Delegate Bios

Find out more about the WAGGGS delegates attending COP 19.


 

Kathleen Coulter

24 years oldKathleen COP 19 delegate

Communications Working Group (Youth Delegate)

I am thrilled to be attending COP19 this year! Conservation and sustainability have been interests of mine for as long as I’ve been a Girl Scout. And that’s quite a long time. This will be my twentieth year as a member of GSUSA. During that time, I became certified as a Leave No Trace trainer, coordinated biodiversity and environmental workshops, and volunteered at Our Chalet in Switzerland. I think that’s the great thing about Girl Scouts – the opportunities it provides young women to explore leadership through an appreciation of the outdoors.

As a law student at the University of Alberta, I am currently researching the policy and law surrounding climate change and environmental migration. After I completed my bachelor’s degree, I taught English for a year in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. In the islands, I witnessed climate change first-hand. Rising sea levels encroached on the coastline and former potable wells were salinated. These observations inspired my commitment to environmental law.

I stay very busy with my studies, but try to get outside whenever I have free time. I’m a keen camper and kayaker, and just got into climbing over the summer while I was in Switzerland. In fact, I’m running a new climbing club this year through the law faculty to encourage other students to try indoor rock climbing. I enjoy traveling and have been fortunate to explore western Canada while I’m in school, but I’m always happy to visit my home in Florida!

 

Cecilia Wesslén, Sweden

28 years old

Policy Working Group (Delegation Coordinator)

Cecilia COP19 delegateI am very excited to be part of the WAGGGS delegation to COP19 this year. After COP18 last year, I received so many thoughts and ideas on how to work more on environmental issues in our member organization back home. Because I do believe that changes can also happen at a local level. COY/COP is one of the most inspirational places to be, because you get to meet so many engaged people, especially the youth. At the same time, it can be very frustrating and difficult. It's an interesting combination and it made me very productive and dedicated to try and make an impact.

I have been a member of the Swedish scouts since I was a little girl. As part of the organization, I have experienced so many things that I am grateful for. I have been a leader of both smalls group and big planning teams. There are never ending opportunities to fulfill yourself. I am still engaged because I want to bring something back to the organization and make sure that the youth will have the opportunity for similar experiences that I had when I grew up. Today, I am a leader of a group of Tracker Scouts (8-9 years old) and also head of a National Team working with international scouting.

I work as a PhD student in Atmospheric Sciences at Stockholm University. I study the Arctic climate system and am interested in the physical processes around climate change. I try to talk to the people that I know (including my Scouts) about my work to increase the awareness and education about climate change. This has made me more and more interested in science/climate communication. I am also trying to gather a National Team within the Guides and Scouts of Sweden, to work with environmental issues and sustainable living.

On a more personal level, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am a horrible cook, but I like to bake. I work a lot, but I try to do indoor exercise a few times a week - my favorite is indoor cycling and zumba! I love to travel, but that is one of my problems at the moment, since it often means that I have take a flight somewhere! I have lived in four different countries and I have friends all over the world from both Scout activities and school/work.

 

Reem Zahir, Maldives 

18 years old 

Actions Working Group (Youth Delegate)Reem COP19 delegate

18 years old and from the Maldives - a very tiny island nation which is not shown in most maps - I am Reem. Currently, I am doing A' levels at Villa International High School in Maldives. I am a proud member of Maldives Girl Guides Association.

I started my guiding life when I was nine years old and followed through earning the President's Guide badge when I was 16 years old. Now I am a young leader and I co-lead a group of Guides in Maldives with a few other Leaders. Guiding has given me so many opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to do. For example, today I am writing this bio because I have been chosen to be part of the WAGGGS delegation to COP 19. This would not have been possible if I was not a Guide.

Being a citizen of Maldives I think my interest in climate change is due to the fact that I witness climate change impacts first-hand. When I started experiencing these impacts, I started acquiring knowledge and then I started to wonder what I could do in my capability to combat climate change. Geographically Maldives is especially vulnerable to climate change as it is a land scarce low lying island nation. Thus it is exposed to dangerous impacts such as sea level rising.

I am expecting a lot from COP 19. I want progress in the warfare against climate change as this is the way to save my nation and I want to procure something from the conference for the 10 million girls from 145 countries that I am representing. If I were to name one thing I would like to see happen at COP 19 it will be to legislate and endorse law to reduce carbon emissions to 350 parts per atmosphere with effect to all countries with operative carbon emissions.

On a more personal note, I love drawing, reading, cooking and quality time with my loved ones. I also love travelling.

I am privileged to attend COP 19 representing 10 million girls from 145 countries. Let's go show the UN that us girls and young women will lead to a positive change.

