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Reflections on CEI 2021 Preconference

On behalf of the organising team, we hope you enjoyed the CEI 2021 Preconference, held on 6th March. Many thanks once again to our speakers, Gráinne Ryan & Gary Tyrell from the Climate Ambassadors programme (@climateambassador) and Colleen Robinson (@colleenptpilates) .

As part of the preconference, you met some of the new Junior Alumni and Alumni Assistants who are working with us this year. If you missed out, you can read more about them here.

Some of them reflected back on the preconference and wanted to share their thoughts with you. Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Ariq - Alumni Assistant (Indonesia)

The virtual pre-conference marked the beginning of the CEI 2021 journey which will take place in July. More than 150 including students, teachers, volunteers, and alumni listened to conference speakers and presenters. For me, this is a good thing that everyone wants to participate in this pre-conference event and I saw that the participants are very excited including me because this is my first pre-conference. As for the speakers themselves, I think they were very enthusiastic in conveying what they discussed.

I was able to learn a lot from them such as about climate change presented by Gráinne and Gary. Thanks to them I know the dangers of the greenhouse effect and climate change and in my opinion, what I remember most is the laptop powered by solar power in Africa and 14 year old boy that built a working windmill to power his village, in my opinion, this is a great thing. After the presentation on climate change, there was Coleen who presented Movement as medicine. In my opinion, the topic discussed by Coleen is very important for me, especially now those who learn from home and have to stare at the computer for a long time, Coleen is arguably talking about stretch that were easy to do . In addition all the participants and all those who participated in the pre-conference also did a little stretch led by Coleen.

The most exciting part of the CEI pre-conference to me was when we were in a breakout room session, where we were divided into 4 rooms according to the project we were doing. For example, I was in the coastal/water room and there were approximately 15 people. We played a game called human bingo, in which we were given a list of criteria and had to find people who fulfilled those criteria. This was very exciting because we had to get acquainted with others and of course practice communication skills.

At the CEI pre-conference, we were also informed a little about the upcoming CEI conference. I am most looking forward to the cultural workshops as when I was at the CEI conference in 2019, cultural night was a time when each country shows the characteristics of their country, it can be food or a performance, both of which I enjoy.

Mia - Alumni Assistant (Indonesia)

My experience at the pre-conference was an educational one. I learnt lots of new knowledge from the climate change ambassadors, for example, that Indigenous peoples make up less than 5% of the earth's population or about 350 million people among the 7 billion inhabitants of the earth. These people are the caretakers of the earth for 80% of the biodiversity on this planet. This means that more than 6.5 billion inhabitants of this earth live by destroying the earth. Even though I live in an urban community, I hope I can be part of the caretakers of the earth. I also learnt that the renewable energies growing the most in Europe in 2020 are solar energy and wind energy. I thought this was cool because I use solar panel for energy in my home so that topic is really interesting for me. With the Solar Power Plant, since 2015, I have been participating in the global Earth Hour event at the end of every March. This year 2021, will be the 6th anniversary that I follow it with my family. I don't need to turn off all the lights at home because I can use the electricity savings in the battery produced during the day with the Solar Power Plant.

From the second speaker, Colleen, I learnt that it really help us to stretch again our body because due to covid-19 we spend much more time at home and in front of screens.

My favourite part during the pre-conference was playing people bingo, I was able to meet new people and the bingo game was really fun. The students were very nice and I exchanged contact details with some of them. At CEI 2021 I'm really looking forward to the cultural nights and podcasts! I really like to see the cultural performance of each country and interact with new friends!

Kazi - Junior Alumni (Indonesia/New Zealand)

CEI 2021 kicks off with an evening (or rather very early morning for me) of pre-conference goodies. With the friendly faces of the Alumni in green, we welcomed a few speakers. Most notable of the messages, is from Grainne Ryan, who spoke of the importance and strength of the voice of young people. Supported by Gary Tyrell who shared the story of ‘the boy who harnessed the wind’ and how we can do our part to support sustainability one small step at a time. The last of our speakers Colleen, took us through a different experience all together and re-introduced healthy posture, a concept that many of us have abandoned since working from home has become the new normal.

Beside the excitement around the speakers, as an Alumni getting to meet the students again was definitely a highlight. Being on the front line of all the great ideas and dimension our students bring to sustainability is always exciting. I look forward to the work we bring to create another successful online conference while counting the days until we can meet in person.

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