings about 80 bright young minds to our online community. As our number of community members grows, so does the number of ideas generated, the number of Sprout participants, and the number of initiatives our members launch into the world. With about a dozen events slated for the next year, this thriving community will deliver the kind of impact we will be eager to tell you about.
On January 31st, young artists from across Canada came together to discuss how Canadian identity has shaped their artistic process, at a landmark event calledNational Projections. Over 100 attendees gathered to celebrate the culmination of theDefining Moments nationwide youth art program. Youth from coast to coast united through virtual interactive activities, and a featured in-person event in Toronto at theHouse of Moments art space.
The event featured artwork from the Defining Moments collection, by Rema Tavares, Alanah Correia, Aaron Leon, Peter Haeghaert, Aurora Johnsgaard, and Alexis Williams, displayed in lightboxes. Pieces by Toronto-based emerging artists Paul Guzman, Maria Sivagnanasundaram, Sylvia Chan, Ryan Graham, and Rija Ahsan adorned the walls.
The festivities began with a panel discussion on art and Canadian identity, hosted by TIG co-founder and Executive Director Jennifer Corriero. Panelists Theresa Laurico, Faisal Anwar, Rema Tavares, Morgan Booth, Ryan Graham, and Aidan Cartwright shared their perspective as young artists in Canada, and a group of youth from The Murphy Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland chimed in via Skype to share artwork they had created for the Defining Moments collection.
Next up was an Art Battle live painting competition, featuring 5 artists from Toronto competing on-site at House of Moments, plus 3 artists creating a joint piece in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (Aidan Cartwright, Beverley Rockwell, and Rae Braden).
Throughout the evening, attendees watched the progress of the Tweet Garden, an interactive projection created by digital/interactive artist Faisal Anwar.The Tweet Garden merged the program’s theme of youth and Canadian identity with TIG’s focus on technology and online community. Participants used Twitter to share their memorable Canadian moments before and during the event using hashtag #CDNmoments.
In addition to the main site of Toronto, concurrent satellite events took place in other parts of the country. “As we wrap up the Defining Moments program, the National Projections event brought together communities across the country who have contributed to the program, to continue the conversation about how young people express themselves as Canadians,” says Jennifer Corriero, Executive Director of TakingITGlobal.
We're excited to announce the winner of our second Commit2Act draw - Elizabeth from British Columbia, Canada!
Elizabeth has been a TakingITGlobal member for a couple of years. She says, "when I found out about Commit2Act I was so excited! I go on this app often, and I find it inspiring to see the actions youth are taking for a better world. Not only can I see the actions that other people are committing to, but I can read the facts on these actions and perhaps get ideas of what I can do to make the world a better place. It is really a cool app and I recommend it to all my friends!"
By taking action daily, Elizabeth is doing her part to reduce her environmental impact. "I bring reusable bags to the grocery store, use a reusable mug and water bottle, use reusable food containers, and take public transit." She inherited this interest in environmental issues from her parents. "I have grown up with great respect and appreciation for nature. This has led to my involvement in numerous conservation projects, and a passion to protect the environment."
Elizabeth sees technology as a way to connect young people who are interested in environmental issues. "Mobile tools seem to be very useful to get youth on board with environmental and social issues. Technology is all around us and it might as well be used to do some good."
We're happy to reward Elizabeth's efforts with an iPad, and look forward to the final Commit2Act draw coming up on December 15th, where a lucky user will receive an iPhone 5! For your chance to win, simply download Commit2Act in the App Store. For every day you take an action, you'll earn one entry into the draw. Or, if you don't have an Apple iOS device, email [email protected] with a description of the actions you've taken to reduce your impact.
TakingITGlobal is proud to announce the first of our Commit2Act prize winners - Pernille!
Pernille, who hails from Denmark, was selected as the winning Commit2Act user in our draw to reward youth who are using the app to reduce their impact on the environment. Pernille has always wanted to do something for the environment. "I think a lot about the environment every day, and I do everything i can to cut down on my CO2 emissions," she says. "So when i found the app Commit2Act i was very happy, because I could get new ideas for my 'mission', and also spread the word and try to get other people to think about the environment in their everyday lives. I also like the fact that it is a global app, so you can see what other people in other countries are doing. I just think that Commit2Act is a brilliant app!!"
