Youth Virtual Conference 2016 - successful

Youth Virtual Conference 2016, 2 March 2016, Grand Rapids

parts of this report were kindly provided by Ibrahim Akibu Ja'afaru (RCE Minna, Nigeria)

Grand Rapids RCE introduced an initiative to host an annual Youth Virtual Conference on sustainability related issues. For the past 2 years they have successfully connected schools from eight countries on three continents in real time to present and discuss issues pertaining to sustainability such as water and food systems. The 3rd Annual Youth Virtual Conference on “Energy Systems and Sustainability” was held on March 2nd, 2016. Multiple secondary schools (ages 14-19) from RCE cities across the world were linked in a four hour, peer-education symposium. Each class/student group presented their research on sustainability related energy issues of interest to them and their region. Participants were drawn from 7 countries across the globe, namely Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Nigeria,  Peru and USA. 

The benefits of this conference are many and included the following objectives:

  1. Create a global learning community in order to understand the complex issues of sustainability related to food systems and security
  2. Develop a skills set of collaboration, communication and problem solving among bright young people
  3. Understand how local actions have global impacts

Congratulations to all participants for a very successful YVC! The feedback from all involved as participants and viewers has been very positive. The learning went very deep and perspectives and world views gained were tremendous! According to Ryan Huppert "the following are some of the most prevalent concepts and ideas that recurred: localism, diversification, decentralization, lowering costs, increasing efficiency, systems approach, political engagement, collaboration, equity, and solar, solar, solar!" 

Ensemble Video of the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Recording

YouTube Live Stream Recording

Please visit Grand Rapids for more information.

ccording to Ibrahim Akibu Ja'afaru (RCE Minna, Nigeria), "this event seeks to give students the perspective and practice of a global dialogue, with the hope that they will better understand the unique energy systems dilemmas facing the regions of the world and in turn reveal and embrace the universal themes of sustainable evolution through dialogue, empathy, and collaboration."

RCE Minna was represented by two Secondary School students from Royal Hilton International School, Minna, Nigeria. They made a presentation on the theme of the event “A Regional Perspective on Energy Systems and Sustainability”. The presentation can be downloaded here.


Some of the most notable outcomes of the event include:

  1. Provided opportunity for young people to network and connect to share knowledge and experience.
  2. Participants were able to integrate and provide solutions to common energy and sustainability related problems.
  3. It provided an opportunity to harness the potentials of using technology to bridge the barrier of geographical distance by coming together through a virtual conference where we had participants drawn from 6 countries across the globe.
  4. The conference gave the participants and educators the opportunity to understand regional differences as regards energy and sustainability.
  5. Political policies have continued to hinder some of the moves to a more renewable source of energy. There is the need for RCEs and stakeholders to pitch a tent with policy makers and politicians alike so as to lobby for the environment and for the benefits of generations yet unborn.
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