Earth Charter International and Youth Action for Change organized the third annual Youth Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics course during October, 2012. This highly anticipated course attracted over 350 applicants from all over the world. The admission process was very competitive and only 47 individuals were accepted to the online course, representing 35 countries.

The course included five online sessions, guest speakers from different parts of the world, a wide variety of interactive assignments, online videos, music videos, and a final project plan that will be implemented by the participants after the course.

The five online sessions were as follows: Envisioning a more Sustainable World through the Earth Charter Lensl; Ethics and the Earth Charter; Youth Sustainability Leadership; Learning from Successful Projects; and Sustainable Action Projects inspired by the Earth Charter.

Demi Smoloktou, Earth Charter Youth Task Force Leader, was the guest speaker during our first online session. Karim Gaber, President of SHIFT Initiative, joined our second session to discuss stereotyping and his experience working with Earth Charter International in the last Euro-Arab Youth Leadership, Sustainability and Ethics Forum. Three guest speakers joined us during the third online session: Ayla Van Kessel, President of Thumbs Up Africa, Diego Baptista, Secretary General of Sociedade Global, and Jaana Hirsikangas, Coordinator at Naisten Pankki (Women’s Bank) in Helsinki, Finland. Guest speakers, Asah Azefor, Youth Activist, Assembly of Youth for a Sustainable Environment and Development (ASYOUSED), and Dominic Stucker, Program Manager of Sustainability Leaders Network, were with us during the following session. Finally, Mohit Mukherjee, Director of the UPEACE Centre for Executive Education honored us with his presence during our final online session.

The lectures and feedback given by the guest speakers, the interactive online sessions, assignments and resources, and the tireless work of the Earth Charter staff all contributed to making this year’s course the best one yet! This experience will help the graduates to put their final projects to the test and improve the lives of potentially thousands of people, not only in their local communities but also worldwide.  The implementation of these Earth Charter-inspired projects has already begun or will begin shortly. About 25% of the students completed all of the required course work in order to graduate from the online course and will receive their certificates early November.

Earth Charter International and Youth Action for Change are very proud of all the students who participated in the Youth Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics Course, and especially delighted for the graduates who are now more equipped to continue fulfilling their leadership roles within their local communities and around the globe and making our world a much better place. Congratulations to all of those who successfully completed the course! We are already looking forward to receiving the next group of students for our next Youth Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics course in 2013.

To see the participants' final projects, click here.