Meet 12-person youth team to champion Resilient Realities research

Resilient Realities is a youth-led research project that will explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth civil society around the world.

The research aims to identify the kind of resourcing and support needed to strengthen the youth response and recovery.

Resilient Realities will use an innovative methodology designed and implemented by young people because they know better than anyone else the right questions to ask.

These are the young volunteers set to spear-head the research around the globe.

Daniel Calarco

Daniel is a 23 year old law student from Brazil, studying at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) Direito Rio and is a visiting student at Columbia Law School. His commitments to change were shaped by his childhood growing up in the favela Vila do Vintém, well known for violence and the war on drugs. He focuses on human rights, public policy, and public-private cooperation for sustainable development.

In 2015 he founded the International Youth Watch, which works with institutions at the national and international level to empower youth from marginalised communities. He is a former member of the Brazilian Youth Council, UNMGCY and served as a consultant for youth policies at UNESCO. He is also a speaker and co-author of several books about youth, activism, and digital inclusion.

Young people are leading the response to COVID-19, helping to save lives and support our communities, both online and offline. Our voices need to be heard, so we can keep leading our communities to a new and better normal.


Jackson Schiefelhein

Jackson is passionate about creating effective and culturally-sensitive development initiatives with a focus on sustainability and human rights. He is currently studying Sustainability and Global Studies at Arizona State University (ASU) in the US and hopes to one day work for an international development organisation.

Outside of his studies Jackson leads the ASU chapter of the Fair Trade Campaign, the largest university chapter in the USA. He also serves as the Vice President of Advocacy for the United Nations Association, a movements of Americans dedicated to supporting the United Nations.

He currently also works for ASU’s Changemaker Central organization as a student leader, connecting students at the university to social change and empowering them to make a difference with their ideas. 

Youth hold the power to shape the future and make the world a better place. Doing this research is one way I can help create a better future through them.


Kim Allen

Kim trained in Journalism at the Divine Word University in his home country of Papua New Guinea (PNG). He has a passion for youth and development work. Kim has been involved in a number of youth advocacy moments and taken on a number of volunteer activities and leadership roles. This has given him the opportunity to attend a number of international summits including the Global Changemakers First virtual summit (April 2020), the UN Economic and Social Council Youth Forum, (New York, 2019) and the Pacific Regional Youth Forum on Human Rights and Good Governance (October 2019).

Kim has proven his ability to lead and coordinate teams, including serving as the President of his Milne Bay Student Association while being a student at the Divine Word University. He is a member of three international youth networks and various national and local youth groups.

I look forward to presenting the voices of fellow young people and youth-led organisations in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific region. The Resilient Realities initiative encourages youth participation in research whilst presenting a collective youth voice to Governments, policy makers and youth partners to catalyse the COVID-19 response.


Lia Inguanti-Pledger

Lia is a Public Health graduate in Melbourne, Australia. She is passionate about local civic engagement, strengthening youth participation in public policy and improving urban liveability.

Lia is a community organiser and believes in grassroots campaigning, people power and the capacity of young people to tackle institutional, structural and social barriers to health.

She is a Co-Director of Action for Health, a youth initiative advocating for improved urban health through sustainable development and design.

She has worked in recruitment, diversity and campaigning at Australia’s two largest youth-led organisations, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Oaktree, which address climate change and poverty in Australia and the Asia Pacific.

In 2019, Lia assisted the First Peoples Health Unit at Griffith University to research Indigenous Australian education and career outcomes to inform and improve tertiary education policy.

I believe it’s important that we look beyond how COVID-19 is affecting young people. I’m eager to discover how young people are shaping their communities and finding new ways to activate, adapt, respond and build resilience.


Eric Morgen Moyo

Eric is the founder of Community Climate Action Trust – a grassroots organization whose mission is to mobilise & equip communities to address Climate Change and its impacts. Eric is also the founder of Africa’s Youth Anti-Corruption Movement (AYAC)- a youth-led movement addressing forms of corruption decimating Africa’s economies. 

Eric is passionate about youth empowerment and community development and has been involved with a number of initiatives including the Digital Grassroots, an international youth-led grassroots organization advocating for internet rights & access for all, the British Council Next Generation Youth Task Force, Activista and Amplify Change.

He is also a cross-genre author of inspirational novels & books and completed a BSc in Agriculture. He is currently studying Climate Change & Sustainable Development.

With many global issues affecting youth today including unemployment, armed conflicts, migration crises, and climate change impacts; engaging in this research project is an opportunity to explore yet another serious challenge which is impacting the lives of young people severely.


Rim Menia

Rim is a pan-Africanist and cultural activist from Algeria. She studies architecture and urban planning at Ecole Polytechnique d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme of Algiers with a focus on heritage and earth architecture. Rim serves on the Power Team of the Afrika Youth Movement. In her research, she works on the intersectionalities of feminism, culture and identity in North Africa.