We followed up with Pernille to find out about the actions she takes on a regular basis to be environmentally-friendly. "Well, for example, I wash my clothes in cold water to save energy and water. When I go shopping I always have a bag with me so I don't need to buy a plastic bag. I recycle everything I can." Her interest in the environment stems from childhood. "I first got interested in environmental issues when I was 11, because I saw a documentary with my Mom about polar bears. She told me that they could be extinct in a short time, because of CO2 emissions, and I said that I would save the polar bears, and ever since then I have done the best I could."
As a student training to be a web developer, Pernille sees the potential of mobile technology to engage young people in social and environmental issues. We're excited to reward her efforts with an iPod Touch, and look forward to rewarding other inspiring young people with the next two Commit2Act draws.
For your chance to win one of our upcoming prizes - an iPad on November 15th, and an iPhone 5 on December 15th - simply download Commit2Act in the App Store. For every day you take an action, you'll earn one entry into the draw. Or, if you don't have an iOS device, email [email protected] with a description of the actions you've taken to reduce your impact.
This past August, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of the Republic of China hosted a conference with the purpose of inspiring young people to learn about and take action on climate change. The "International Youth Leadership Summit for Climate Champions" was held in the city of Rudong, in Jiangsu province, just outside of Shanghai. As one of China's ecological demonstration areas, Rudong was an appropriate site for the event. Among its environmentally-friendly initiatives is the Rudong County Wind Farm Project, which takes advantage of the intertidal zone for offshore wind power generation.
The Summit was a partnership with I Live To Lead (iL2L), a U.S.-based youth leadership organization. The NDRC recruited 40 high school and university-aged Chinese youth from provinces across the country, and iL2L brought on board 25 international youth from around the world, representing a variety of countries including Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Kenya, South Africa, Denmark, Italy, Brazil, Pakistan, Canada and the U.S.
High-level speakers, including Su Wei, China's chief climate negotiator, shared insight on the challenges of climate change to the global community. Workshop sessions focused on what youth participants can do in their own communities to take action on climate change and foster environmental awareness. I led several sessions, sharing my experience in community-based environmental education and how TIG's various environmental programs - Commit2Act, Tread Lightly, DeforestACTION - as well as the broader TIG community can support youth as they research their interests and start their own initiatives.
Field trips highlighted the environmentally-friendly projects taking place in Rudong, including innovative recycling plants, energy conservation programs, and offshore wind power generation.
The highlight of the week for me was getting to meet and connect with a diverse group of young leaders - their motivation and positive attitudes were inspiring.
The opportunities for youth to be agents of change are increasing in number dramatically, with the spreading use of mobile technology and pace of its innovative applications. Twelve youth across nine countries – Canada, the US, Brazil, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Italy, Belgium, and the UK – were convened by TakingITGlobal on September 4th, 2012 to discuss some vibrant examples of recent mobile web technologies that are facilitating social change, many of which are being created or used by these same participants. The youth climate movement was well-represented at this Cisco-enabled teleconference, as these young leaders build upon the momentum of Rio+20 and look ahead to the COP 18 Meeting in Doha. This teleconference was an enriching discussion about how youth climate groups are using mobile technologies and creatively engaging politicians as well as the public, and many examples were shared from which other groups of young and aspiring change makers can find inspiration. The newly released Commit2Act Mobile App launched by TakingITGlobal was featured and highlighted as a key example of how systemic and collective change can be catalyzed through individual daily actions to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet. This effort was made possible through a partnership with Active Philanthropy and support from an anonymous donor who believes in the power of youth-led action in the climate movement. On a personal note, as I’m working to foster the Innovate4Good community where we are cultivating the talents and capacity of young people to do good, this meeting held some great examples of the kinds of projects we expect to develop this year.
