Find out more about the WAGGGS delegates attending COP 19.
24 years old
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)
I 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)
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.