Annual Conference 2020: Greenovation

This year’s Annual Conference at the United World College-USA will include presentations that focus on the theme “Greenovation: Sustainability and Technology.”

Featuring workshops, speakers and breakout sessions, the event is open to the public and will run from Thursday, Feb. 20, through Saturday, Feb. 22.

Learn more about the conference, speakers, and how to register here.

Presenters will include:

  • Chris Palm, a 1992 UWC-USA alum who for the past seven years has been photographing the Choco in Ecuador. The area covers 72,000 square miles and varies from alluvial plains to narrow valleys and steep mountainsides. His project, TreeTalk 2.0 forest conversations, is an exploration of teleportation of consciousness to and from the forest. Palm received his master’s in business administration from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
  • Andrea Pappajohn is a sustainability professional based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been focused on running sustainability initiatives at San Mateo County and the City of Burlingame. Projects have covered everything from energy efficiency to transportation, renewable energy, sea-level rise adaptations, water conservation, EV charging stations and electric bike fleets. Pappajohn has a master’s in communications management from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and management sciences from Northwestern University.
  • Yoshi Abayasekara is a dance educator, dancer and choreographer from Sri Lanka. She holds a bachelor’s in dance from LASALLE College Of The Arts Singapore as well as a post-graduate certification in education from the University of Nottingham. Abayasekara toured internationally and performed professionally with companies based in South East Asia before relocating to Los Angeles. She is the artistic director and producer of Sri Lanka’s Performing Arts Festival, which began as a project to help the war-affected children in her country.
  • A freshman at Georgetown University, Cynthia Desmet Villar graduated from UWC-USA last May. She is from Madrid, Spain, and is studying international politics and double minoring in French, and justice and peace studies at Georgetown University. At Georgetown, Desmet Villar teaches creative writing to local inmates, belongs to the marketing team for an intersectional feminist art magazine, and continues to pursue her interest in justice and policy reform.
  • Jona Kerma from Albania is another May 2019 graduate of UWC-USA. She is a freshman double majoring in economics and government, with a minor in global studies, at St. Lawrence University. Kerma is a senator in the Thelmo Student Government and a representative of St. Lawrence for the Model Organization of American States and Model United Nations. She also volunteers for a refugee organization and helps host fundraisers for the Euphrates Club.
  •  Maria Espinola Moreno comes from Barcelona, Spain, and graduated from UWC-USA last May. She is a freshman at Middlebury College majoring in economics and political science and minoring in French. At Middlebury, Espinola Morena belongs to the Pre-Law Club, Debate Society, Consulting Group and Women in Finance Association. 
  • Julia Ying is a volunteer public speaker trained by former Vice President Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project to present the latest facts and findings about the climate crisis. She will share a multimedia presentation with the latest updates on impacts as well as solutions, answer questions and lead a discussion about what people can do to be part of the solution. Ying retired from general medical practice in Sydney, Australia. A resident of Los Alamos, she is passionate about taking care of Mother Earth to preserve the beauty of nature so her five grandchildren can grow up in a sustainable world.
  •  Nicholas Seet has been a serial-entrepreneur since his first startup concept was funded and he left his software-development position at Deloitte Consulting. Seet has worked as a chief technology officer and chief executive officer, and founded Auditude, now called IntoNow; Yahoo acquired IntoNow in 2011. In November that same year, Adobe Systems acquired Auditude. Seet received a master’s in business administration from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. While there, he won the UCLA Knapp and Rice University Business Plan competitions, receiving more than$1 million in funding and prizes. Nicholas received bachelor’s degrees in engineering and economics from Harvey Mudd College.
  • Roy Montibon is a serial entrepreneur and leader in strategy, branding, creative direction, design and technology innovation. As a founder, corporate executive, elected representative, educator  with University of California Los Angeles, University of California Irvine and the United World College, Roy has initiated and led scores of major projects across dozens of disciplines including arts and culture, science and technology, eco-heritage tourism, art and antiquities provenance, cybersecurity, community revitalization, healthcare, disaster-proof housing and more.
  • Ousseynou Doumbouya comes from Senegal and is a 2019 graduate of UWC-USA. He is an economics major and a Spanish minor at Macalester College, where he is an office assistant/tutor for the French and Francophone Studies Department. Ousseynou is also a dancer and member of the Black Liberation Affairs Committee, Afrika Club and the Queer Union. 
  • Valeska Fresquet Kohan ‘19, Brazil spent most of her life in Rio de Janeiro and has been passionate about dance since youth. Valeska believes that dance is the lone universal language, having the potential to be spoken by anyone from anywhere. She specializes in Brazilian Zouk, Samba de Gafieira and Argentinian Tango. At UWC-USA, Valeska was a show leader for the Carribean Latin American Day Show, overseeing the dance ensemble through practices and several shows. A freshman at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., Valeska is studying environmental economics. She spends her spare time meditating, daydreaming about conquering the wilderness and writing letters. 
  • Hugo Contreras ‘87 leads the Nature Conservancy´s Latin American Freshwater Regional Unit. Prior to this, Hugo was business development and institutional relations director for Bal-Ondeo, a joint venture of the Bal Group and Suez Environment; he positioned the company as the leading private water operator in the Mexican market. Hugo has a bachelor’s in economics from ITAM in Mexico, and a master’s in environmental and natural resource economics from University College London. 
  • Miguel Nieto Cifuentes ‘00 has served as an advisor to multinational companies with issues of strategic and operational sustainability, and sustainable purchasing practices. Miguel also led the start-up of Mexican companies dedicated to B2B water treatment, sustainable energy procurement, waste heat recovery and sustainable municipal solid waste management. He majored in economics, psychology and neuroscience at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., and did graduate work in environmental entrepreneurship at the Environmental University.
  • Roger Fragua has dedicated his professional career to the advancement and development of American Indian communities. He is president of Cota Holdings whose mission is to support tribal community and economic development in the energy and telecommunication sectors. Roger has strong alliances with various state and federal agencies, external partners and private sector companies. He specializes in creating innovative business concepts and promoting partnerships between tribes and industry. 
  • Joseph “Brophy” Toledo has served the Pueblo of Jemez for more than four decades. He has worked with numerous indigenous youth groups, served on the Native American Global Sports Committee and been involved with international indigenous projects such as Pueblo Pathways Project.  Brophy has traveled to Mexico, Canada and Africa as a First Nations representative for earth healing and environmental conferences. He has dedicated his life to harmony and balance with the earth and practicing traditional farming methods.

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