As highlighted in the opening remarks by TakingITGlobal Executive Director, Jennifer Corriero who moderated the event, the boom in mobile usage and mobile social technology is truly impressive: there are 6 billion mobile usage cellular subscriptions at present compared with 2.2 billion in 2005, according to ITU Statistics. Some political uses of social media are now quite common – hashtags are used at major events everywhere to generate interest and point to highlights or summaries. Two of our participants – Liam O’Doherty, Community Partnerships Coordinator, TakingITGlobal and Cameron Fenton, National Director, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition – joined us remotely from the CIVICUS World Assemby in Montreal, where they are using #civWA. In the past these participants used #RioPlus20 and, notably, #RioFail. That latter tag was used by so many conference attendees that it trended on Twitter and got the youth climate movement spotlighted in The Guardian. Youth are using social media on mobile devices to empower their ability to coordinate, organize, and mobilize their meetings and messages.
Mobile web applications are developing as well and, in some cases, by the hands of activists and people looking to contribute to positive change. Liam O’Doherty, who did a presentation at CIVICUS on Commit2Act, says the full potential of the app is in using Online to reinforce actions Offline, as well as connecting people around their mutual actions. The app can be integrated with other campaigns, just as it will be used to get people to come to an upcoming event in Canada called Powershift. O’Doherty views mobile web technology as the latest step in the development of the web. Cameron Fenton, one of the organizers of Powershift, plans to develop an app for just for their upcoming events. With this app, activists can be asked to commit to acts in real time such as registering others, or being prompted once checked in at a location to call or message politicians.
Our participants from Rome and Brussels contributed their lessons from recent experiences. Frederico Brocchieri is based in Rome, and is the Youth Director of the Italian Climate Network, a branch of the coalition which he started after noticing he was the only Italian youth participants at COP 17 in Durban. He says the power of mobile web to spread news immediately, and to share climate news. Recently he found that a picture can spark a global conversation. He tweeted a snapshot with a caption of a spot in the Alps where he had observed significant loss of snow and ice in his lifetime, and this was retweeted by a weather reporter and made its way to the news.
Preslav Mitranov is based in Brussels, and is Vice-President of Junior Achievement Young Enterprise Alumni Europe, which supports students starting microenterprise. He is also a member of the Innovate4Good online community. He is involved with developing an app for JA-YE Alumni Europe’s Changing Lives Campaign. The campaign focus is getting Alumni to engage classrooms, sharing with students about how companies can benefit themselves and their communities. The app will allow these young leaders to take a picture of the classroom they spoke to, and upload the image to the campaign in order to monitor and track progress towards the goal of reaching 100,000 students.
Most of these examples are being done by youth and for youth, however these notions are also integrating into more formal settings to innovate policy governance. Steadman Noble contributed such an idea at this meeting. Calling in from London, Noble has been a Youth Policy Consultant with the Commonwealth Secretariat. With his current work, Noble evaluates policy across countries and is considering how to use technology more broadly. Noble sees an opportunity for youth to use mobile web technology to provide feedback on policy results they are experiencing in day-to-day life, and he is researching how this can be done.
It was challenging to contain this conversation within the strictures of a one hour teleconference, because clearly this topic resonates with young leaders. We’re looking forward to seeing what the youth climate movement will do with Commit2Act and other apps at upcoming events such as PowerShift and COP18 Doha, and what can be created through the project-focused Innovate4Good community.
It is an oft overlooked fact, but in today's world it can be so easy to forget about the importance of eating well.
Our generation has inherited a highly disfunctional food system, and along with it, poor diet and a global epidemic of diet-related diseases which has led to 43 million children under the age of 5 being overweight, while millions of others around the world go hungry. There is more than enough food to feed our entire global population, but inequal distrobution in our food systems results in a great divide between those who have enough to eat and those who do not.
We have the opportunity to change this system; creating sustained change is not easy, we need a revolution in the way we think about food in order to empower individuals to understand how food contributes to global challenges like obesity, povery, sustainability and human rights.
Starting with Education to better understand all of the ways food has an impact on us and our world is an important first step towards unleashing the change we wish to see.