GLF Staff Team
We are excited to welcome and introduce our 2019 GLF Staff Team for this summer. Our staff consists of a Director, Curriculum & Instruction Manager, Instructors, Registered Nurse, and Counselor. We are a diverse team from Latin America, Africa, Europe, Oceana, and North America who consist of professional certified classroom, experiential, and masters educators, a future UWC Deputy Head, and UWC & GLF alums! We come together this summer to help our youth internalize the UWC mission and core values by engaging in experiential eduacation that fosters social justice and the local and global levels. Our team provides unique and diverse perspectives and mentorship to our participants who are developing project development and leadership skills in this 21 day transformative journey through the Global Leadership Forum summer program.
Below is our 2019 GLF Staff Team who looking to guide our incoming GLF participants to become the next generation of change-makers and leaders in this world!
Jason Brewer – Montezuma, New Mexico
Jason is thrilled to part of his second summer as the Director of Summer Youth Programs: Global Leadership Forum at the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West in Montezuma, NM. Before joining UWC-USA he was a Professional Development Provider with Engineering is Elementary (EiE) at the Museum of Science in Boston where he advocated for engineering education and delivered high quality, engaging workshops for educators to increase their ability to and confidence in teaching engineering to their students.
Education is Jason’s passion where he hopes to shape and sculpt the bright minds of our future to become the next productive leaders in the world. This passion led him to earning his Master in Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he taught science, engineering, and literacy to 5th graders in rural North Carolina who were predominately English Learners and received Special Education services. After learning about the UWC through his spouse, he believes everyone should have the opportunity to experience the spirit and internalize the mission of the UWC.
Jason’s passion for providing opportunities for high quality equitable education stems from his experience as an Environmental Education Volunteer with the Peace Corps where he served from 2007 – 2009 in Chinandega, Nicaragua. With the Peace Corps he organized and facilitated environmental science activities and projects around three rural communities.
As a weather and environmental enthusiast, Jason has a degree in Meteorology from NC State University. He is bilingual in Spanish and English, enjoys traveling, and loves to be in the outdoors and spending time with his spouse and 11 year old Nicaraguan pup, Canela!
Florian Ciprian Baciu – Romania / United States
GLF CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION MANAGER
Florian Ciprian Baciu is excited to serve as the Curriculum and Instruction Manager for the GLF 2019! Following our summer youth program, Ciprian will be joining the newest and 18th UWC globally, as the Deputy Head of Campus at the International School Moshi in Tanzania, the second UWC in Africa.
After an undergraduate degree in history and geography from Romania, he earned a M.Sc. degree in International Education from Nova Southeastern University in Florida and a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D) in Educational Administration from Concordia University, in Portland, Oregon. Ciprian worked in the field of internationally minded education for almost 20 years in Romania, USA, Jordan, Japan, UAE and Oman, and served in various instructional and leadership roles for diverse schools and educational providers.
Ciprian’s passion for outdoor and experiential education stems also from his previous experience as a host country national educator for the Peace Corps in Romania. Ciprian is a qualified teaching and educational leadership training provider, an International Baccalaureate (IB) workshop developer with extensive experience in accredited and diverse international schools, in addition to serving actively as a Council of International Schools (CIS) global school accreditation evaluator.
David Muniz – Las Vegas, New Mexico
GLF REGISTER NURSE
David Muniz is excited to be part of his first GLF Summer program. David is a US Army flight medic and is preparing to retire from the US Army after serving for over 23 years. David is a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician and has a Master’s degree in Nursing with a concentration in Nursing and Medical Education. David is also a highly decorated medic who has earned many commendations including the Bronze Star service medal and has had over 20 years as a proven leader. He has also attended basic to senior leadership courses.
David’s passion for teaching has led him to teach various medical and trauma management, wilderness survival and martial arts courses to hundreds of service members. He has taught locally at Luna Community College as a nursing instructor for LPN and RN level nursing students. He also established the only Emergency Medical Technician Basic program in Northeastern NM. David also teaches internationally as the senior instructor for disaster and trauma management to the Fuerza Publica police, border patrol and coast guard for the Costa Rican Government.
David has also served in medical missions in Thailand, South Korea, Panama, Costa Rica, Afghanistan and had served on many search and rescue missions in New Mexico. David has also worked extensively with the public for over 15 years as a Registered Nurse in the local emergency department, local family clinics, and the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute.
David’s goal for the GLF Summer program is to ensure that everyone is safe, healthy and has the best medical support to ensure the best outcomes for the participants, the GLF program and the UWC mission.
Mariana Apkarian Ramos – Uruguay
Instructor (UWC-USA ‘13)
Mariana, a dynamic and involved Uruguayan with 25 laps around the sun. In 2011, she was selected to represent Uruguay as a student at the United World College – USA. After graduating from UWC USA in 2013, Mariana studied Social Sciences from the University College Utrecht, in The Netherlands, with majors in Anthropology and Political Science.