 

Gina Belle, Barbados

24 years old

Policy Working Group (Youth Delegate)

Gina COP19 delegateI am most grateful to WAGGGS for the wonderful opportunity to attend COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland!

I have been a member of the Girl Guides Association of Barbados since being enrolled as a Brownie at age seven. Seventeen years later, I am a Young Leader and a member of the Association's Executive Committee serving as the Commissioner for Environmental Matters. Guiding has played a significant role in my development from a girl into a young woman as it has taught me a host of skills I am able to apply to my everyday living. Having a love for nature and appreciation for the environment are just some of the ideas that were instilled in me whilst in Guiding.

During my years of study at the University of the West Indies I completed a BSc in Ecology and Biology and a MSc in Natural Resource and Environmental Management with a focus on Coastal and Marine Resource Management. Upon completion of my studies I took up a job as Project Coordinator to the project to prepare Barbados' Second National Communication Report to the UNFCCC. I am aware of the workings of the UNFCCC in theory, so attending COP19 will be a fantastic opportunity for me to see the UNFCCC in action.

Attending COP19 as a WAGGGS Delegate not only allows me to see the UNFCCC in action but also to be a part of the action. We not only represent the 10 million voices of WAGGGS but we also join voices with millions of young people around the world who are eager to be catalysts for progress and stewards of the environment.

Outside of Guiding and the environment, I have a keen interest in sporting activities. I am a field hockey player and a board member of the Barbados Hockey Federation and I am the scorer for a youth cricket club in Barbados.

 

Cathrine Støvring Preussler, Denmark

23 years oldCathrine COP19 remote delegate

Communications Working Group (Remote Delegate)

I have always been interested in climate change and the environment as I think everyone should, but something happened a few years ago when I met a Guide from Honduras who had moved to Denmark. It was at a seminar about climate change. She had first-hand experience of how climate change affects daily lives and how she was so shocked to see how we misuse resources in Denmark. It was very enlightening and motivating and since then I have been a very passionate climate advocate which has led me to attend the WLDP Helen Storrow 2012 (Young women leading for a greener future) amongst other things. I now hold seminars about climate change in my MO and that is my biggest passion - to enlighten Guides (and the rest of the world) so they can become climate advocates too.

I have been a Girl Guide since I was seven and I am still very involved on several levels, from weekly guiding meetings (over being part of a team under the national board) to representing my MO as a delegate. Being a Guide is fantastic and it gives me so much energy! I love being a part of something bigger and I love meeting sisters from all over the world who care about the same things that I do.

In my daily life I study to become a classical singer (you know, opera and stuff like that) at the music conservatory. I just started this year so everything is quite new but very exciting.  I like to read, play tennis with my sister, have fun with friends and family and go to the theatre. As a person I can be a bit shy when I first meet people, but that changes quite quickly! I really look forward to being a part of COP19 even though I won't be in Warsaw but I will do my best to support the WAGGGS delegates from my home.

 

 Sylvia Yirenkyi, Ghana


25 years old

Actions Working Group (Youth Delegate)

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

My passion for the environment and climate change was birthed during my undergraduate days when I realised during my thesis that the Government was not doing enough to address the issues of climate impacts. After having pursued BSc Natural Resources Management at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) of Ghana, I realised that though Ghana is said to be endowed with natural resources it is being exploited at a Sylvia COP19 delegaterate which makes us more vulnerable to climate change impacts, and what's even worse is that being a Sub-Saharan country we are already exposed to the adverse effects of climate change.

Since then, I have volunteered and worked in various environmental organisations to build myself up to make an impact in the environment sector. I have had the privilege of also working with YUNGA-FAO on the environmental challenge badges which are one of WAGGGS popular badges. Currently I am working with other young, strong and passionate environmental activists in Ghana and I will dare say we have the strongest environmental movement (Ghana Youth Environmental Movement - GYEM) running in the country right now.

All these could not have happened if not for my Guiding background which has helped build a lot of strong character in me and I will say the Laws have helped shape my life and been my principles. From early childhood the stages of being a Huhuwa Guide to a Young leader have planted the Guiding light and spirit in me and this is what keeps me going and will never die off.

In my MO I have contributed and been part of different committees and activities including organising our 90th Anniversary, some Thinking Day events and represented the youth at our Annual General meetings. I am now excited about the privilege to represent my MO on such an international platform as COP 19.

Going to COP 19 is definitely the start of many more great things in my life. As a passionate young lady I have seen myself being a negotiator at UNFCCC COP and WAGGGS has opened the platform for me to get a first hand training into COP and its operation. I am excited to represent 10 millions girls and women.  

As for my hobbies - I love to travel, more especially the eco-tourism of climbing the mountains and seeing the waterfalls. I also love to volunteer; it always gives me a sense of fulfilment and it is one of the traits Guiding has helped me pick up.

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