UST College of Nursing student Qjiel Guiliano Mikhl Mariano was accepted into the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), a mentorship and project support program by the Clinton Foundation in USA.
CGI U is a year-round program that develops young leaders and social entrepreneurs “by providing accepted undergraduate and graduate students with training and mentorship opportunities, access to a wide range of international experts and change agents, and invitations to networking events with their peers and program alumni.”
To receive a spot in the CGI U program, a student or a group of students must develop a Commitment to Action with specific and measurable steps to address challenges in one of five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, or public health.
Mariano pitched the Ladders to Literacy project, which also received recognitions in Harvard University, ESD Okayama Awards, and other local and international bodies. The literacy project aims to allow children to recognize a community problem they want to address and create a storybook surrounding the issue.
“The project is highly evaluated, since even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the information on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was disseminated to children and their parents in communities through storytelling,” said Mr. Hiroshi Abe, Head of the ESD Okayama Promotion Commission, during the Okayama ESD Forum held in Okayama City on November 20, 2021.
“The project has a multidisciplinary approach as the SDGs are indivisible to one another. Hence, achieving one goal means to compliment other global goals to maximize sustainability,” said Mariano.
The CGI U annual meeting, which includes mentors, students, and alumni, kickstarted virtually on April 11 to 13, 2022, with featured speakers that included former US President Bill Clinton, former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, global health advocate Chelsea Clinton, and incumbent First Lady Jill Biden.
Mariano credits all the international achievements in helping shape his youth organization, Streets to Schools, to what it is today. In just a span of two months, the organization has established 17 chapters all over the Philippines to create opportunities and bridge divides among children and community issues that matter to them.
Throughout the past months, chapters of Streets to Schools have provided aid in Metro Manila, Mindoro, Tawi-Tawi, Bulacan, Iloilo, Leyte, Benguet, and more through grassroot activism and micro efforts that put children and youth in the center of change. According to Mariano, he is “excited to see how the CGI U exchange can help him propagate their existing impact and sustain the momentum to encourage active change among young people.”