MEET UNDP’S 17 GLOBAL GOALS CHAMPIONS
Thank you so much to all of you for submitting your wonderful and creative videos to help us spread the word about the Global Goals! The response was overwhelming, and our judges had a tough time choosing our winners from among so many creative and imaginative entries.
We welcome the winners of this challenge who have just returned from a successful trip to Chengdu, where they were officially appointed as Global Goals Champions.
While in China, the winners had the chance to meet Qiqi and Diandian, UNDP's first Animal Ambassadors, who were named with the participation of more than 5,000 people from 116 different nations. Together, the names Qiqi and Diandian mean “the beginning of a journey” symbolizing our journey together as we work towards achieving the Global Goals by 2030.
Want to find out more? Check out the video below, and also these photos of the trip.
Thank you for joining UNDP’s mission and committing your voices and creativity to the Global Goals. Like so many millions around the world, you dream of a world without poverty, without inequality and without injustice; a world where our climate is safe and every single one of us has the opportunity to thrive and prosper. At UNDP, it is our mission to make this dream a reality and we’re thrilled to have you work with us towards this goal.
DJAMEL M'RAH of Tlemcen, Algeria is a teacher, artist, and writer. When he was younger, he decided to learn music and become a film maker. With the help of his father, a movie producer, he learned the art of making videos, acting and montage videos. In 2012, he was invited by the French Cultural Center of Tlemcen and the French Embassy to participate in the DARC (Dance, Art, Rhythm, Culture) Stage Festival in Chateauroux, France. He plays several string instruments and in 2012 was named a musical "Prodigy" in a contest held by Djezzy, a major telecommunications company in Algeria, to promote talented youth.
Djamel holds a Master's Degree in French literature. Currently he is editing a book and working on setting up a class in his town to teach art, music, drawing, photography, sports, and audiovisual learning. He teaches communication arts at the University of Tlemcen.
ABINAV BHATTACHAN is from London, United Kingdom and currently a student at the University of Leeds. He was born in Kathmandu, Nepal and having lived and travelled across 5 continents, Abinav has learned that we all have more in common than we have differences. He is honoured and excited to be part of UNDP's Pandas for Global Goals campaign, which he believes is a wonderful opportunity for people from across the globe to come together and work towards bringing positive change in the world.
MADELYN RUYLE is 11 years old and lives in Tampa, Florida, USA. She loves helping her community and volunteering at her church, school, and other organizations to help those less fortunate. She has been a straight-A student for the past five years in a row, and is also a peer counselor and student council member at her elementary school.
Madelyn loves theater and takes voice and acting lessons at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa. She has been cast as the lead role in Winnie the Pooh and Cinderella among other musicals from the age of five. Madelyn also plays softball through the Bayshore Little League and loves the position of first base. She has a twin brother named Maxwell. Madelyn has loved giant pandas since she was six years old. She can’t wait to start working as a Global Goals Champion and travel to China!
NANCY FERGUSON is the Director of Counseling and a Visiting Faculty member in Social Work for Miami University. From 1993-2004, Nancy’s work focused on good health and well-being, gender equality and violence prevention as director of a regional rape crisis center which also provided web-based consultation and information for people from 92 nations.
Her background includes consultation for the Peace Corps and Ministry of Health in Dominica, West Indies, in support of the development of that nation’s first rape crisis counseling program. She also worked as a Program Leader at the Cincinnati Zoo for six years, teaching adult and child visitors about wildlife conservation, biodiversity and adaptation. She loves drawing and illustration and hopes that her experiences in Chengdu will contribute to a future children’s book.
JEROME POUILLE is 35 years old and lives in Toulouse, France, where he works for the Ministry of Ecology. He is the founder and the author of the website www.pandas.fr dedicated to the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) which has reached more than 1.1 million visitors since 2002. He is also the author of the booklet "Giant Pandas, conservation ambassadors" (in French).
Jerome is convinced that education is an indispensable tool to promote species conservation and the responsible use of natural resources, and to achieve a more sustainable development of our communities. In 2012, Jerome won the Chengdu Pambassador global contest and got involved in an extraordinary project to raise awareness about the giant panda, ecosystems and our natural heritage. Jerome believes that caring for our planet is key to the survival of future generations.
