In the era of Greta Thunberg, young people look to grow leadership skills

Speaker: student leadership can start small.


Students watch a presentation on a video screen. The presentations were specifically chosen for young people.  Allan Bradbury /Kicker

Allan Bradbury

Saturday a group of nearly 100 students gathered at Leary’s Brook junior high for the Youth Global Leadership Summit.

The adult Global Leadership Summit is a two-day event for leaders from any walk of life – business leaders to leaders in the non-profit sector.

For the youth summit, young people from many walks of life were invited to watch video presentations curated especially for them. Some of the students came with groups like student councils and church youth groups while others came on their own.

One of the goals of the event is for young people to realize their own leadership potential.

Crystal Card is the director of the summit.

“Students have a sphere of influence in their schools, in their families, among their friend groups and they have the opportunity to lead within those spheres of influence,” said Card.

In the light of a young leader like 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, events such as the leadership summit show young people they can still be leaders, even if it’s not leaders of a global movement.

“It’s inspirational for everyone.”

Liz Bohannon is the co-founder of fair-trade fashion brand Sseko Designs. She told students that it was OK to dream small. She says it’s OK to be average, and despite being average you can still be a great leader.

Similarly, Thunberg started out with a small one-person protest, walking out of her own school in a bid to protest climate change. Her movement has seen millions step up and demand governments act on climate change.


“I think it just makes it a little bit more realistic for them, that they can dream small,” said Quann. “… one step at a time and they can make a difference without doing something big,” said Quann.

Liam Porter is a student council member at Macdonald Drive junior high

“It’s inspirational for everyone,” said Liam. “It definitely inspires me.”

The Saturday event saw junior high, high school and post-secondary students come together to learn about leadership.

The live event is held in the U.S. in August, said Card.

“Then the sessions are recorded, edited and provided for satellites all around the world.”

An event for adults took place over two days in October at the Johnson Geo Centre in St. John’s.


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