2017 Summit Student Spotlight: Our Health Problems are the World’s Problem
Photo caption: Director of Partnerships Shengxiao Yu takes a selfie with Berky shortly after his arrival for the #GlobeMedSummit in Chicago, IL!
Last year’s Summit, ‘A Celebration of Community’ brought together students, alumni, grassroots partners, and peer organizations to reconnect, celebrate GlobeMed’s ten-year anniversary, and envision GlobeMed’s next ten years. Among those reflections was a distinct desire to look outward, expand our horizons, and reach outside the network to create new relationships with different peers and partners leading the charge for global health and social justice all over the world.
In this vein, we created a new opportunity to connect with international students whose views aligned with GlobeMed’s mission via sponsorship applications. This sponsorship would assist students to travel to Chicago to participate in the eleventh annual Summit, ‘Leading Bravely: Finding Strength through Diversity’. Applicants were prompted to think about ways in which they could contribute to the 2017 Summit and how they would bring back their experiences to their communities and universities. These are their stories:
Jean Berchmans “Berky” Uwimana is in the process of founding GlobeMed’s first international student chapter at the University of Rwanda in Kigali, which is due to be established in Fall 2017. Berky was selected last spring to be our pilot international chapter founder and has been working closely with GlobeMed Global Headquarters, particularly with Director of Partnerships for Africa, Brittany Zelch. As a Medicine and Health Sciences student, Berky is interested in helping foster dialogue about the global health challenges that are most common to people living in the sub-Saharan African region. He would like to engage and ultimately coordinate with students from existing GlobeMed chapters to ensure that young people, in particular, work together to improve the global health system.
Kalinda Ndayambaje believes that health challenges do not only affect individuals of a particular nation, but rather the entire world.
As a member of the Coburwas Youth International Organization to Transform Africa (CIYOTA), Kalinda emphasizes the importance of critically engaging with social issues in the world, and the importance of spreading knowledge and gaining understanding about these issues. He is a Political Science student at Harry S. Truman College in Chicago, IL.
As an advocate for a peaceful future in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kalinda believes that the revival of the country is up to him and other young people who are prepared to make this a reality. Kalinda was also intrigued by the Summit theme, which focuses on diversity and leadership. These values are strongly aligned to his philosophy that the only way to change the status quo is through exploration. Therefore, he hopes to meet other potential ‘explorers’ at Summit and broaden his own perspective to affect change.
Amos Kwizera is a student at the United States International University – Africa (USIU – A) in Nairobi, Kenya where he is majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Psychology.
Amos is also a member of CIYOTA, which aims to mentor and up-skill the current generation of entrepreneurial African youth. Amos is driven by the passion to create a better future through social justice for all, and looks forward to contributing to the 2017 Summit by examining the relationship between social justice and global health. He added: “As much as I do not know those who will attend, I am looking forward to meeting delegates who are starving to make this world a better place to live by providing justice for all!!”
For Amos, the 2017 Summit is also an opportunity to learn new skills in a new context that is removed from that of his hometown, Nairobi.
Prakash Kharel has developed an increasing desire to work in public health, global issues, social change and youth development. He is expected to graduate from Tribhuvan University in 2018.
Prakash is looking forward to sharing his experiences through his work with the Nepal Medical Students Society (NMSS), where he carries out community projects and research relating to sexual and reproductive health and HIV.
He wrote: “Running this project in a rural community of Nepal was not a simple task and required crossing many barriers such as social stigmas and taboos prevalent in the society. Reaching adolescents who were not aware about their bodily changes during this age, and who had high chances of practices unsafe sexual practices and drug addiction was a lifetime experience.”
Prakash is eager to learn more about GlobeMed and its impact throughout the world, and hopes to one day establish a chapter at his university. Ultimately, he hopes to connect with other students in the medical field who will work together to uplift the people of rural Nepal and in other parts of South-Asia.
These stories form part of a continued celebration of GlobeMed’s community, and bring us closer to finding strength in the diversity of our allies both near and far. We are very proud of our expanding network, humbled by your unwavering support, and look forward to engaging with our international guests at the 2017 GlobeMed Summit.
You can follow Berky, Amos, Kalinda and Prakash’s involvement in Summit on social media and using the hashtags #GlobeMedSummit and #LeadingBravely.