Jimena Almario & Bonnie Devine

Jimena and Bonnie are socio-artistic activists from Colombia who founded La Múcura together. La Múcura is a youth-led organisation focused on exploring the relationship between the arts and social transformation in South America. Both Jimena and Bonnie are experienced musicians and researchers. Jimena has a background in psychology and has studied musical creation, technology and ancestral arts. Bonnie is a social worker and studied gender and political studies. 

For the last seven years, Jimena and Bonnie have travelled and worked across Latin America threading a powerful network of community leaders, artists, and activists together.

Their research and art seek to understand, feel and celebrate the complex and empowering relationship between music, social movements and community realities.

The best way to get to know them is through their music. This is their most recent CD titled Surquizofónica, it represents a diverse, creative and fragmented, yet deeply resilient, South America.

This is an important moment for youth led organisations, we need to open our eyes and hearts to understand how we are responding to COVID, the difficulties we are facing and the great potential for resilience and change that we are demonstrating.

Aurona Sarker

Aurona is a recent graduate from the Asian University for Women with a major in PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics). Originally from Bangladesh, living in Dhaka, Aurona grew up as a member of a religious minority group. She credits this experience as part of the reason she believes so strongly in increasing equal access to opportunity.

She is driven by a desire to connect individuals with the right resources and opportunities regardless of their backgrounds. She led a student organisation called “Speak Up Club”, which aimed to raise awareness and advocate for women’s rights issues.

Aurona is also involved with an organisation called “Moner Bondhu” (friend to the mind) that provides mental health and wellbeing services to people of all ages. 

Ting Zhang 

Ting was born on the island of Hainan and grew up in San Francisco and Beijing. She is passionate about cross-cultural dialogue, global affairs, and social impact. She studied International Politics and Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina with semesters abroad in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Ting has launched initiatives to cultivate a new generation of young changemakers in China in the fields of philanthropy and social innovation. She has also worked at the UN, diplomatic NGOs, as well as American and Chinese, think tanks. Ting served on the board of a student-led philanthropic foundation where she led trips to rural America and China. She is also a Yiqiao fellow, a  Bill and Melina Gates Foundation-backed public service fellowship in China, and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, where she is leading an initiative to help youths better navigate the COVID-19 work environment.

Lauryn Mwale

Lauryn was born and raised in Lusaka, Zambia, but currently calls Scotland her home as she is studying Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh. She is passionate about feminist issues, sustainable social impact, youth leadership and equitable development.

She spent two and a half years as an active member (a local committee president and national financial chair) of AIESEC UK, a national branch of the largest youth-led organisation in the world. 

Lauryn is currently working on an inquiry with the Scottish Parliament to better understand the support available for Black Asian and Minority Ethnic women in their transition from education to work. Professionally, she is very interested in financial markets and consulting.

She is very interested in behavioural economics and the long-term impact of COVID-19 on social interactions, internationalism and global economies. She is also really excited to see the positive ways our world will change in response to our new normal.

Emilia Gonzalez

Emilia is a young researcher passionate about exploring wellbeing through movement, creativity, nature and community-building. Emilia has collaborated on youth-focused and youth-led research and community work.

She is interested in the interaction between child participation and child protection, wellbeing and resettlement of young newcomers, gender-based violence in work with young people, and much more. 

Emilia was born in Colombia and currently calls Montreal her home. She is currently writing her Master’s thesis at McGill University on research collaboration, exploring how community-based organisations contribute to migrant and refugee youth’s wellbeing and resettlement in Montreal, and hopes to complete her degree in Social and Cultural Psychiatry. Her work explores youth resilience and participation through a Children’s Rights framework.

When she is not climbing rocks or walking on a slackline, Emilia is caring for her seedlings and plants, teaching someone about food fermentation, sunbathing with friends in parks, or creating things with her hands.

She loves connecting with young people, listening to their stories and co-developing projects that have the potential to transform our society as well as the individuals involved. 

Mirre Beek

Mirre is a 28-year-old researcher and Youth Advisor for Refugees from The Netherlands. Growing up in the city of Amsterdam with people from 180 different ethnic origins, Mirre was troubled by phenomena such as Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, far right-extremism, and religious radicalisation. She was keen to understand these phenomena and combat polarization in society.

Mirre graduated in 2016 from the research master Migration, Ethnic Relations, and Multiculturalism.

Last summer, she published her first research on religiosity and the integration of first-and second-generation Muslim migrants. In her professional career, Mirre worked on projects tackling children’s rights issues and discussing religious and sexual diversity in school.

During the refugee crisis in 2016-2017, she was a project leader for the housing of refugees. Whilst having Christian, Jewish, and non-religious family roots, Mirre is fascinated by the Arab culture.

She lived the last year-and-a-half in Morocco to commit to a full-time study in the Arabic language. Now she is back in Amsterdam and coaches 50 young refugees from countries such as Syria and Eritrea during the COVID-19 crisis.