ASEZ students at Columbia University sparked inspiration during the Future Leader Forum on April 17. ASEZ’s aims to motivate fellow university students to take on environmental challenges in African countries. ASEZ focuses on empowering Africa’s youth, the world’s largest population, by giving them the tools and motivation to make real change happen. The event included a panel discussion with educators, diplomats, and fellow students.

The forum began with a video introducing ASEZ’s global initiatives, followed by a presentation outlining their vision and ongoing campaigns. ASEZ’s Green Carbon and Blue Carbon campaigns are making waves worldwide. Green Carbon focuses on land ecosystems like trees and forests, with activities such as tree planting and beautification events. Meanwhile, Blue Carbon works to preserve marine ecosystems, with a dedicated week in June for waterway purification activities. Both movements aim for carbon neutrality by 2030.

The highlight of the event was a dynamic panel discussion featuring UN Ambassador Cecilia Adeng from South Sudan and climate change activist Paul Presendieu, who serves as a Global Ambassador for Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action) at the United Nations Foundation.

Ambassador Adeng urged attendees to embrace the UN’s global influence and emphasized everyone’s role in environmental stewardship. Her words struck a chord, inspiring volunteers to strive for greater impact. Mr. Presendieu likened environmental activism to diplomacy. He said, “When you do this work, you become an ambassador,” emphasizing the role of every individual as an ambassador for change.

With 90 diverse attendees, the forum fostered a sense of collective responsibility and empowerment. Dr. Raffael Jovine, founder of Brilliant Planet, praised the event for its inspirational atmosphere in a world marked by political and environmental changes. The event concluded with the signing of an agreement to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), showcasing ASEZ’s steadfast commitment to its mission of saving the Earth “from A to Z.”