Ignite Awaji

AYF conducted the first ever Ignite Talks on Awaji.

It was held on the final day of Awaji Student International Festival (as.if), the first international student festival to be held on Awaji

By Catherine Mwangi

Ignite Talks is a unique international presentation platform where presenters must present their message in just 5 minutes. AYF conducted the first ever Ignite Talks on Awaji. It was held on the final day of Awaji Student International Festival (as.if), the first international student festival to be held on Awaji.

The concept of the entire as.if festival was “change to move, move to change”, with the idea to gather youth from around the world to share their stories, ideas and engage in developing solutions to global issues. Fittingly, the theme of the Talks was “The future of society”, with the aim of addressing hard hitting global issues. The talks hence addressed SDG 17, which fosters partnerships to achieve SDGs. There were 7 speakers from around the world, and as is the norm of the talks.

The speakers and their respective topics were as follows:

  1. Erin McCullagh from Australia – Zero waste. With a background in languages and international relations, Erin is passionate about rural revitalization in a sustainable way and is working towards a zero-waste lifestyle. The changes she has made in her personal life to achieve this were the focus of her talk.

  2. Saurabh Nanda from India – The future of society. A career consultant and educator, Saurabh is deeply interested in connecting people to easily accessible knowledge, and as such, his talk was centered around innovations that need to happen to shape the future global society

  3. Santiago Martinez from Colombia – Leading through self-discovery. Through his experiences living in multiple countries, including Micronesia, where he taught English, geometry and chemistry, he has gained different perspectives on how people lead in different environments, some of which he shared the audience.

4. Ira Permana from Indonesia – Home of the future. Ira has managed to satisfy her interest in travelling by living and working in various countries. Her goal is to use the experience she has gained through her regional revitalization projects on Awaji Island to initiate a program in the development sector in her hometown, which she shared with the audience during her talk.

5. Nicholas Llyod from United Kingdom – digital branding. Nicholas started his own business as a writer and communications advisor for different emerging markets with the hope to become a bridge between individuals. The talk was aimed at helping people design their own personal brand in the current digital landscape and continue the conversation on how to create better business opportunities between countries.


6. Waheed Oni from Nigeria – Youth and Agriculture: Towards food security. Waheed has experience in agriculture and agribusiness. As a certified youth development educator, he has been working to help young people to identify their strengths and develop winning ideas through his company, Muston Consult. His talk centered on his vision of changing the perception that young people have about farming to create sustainability along the agricultural value chain.

7. Irene Comas from Spain – Importance of preserving arts and history in building a better future, with a focus on Kawara. With a background in Asian and African studies, Irene’s interests lie in sustainable tourism and the Japanese culture, and she delivered a talk on how to leverage culture to strengthen bonds between countries.

The talks were moderated by Catherine Mwangi from Kenya, a human relations and communications professional.

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