Mariana believes UWC is a unique experience in every way. It is learning and practicing about multiculturalism, peace and sustainability. The movement brings the world together to learn from each other as individuals and communities while creating, together, a greater future for all.
For this, the mix of people from opposite contexts and beliefs can only be an opportunity to learn and grow. For her, education is about curiosity; it is the interest raised when our ignorance meets the new and unknown. It is being able to discover new ideas and sharing new experiences that make the spirit evolve.
The GLF is a program she feels strongly about for its impact on youth from all over the world. Mariana is a strong believer in the impact of UWC, and she sees the GLF as a platform for communication and the development of solution-oriented strategies for the near and far future for each person involved.
Laura Yakas – New Zealand / United States
Instructor & Counselor (UWC Li Po Chun ‘06)
Laura Yakas recently finished her PhD in anthropology and social work at the University of Michigan. In the last five years, her time has been divided between facilitating social justice programming, teaching college and Master’s classes, research, writing, community theater, and music. She also earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) specializing in non-clinical psychiatric rehabilitation (about which her PhD is written).
Laura returns to the GLF team for the second time in order to practice and further develop her skills in anti-oppressive education – guiding students toward an understanding of the mechanics of oppression and the development of tools for resistance and restorative justice. She is herself a UWC graduate – Li Po Chun ‘06 – and believes in the power of the UWC movement to further bend the metaphorical arc of justice.
Kiana Cateriano – United States
Kiana was born and raised in Kailua Hawai’i, and went to Middlebury College in Middlebury Vermont. Kiana is proud to be the first person in her family to graduate from college! In college Kiana was a double major in Religion and Geography. Since graduating from College Kiana has worked as a Case Manager at a homeless shelter in Santa Fe, taught preschool and music internationally in the Dominican Republic, and obtained her TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification.
Kiana is extremely excited to return to New Mexico and share her love of the outdoors, non-violent communication, and learning with the participants. Kiana feels honored to be a part of the GLF and UWC because she believes deeply in fostering cross cultural communication especially among youth!
Luis D’Introno – Venezuela
Instructor (UWC-USA ‘16)
Luigi D’Introno is Venezuelan and UWC-USA ‘17 alumnus. He currently is studying Mechanical Engineering with Business at The University of Manchester. Luigi has always followed the belief that “you either succeed or you learn”. Thus, he always tries to push himself and try new things.
Being at UWC taught him that actual learning happens outside the classroom, speaking and working with new people. The UWC experience helped him develop critical skills that are crucial in today’s society. Therefore, he sees GLF as an opportunity to encourage, inspire, and help other participants to maximize this learning opportunity. Luigi is very excited to be part of the GLF team this summer and contribute to the UWC mission.
Margo Tommasini – Italy
Instructor (UWC Mostar ‘14)
Margherita graduated from UWC Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina) in 2014 and went on to study at College of the Atlantic, in Maine. Her studies have centered around human ecology, sustainability, and climate politics. Margherita is excited about community building and has worked as resident advisor and outdoor leader, bringing people together over shared meals and bonfire songs. Being involved with several UWC Short Courses, Margherita is bringing together her interests in education and sustainability, as she is currently pursuing a Master in Sustainable Development, focusing on education for sustainability.
Margherita believes that her UWC experiences continue to reaffirm the importance and value of helping, caring, respecting, and learning from one another. In joining the GLF team, Margherita is extremely excited to share her passions of community-building and sustainability and support the next generation of UWC impact-makers.
Margherita’s philosophy of education encompasses learning that is rooted in kindness and empathy, empowers the learners to thrive, and encourages initiative and exchange. The extraordinary uniqueness of the UWC movement stands in the opportunities it creates for people to actively learn with their heads, hands, and hearts. Short Courses are an amazing format to share these opportunities and reach out to more youth.
Merisa Muharemovic – Bosnia & Herzegovina
Instructor (UWC-USA ‘11)
After her transformative experiences as a student at UWC USA and a very difficult time saying goodbye to the place and the people, Merisa Muharemovic went to Colorado College where she studied sociology and languages. She became even more interested in critical perspectives on the social forces shaping lives and strengthened her commitment to the principles of social justice, sustainability and peace.
In 2013 Merisa went to Chile through a study abroad program and further explored her interests in Latin America and the Spanish language. The intensive learning that the program facilitated sparked her curiosity for education development and inspired her to do my master’s in International Education at SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont. Experiential education and critical pedagogy were central to Merisa’s studies and she carried these into her professional experiences as well. As a facilitator on summer programs similar to GLF she was committed to paying attention to learners’ needs and engaging with what really mattered to them.
As an extracurricular activities fellow at UWC ISAK Japan Merisa focused on bridging the power gap between the students and the adults in order to support students in developing more self-governed learner identities. Recently, she has been very involved with the stray dog issue in Bosnia and Herzegovina, her home country, where she rescues, fosters and finds homes for abandoned dogs. Whatever she’s doing, she tries to tune into the voice of the underdog. Merisa believes this is an important skill UWC helps students develop and she is thrilled to return to Montezuma to work with others on developing this and many other skills relevant for achieving the UWC mission.
