2017 Fellowships have Launched!

Team MCN is excited to announce that our MCN 2017 Fellowship Program has officially launched!  Last week our fellows met in both Boston, MA, and Miami, FL, to discuss not only their own local activist projects but that of their peers as well. Students shared their group's missions statements, engaged in peer feedback, and began lessons on career networking. The first meeting was a heartfelt start to what promises to be another fantastic semester of student activism here at MCN. 

Boston Fellows include: Grace Lee, Shawn Mozeika, Taj Akinbode, Sarah Khmijee, Khushee Nanavati, Valeria Al-Khatib, Taylor Garner, Christian de la Cruz, Tyler Godfrey, Maria Grant, Debbie-Lee Baskir, Sandrah Nanziri, Joey Milici, and James Purdy. 

Miami Fellows include: Martine Domond, Aris Lorenzo, Jovan Wint, Janai Thermitus, Jhoanna Jimenez, Matias Solari, Eugenia Bouzas, Riane Roldan, Kayla Vidal, Laurene Sanon, Krystal Lanier, Teja Bollepalli, Rhea Manohar, and Justin Randolph. 

To learn more about the social causes our fellows are fighting for and their own personal stories, please visit out fellows page!

It is with great honor that we welcome our new fellows into the MCN community! 

Beyond MCC: Kenyan women who met at MCC'15 now powering Systems Change

For most of the Students who attend the Millennium Campus Conference, the main objective is to network, create partnerships and socialize with students and experts in different fields, disciplines and campuses from all over the world. MCC is an excellent platform not only for professional development but also for personal growth; An MCNer learns how to work and actively participate in a multicultural environment.

          Apart from the group discussions, solidarity shares and public speeches from renowned world leaders, a very crucial component of the MCC experience is social events. MCNers interact more at such events, get to know each other better and share campus and work experiences. It was one of these social events, the Open Mic Night at the New School that KYCE team member met: then merely as Kenyans but now as partners and champions for sustainable economic development in Kibera slums, in Kenya.

         So many values are acquired from the MCC experience including proactivity and social responsibility, which is one of the main reasons as to why the Kenya Youth for Circular Economy was founded.  KYCE is a project focused on creating self-sustaining systems for developing countries, using Africa’s largest urban slum, Kibera, as a model. The systems created by the team can foster employment, improve sanitation and hygiene, enhance the living standard of urban environments (particularly crowded and marginalized peri-urban communities) and improve the overall health of these peri-urban communities. KYCE was founded by six Kenyan women in colleges abroad: Costa Rica, the United Kingdom and the United States, thanks to the 7th Millennium Campus Conference 2015 held in New York that brought us together.

          We learned about the Wege Prize 2015/16 Competition, focused on “wicked solutions” for the emerging social, economic and environmental challenges or what is also known as a circular economy. Coming from a developing country and home of one of the largest slums in Africa, we designed a “wicked solution” (integrated and circular economy project) to the major challenges faced by the slum dwellers, a proposal that we presented at the final stage of the Wege Competition earlier this year. We were ranked the second position in the final event and we are currently in the initial implementation stages, bringing on board partners such as the Nairobi County government, the National Government of Kenya as well as municipal solid waste management and renewable energy companies. We are also eyeing partnerships with non-government organizations based in Kibera such as the Human Needs Project through Kibera Town Centre and Carolina for Kibera.

--Phenny Omondi, MCC'15

Introducing Our Newest Board of Advisors Member: Scott DeLisi

We are so happy to welcome Ambassador DeLisi onto our Board of Advisors! DeLisi served as United States Ambassador to Uganda, Nepal, and Eritrea and now heads the Soarway Foundation. In a reflection on joining Team MCN, DeLisi wrote:

"In countries across the world today we hear people voice concerns about the 'ticking time bomb' posed by the youth who comprise, sixty, seventy or even eighty percent of their national population.  In many of these nations the young people who comprise the bulk of society are excluded from political leadership and remain marginalized.  They struggle to live lives of dignity and productivity and to have their voices heard.  Inadequate education, health care, and job opportunities fuel anger and disillusionment.  Often dismissed or discriminated against because of their age, gender, race, ethnicity, or faith, they believe that the narrative of their future will be one of hopelessness and despair.

We know that we must help to change that narrative but the problems are daunting and if experience is a guide, beyond the ability of governments alone to solve. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are a step in the right direction but more is needed. As global citizens we need to build new partnerships, become more entrepreneurial in our problem-solving, and recognize that youth are not a problem to be solved or a force to be feared but a resource to be engaged and encouraged. 

The Millennium Campus Network understands this and I am inspired by their effort to harness the energy, innovative thinking and passion of young people to meet the challenges that will define their generation. MCN empowers young people across the globe to become constructive agents of change in the effort to tackle social and economic development issues that transcend national boundaries.  Action oriented, and recognizing the importance of ethical and value-driven engagement, MCN is helping to build a generation of international leaders and partners who understand that our shared effort can make a difference.  We can touch lives, change lives, and save lives.  We can break cycles of poverty and despair.  But it will take energy, passion, determination and vision.  That is what the Millennium Campus Network offers and that is why I am honored to be part of the MCN movement."

Welcome to MCN, Ambassador DeLisi!


