Annual Conference

Annual Conference

UWC-USA’s 2020 Youth Conference runs from 7 pm on Thursday, Feb. 20 to 3 pm Saturday, Feb. 22. The theme for this year’s conference is Sustainability and Technology.  This event is open to the public.

Information about speakers and a schedule will be available by the end of October. 

Speakers from last year’s Annual Conference (on migration) are still featured below.

Abdulrahman Al Rayyis


Abdulrahman Al Rayyis ‘18 is from Erbil, Iraq. Abdo started studying at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon last fall. He is a regular contributor to the PioLog Newspaper and has contributed to other newspaper such as YJI and UYJ. Most of his writing is focused on the U.S intervention and terrorism in Middle East.



In 2016, he was named an international Young Eco-Hero Winner. Abdo started his Late Night show in 2017 as a new way to present global issues at UWC-USA and has continued his show at Lewis & Clark. He’s honoured to return to UWC-USA for another episode of the Late Show, this time highlighting pressing issues of the Rohingya genocide.


Andrea Sofi Ayala


Andrea Sofi Ayala ‘17 from Michoacán, Mexico is a student in St. Lawrence University, pursuing a double major in Global Studies and Psychology with a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies. At St. Lawrence she is the president of the Organization of the Americas club and Amnesty international. She interns at the Diversity and Inclusion office, developing projects to increase inclusivity in the University.




In 2018 she delivered workshops about social issues and identity to underprivileged New York youth at the Fresh Air Foundation. She is passionate about social justice and intersectional identity politics. Sofi and Mauricio’s workshop will look at changing the terms and concepts that are normally used to talk about immigration, and reframing our approach through art and poetry.



Andrew Nalani


Andrew Nalani ’12, originally from Uganda, is a doctoral student in the Psychology and Social Intervention Program at NYU. Andrew has focused his academic and applied work on understanding and creating contexts that support social and emotional learning and youth empowerment in East Africa and North America. Andrew founded the African Youth Leadership Experience (AYLE), a camp that serves youth in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda and is also an international facilitator and trainer with Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE).



Andrew received a Master of Education degree in Human Development and Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His research interests at NYU focus on the design and evaluation of interventions that promote positive youth development across cultural contexts. He is thrilled to return to UWC-USA, one of the few places he calls home.



Anna (AJ) Graves

Anna (AJ) Graves has worked with the UWC wilderness program since the spring of 2017. She has a lot of experience running wilderness trips with NOLS as well residential life experience through teaching at the Traveling School. This past October, AJ participated in the LGBTQ Outdoor Summit in San Francisco. AJ’s workshops will focus on gender and identity as they relate to migration and belonging.



She has worked on a small organic farm, a commercial fishing boat, and trained as a baker. During college she spent time abroad in Vietnam, Brazil, Ghana, New Zealand, and South Africa. She has spent her winters as a dog musher, challenging herself in new temperatures and deep powder.


Carol Silverman

Carol Silverman, Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Folklore at the University of Oregon, has engaged in research on Balkan music and folklore for over 30 years. With a focus on Roma in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Western Europe and the US, she has explored music, politics, human rights, gender, migration and state policy with a focus on representation. Her 2012 book Romani Routes: Cultural Politics and Balkan Music in Diaspora won the Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology.




Her recent research, supported by the Guggenheim foundation, examines issues of migration, labor, and appropriation in the globalization of Romani culture. She has written numerous articles, works with the organization Voice of Roma, and serves as co-curator of the music division of the new RomArchive. She is also a professional vocalist and teacher of Balkan music, and toured for a decade and recorded with the Yuri Yunakov Ensemble.



Darwin Hamilton

Darwin Hamilton is a senior accountant having served in state government for two decades and currently serves as co-chair of the Board of Directors with Grassroots Leadership. His personal mission is to change criminal justice policies and practices and reduce the stigma of formerly incarcerated people through his own example, and through his strategic, inspiring and powerful storytelling.



He recently published his memoir “25 Years Later: A Sentence from Crime to Redemption, Resilience, Advocacy and Leadership”. Darwin was integral in helping pass Austin’s historic Fair Chance Hiring ordinance with Second Chance Democrats.



More 2019 Annual Conference Speakers