RAQUEL DÍAZ, of Peru, is a communicator by profession, educator at heart, artist with passion, explorer of cultures and a dreamer for life. She was born in the heart of the Peruvian jungle: Tarapoto. There she grew up among trees, animals, incredible landscapes; and friendly people, solitary and very poor, materially, but not of heart. She had always dreamed of doing something good for her city. After studying communications and advertising in Lima, she was able to join efforts in improving Peruvian education.
Through social projects in her hometown and at the national level, she was able to work directly with people in need, learn their realities and problems, eat in their homes, share her time, and listen to their stories. This experience taught her how to work as a team, to work under pressure so as to provide more help in less time, to listen and ask in order to avoid mistakes, to be creative in order to solve problems, to be respectful of different customs and cultures, and most importantly, to do her job with integrity, responsibility and passion.
Her goal in life is to continue to help improve people's lives through education, no matter where. With technological advancements, Raquel believes we can reach any corner of the world, to convey positive messages and encouragement, and to support one another.
KORAL AVELLA, from Bogotá, Colombia, is a 24-year-old graphic designer, and an illustration and animation enthusiast. Passionate about languages, animals and travelling, Koral is eager to keep learning, growing and putting her knowledge to use in order to make the world a better place. She currently works as an independent designer and wants to become a media expert. She loves taking walks with her dog, going to the movies, and listening to music.
ZEYI LI, of Tianjin, China, is currently a high school junior in California, United States. She speaks Mandarin, English and Spanish. Zeyi, or “Lizzie” to her friends, loves classical music and has played the piano for thirteen years, sometimes for school charity events and seasonal concerts. She is a singer, dancer and actress. In school, she joined the choir and has participated in musicals.
Zeyi enjoys listening to other people’s stories and giving them advice, if needed. She is also an avid volunteer. Last summer, she volunteered in the Summer Davos Forum in Tianjin and was the interpreter for a group exchange visit from Britain held by the Tianjin Overseas Chinese Affairs Office. She is an environmentalist and is taking an environmental science course at school where she learned about environmental sustainability and humans’ impact on the Earth. She is also a member of her school’s animal club, where she has learned about endangered animals and their roles in the ecosystem. She is excited and grateful to have the opportunity to visit the Panda Base in Chengdu and learn more about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
MIKA KOMATSU is from Yokohama, Japan. She has loved pandas since meeting Japan's first pandas – Ran Ran and Kan Kan – as a kid at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. Sometimes she travels to Ueno, Wakayama and Kobe to visit all 11 pandas in Japan. Mika likes traveling abroad and has been to 15 countries including the USA, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, China to meet baby pandas.
Mika believes the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are important for everyone. Among those goals, she always keeps in mind "Goal 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production". "Mottainai" is a Japanese word that conveys an attitude of responsible consumption or a term used to express regret about wastefulness. Mika encourages all to see the beauty in living modestly, so that we can protect our world and keep it healthy for a long time.
IDORENYIN EKPAwas born in Calabar, Cross River, Nigeria. He believes people should not just live life, but also positively affect others and the environment around him. Passionate about photography and adventure camping, the 29-year-old computer science graduate aims to impact lives through his photographs and camp sessions. He recently led the "Street Kids Deserve More” campaign during the Calabar Photowalk. Inspired by children whose parents are unable to feed them or who are abused, his aim in life is to help Nigerians to become entrepreneurs, so that they can provide for themselves and their families, and reduce the suffering of neglected children. Idorenyin, also known as "Idy" by his friends, enjoys singing karaoke, camping and travelling.
VERA KALININA lives in Sudoverf, a very small town near the river Volga in the Russian Federation. She is 16 years old and is currently in 10th grade. Vera’s parents and her older brother are artists. Vera enjoys drawing too. As her parents often organize exhibits of their work abroad, Vera spends a lot of time studying foreign languages and cultures to help them. Vera decided to participate in UNDP’s Pandas for the Global Goals campaign because she is concerned about the environmental problems facing her country. She looks forward to visiting Chengdu and being a Global Goals Champion.
SALMA NASHEF lives in Amman, Jordan. She holds a PhD in education, is the author of nine books, and has published numerous research articles. She has worked in several universities in the Arab world and Jordan, as well as in Jordan’s Ministry of Education.