VOLUNTEER ASSISTANT INSTRUCTOR TEAM
Samirah Jaigirdar – Bangladesh
(UWC Waterford ‘17)
Growing up in the bustling capital of Bangladesh, Samirah underwent a paramount shift when she moved to Swaziland in 2016 to go to UWC. Her two years at UWC forced her to acclimatize to cultural differences, which left her with a desire to learn more about social justice in terms of international relations. Her UWC experience also taught her that making mistakes whilst trying new things is a great way to learn. As a Volunteer Assistant Instructor, she wants to ensure she can convey this message by sharing her experiences. She believes that GLF provides a platform that can encourage youth to learn things about themselves that they may not discover if they are not thrown into these challenging, yet rewarding circumstances.
As an upcoming sophomore at Connecticut College, she is looking forward to sharing her belief in how an UWC experience can inspire youth to capitalize on their education and try to make a difference in their home communities.
Carolina Lozano – Mexico
(GLF Alum ‘15)
Carolina Terrazas is 19 years old and from Mexico. She studies International Relations in the Monterrey Institute of Technology, and speaks Spanish, English, and German. Carolina is working with the British Embassy in a project on gender equality, which is one of her favorite topics. Her dream is to work in diplomacy in the Secretary of Foreign Relations in Mexico.
One of her greatest passions in life is exercising. Carolina plays basketball, and has played in national competitions in Mexico. She enjoys dancing, reading and writing. Carolina loves volunteering in her community in different projects on social service. She has worked with children in orphanages, and currently in a program to build housing for low-income people in Mexico. She also loves spending time with her friends and her two beautiful adopted dogs.
Carolina is excited to join the GLF Staff this summer because she wants to make a real connection with future participants, help them mold their role within their global communities, and have a huge impact in the persons they will become. She wants to transmit her passion for leadership and internationality, as well as for her country and culture.
Carolina believes in the UWC mission because she knows that education is key in promoting tolerance, communication, and acceptance, which are necessary for dealing with conflicts. She identifies with UWC’s teaching pedagogy about the importance of doing everything with passion. UWC is all about celebrating diversity, union and authenticity.
Nina Lidar – United States
(GLF Alum ‘18)
Hailing from Toronto, raised in southern California, and proud of her Israeli and Dutch family roots, Nina Lidar gravitates to music in all of its forms. Nina sings in numerous concerts and gigs annually, and she recently toured France with her choir. Nina also holds several leadership positions in her school and community, including President of her school’s local hiking club. She lives at the base of a mountain range, so hiking is the cultural norm in her town. Nina has lived through one of California’s mega fires. This, plus her love for the outdoors, has made her passionate about combating global climate change.
On the side, Nina is an enthusiastic kick boxer, a lover of mac ‘n cheese, and a general pop culture junkie. She can sometimes be found spending time with her lovable but, by all cultural standards, oversized cat, Louie.
Nina participated in the 2018 GLF program, and in an international Spanish immersion program in 2017. From these and other powerful experiences with diverse groups, she believes that bridging cultural and geographic divides through education and shared adventures can lead to collaborative efforts to make the world a better place. Nina is thrilled to put her beliefs into action by joining the GLF staff this summer as a VAI. She feels that especially in these polarizing times, UWC is a true and necessary force for pursuing the common good.
Nora Venin – Mauritius
Nora Venin is from Mauritius / France and is a second-year student at University College London (UCL), doing a BA in European Social & Political Studies. She specializes in International Relations and Law and is also learning Italian as part of her degree. Nora graduated from UWC-USA in 2017. She has not been back to campus since and is really looking forward to reconnecting to campus this summer!
Nora is excited to be a VAI at GLF this summer as she feels like she will be able to share her UWC experience with the students and accompany them along theirs! Her two years at UWC-USA were truly the best years of her life. The friends she have made from all around the world are now part of her family. Additionally, she grew and learned immensely during her time in Montezuma. She believes that the values you learn at UWC are crucial for the world that we live in, and this is what motivated her to be a VAI. In that way, she will be able to cherish the UWC movement, and embrace and share the values and ideals it embodies with the participants at GLF.
Benjamin Schweimler – England & Argentina
Benjamin is from England and Argentina and a graduate of UWC-USA class of 17’. He is currently doing a BA in film at Bournemouth University and has completed a variety of short courses in directing, scriptwriting and editing, among others, as well as having made over a dozen short films and promotional videos.
He is excited to join the GLF staff team and reconnect with the UWC movement that has been vital in shaping him as an individual. He believes that in his role of media intern at GLF, he will have the opportunity to share his appreciation for UWC by contributing to its outreach. Lastly, he is looking forward to being back in Montezuma and getting to know the new faces within the movement.