Leading from the Front

- D. Quinn Mills, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School.

A leader should be careful not to get too far ahead of her followers.  

Imagine that you are leading a parade. You start out at the front of the column and every one can see you easily and follows. But you move more rapidly than the column. After a while, you are turning corners in the street well ahead of the column. Then the people in the column can no longer see you. Soon they can no longer follow and look for a different leader. This is merely a metaphor, but it’s a good one. 

Often effective leaders have to restrain themselves so that they do not lose touch with their followers. For example, before World War II President Franklin Roosevelt of the United States realized that America would have to confront Nazi Germany at some point and began to try to persuade his constituents to do it sooner, when it was likely to be less costly in lives, than later. But the majority of the American people still hoped to avoid conflict and any loss of life. They refused to follow their leader.  FDR was too far ahead of them. He had to reverse course and promise that America would not be drawn into any foreign wars in order to be reelected. FDR had been right, of course, but being right didn’t protect him from the likely unfavorable consequences of getting too far ahead of his followers. Because leaders often have a better and broader vantage point than followers, leaders can often perceive the future and its risks or opportunities better than their followers – many commentators assert that this is what a leader is supposed to do. But followers can find it hard to accept a different future or to accept its dangers. A leader who gets too far out in front of them can be repudiated.  

The role of the leader is to get out in front of followers and to carefully bring followers to acceptance of the new realities facing them.

"Daniel Quinn Mills consults with major corporations and governments and lectures about management, leadership, strategy, economics and geopolitics.  He is an expert on the differences between Asian and Western leadership styles. His most recent article is “Asian and American Leadership Styles:  How They Differ,” published in the Peking University Business Review, August, 2007.  An American, Mills is also a member of the Innovation Council of Malaysia, a ministry level council chaired by the Prime Minister." (Harvard Business School)

Interview with Miami Fellow, Constance Thurmond

Constance Thurmond, a MCC15 and Fellowship alumna, studied Philosophy and Mandarin at Miami Dade. Now, she is headed to Yale for the last two years of her undergraduate program. We were honored to interview her and learn from her as she reflected on her time as a MCN Fellow. 

Please note: the answers have been reformatted into the third person voice. 

I understand that you’re involved with the Human Rights Alliance at your college, how did you become interested in this work?

When Constance was sixteen years old, she attended a fundraising event to increase the awareness of local sex trafficking. She was faced with the horrors of sex trafficking inflicting the world, and especially, the area around her. She was appalled and shocked to learn that boys and girls, just like her, were ensnared in this monstrosity. Although she was at first dismayed by this information, she then became inspired to face this injustice head on, instead of shrinking in its enormity. In rearview, that was the moment that sparked her journey into the social impact sector. 

You attended the fellowship right after the conference, what was your initial motivation to beginning the fellowship?

Constance heard about the fellowship when she attended the 2015 MCN conference at the United Nations in New York. She learned that the fellowship would open up a new hubsite in Miami, where Constance went to school. As she had just been thrown into the position of  president of Human Rights Alliance, she felt insecure in her knowledge about organizations, leadership ability and to how to mobilize students. Passion was the only thing she was really sure of. After attending MCC15, she knew that the fellowship would give her the necessary skills to manage the club, get involved in the community and to truly make an impact, especially in combating sextrafficking. She wanted to be surrounded by a community that would encourage, teach and inspire her, which she found in the fellowship.

How has participating in the fellowship impacted you and your work?

Before the Fellowship, Constance had not had the chance to learn her strengths and weaknesses as a leader. By pairing the guidance of the fellowship with her newfound role as president of Human Rights Alliance, she was able to flex her pipes as an organizer, gain invaluable skills and have the supportive community needed to learn from her mistakes. Constance cites depth  as one of the most valuable aspects of the Fellowship. She was not only able to dig deeper into the topics presented at the conference, but also had the time and space to build meaningful relationships with the Fellowship community. This community or peers served as a network of connections, but even more so, was a collective of teachers and learners. For example, she found that the session “Facilitated Peer Feedback” gave her the opportunity to receive unbiased, new perspectives from her peers about problems on her campus and organization. This created an ebb and flow of reciprocity, always giving and receiving support. The tools that she gained from the fellowship seemed invaluable to her. She commented on the importance of discussing ethical dilemmas (she studied philosophy), diving deeper into leadership transitions, as well as budgeting and finances. She found that not only her club and her professional life grew from this experience, but her personal life also flourished and became more organized. In her own words: “It’s not just something you will apply to college, but will apply to life.”

What would the perfect world look like? 

Constance started glowing when asked this question. It is clear that the vision of the world as it should be, inspires her actions daily. She talks about a world where there would be no such thing as the sustainable development goals, because the world would not have the need for it. She dreams about a society that doesn’t have words for poverty, hunger and violence. And with a snicker, she adds that this utopia should include full-time access to candy that doesn’t make people “fat”. Most importantly though, it would be a place where people are simply nice to one another.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing the fellowship?

“I would encourage you to do it [...] if you are a person who wants to grow,” she says. Constance talks about how the fellowship provided her with an open space for learning, growing and evaluating.

One word to describe your work: Passionate

What was your favorite part of conference? Speakers