Salma believes that education is important because it affects all aspects of life and can replace negative attitudes or behavior. She also believes that the role of a teacher is to reinforce such positive attitudes and behavior to improve values and dispositions. To Salma, there is a strong connection between the natural sciences and the sciences of education.
Salma loves sports, embroidery, reading, listening to music and learning about technology. She is also passionate about travel, writing and photography. She has a page in the e-National Geographic magazine: www.Yourshot.nationalgeographic.com. Salma is writing a book about her travels around the world, and hopes to finish it this year for publication in different languages.
HAO XINUO learned Jianzhi - the traditional Chinese art of paper cutting listed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List – since she was three years old. She has held four art exhibits in China. Her innovative and characteristic work has drawn the attention of many famous Chinese artists and has earned her several awards, some of them international. Xinuo is also a Panda “fanatic”, an environmental activist and supporter of the 17 UN sustainable development goals.
Xinuo says that art not only brings color to her life, but also encourages her to view the world from a different perspective and with a dynamic vision. She is currently living in Germany and pursuing her post-graduate studies in regional planning. She is also busy trying to build her own ‘ZOO’ - a representation of those endangered animals with the old traditional art of Jianzhi. She hopes that through her work, people will discover the beauty of this ancient oriental art and raise awareness of environmental and wildlife protection.
MUHAMMAD USMAN KHAN, of Pakistan, is the founder and Executive Director of Bringing Education to Youth & Learning Initiatives (BEYLI), a non-governmental organization focused on educating and supporting underprivileged youth. In recognition of his work in helping transform young people's lives, Usman was awarded the prestigious “Queen’s Young Leaders Award 2016” by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, London in 2016. In 2013, Usman also received the "National Social Action Project Award" from the British Council.
Usman received a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Public Policy at the University of Erfurt in Germany. He also studied public policy at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, USA, and studied communication at the University of Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan. He is an advocate for youth education and opportunities at the grassroots level, and experienced in inclusive education, women's empowerment, social entrepreneurship, and conflict resolution and peace building. Usman has also contributed to several projects of national organizations & international development agencies as a consultant and researcher. He has worked with the British Council as a Trainer in the Active Citizens Program, the Soliya Network USA as an Advanced Trainer for Conflict Resolution & Peace Building Program, and ActionAid Denmark as an Inspirator. Usman plans to continue working toward stronger, equipped and empowered communities. During his leisure time, he loves to travel, cook and paint.
DAE HO JEONG of South Gyeongsang in the Republic of Korea, loves to learn new things. He moved to Japan to learn Japanese and experience another culture. Prior to his move, he worked at the National Traditional Korean Music Center in Seoul for one year where he worked on stage sets and props. He also loves music and played the trombone in the Korean Army band during his mandatory service. Dae Ho holds a dual degree in Financial Real Estate and Asian Martial Arts from Young San University. During his studies, he learned various martial arts, including Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Kendo, Hopkido, and is now practicing Karate in Japan. He is fond of giant pandas and hopes that we can all work together to protect their environment and the world we live in.
SEE-WAN LAU, CECILY, of Hong Kong is a big fan of pandas, and believes that thinking about pandas can help people deal with stress and sadness. Besides pandas, she likes biking, hiking and reading in her leisure time. Her favorite pandas are Oreo (Aoliao) who lives in the Panda Valley in Chengdu, and Yuanzai who lives in Taipei Zoo.
Global Goals 13 “Climate Action” and 15 “Life on Land” are most important to Cecily. She feels that in recent years, technological advancement has impacted the space animals need to grow. She remembers seeing a video where a polar bear couldn’t find any food at all because its feeding ground had shrunk. She looks forward to promoting the 17 Global Goals and helping more people understand the important and urgent need to protect our environment.
SERGIO IVÁN FLORES MADRID is from La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. He currently lives in Beijing where he works as a freelancer for an IT company. Sergio first came to Beijing in 2010 after receiving a scholarship to pursue a master's degree. As a graduate student, he participated in many cultural events among various universities and played music, cooked traditional Mexican food, and shared his culture with Chinese and international students. He had such a great time that he decided to stay longer to enjoy the multi-cultural environment that Beijing offers. He also enjoys living in Beijing because its streets are perfect for skateboarding. During his free time, Sergio grabs his skateboard and goes around the city to visit new places. Sergio strongly recommends experiencing a different culture and living abroad.