Ecopeace Youth Talks on Wednesdays

Tanya Sablok is the Liaison Officer and an interfaith facilitator at the North India office of United Religions Initiative. She works on strengthening interfaith and intergenerational relations, bridging over 60 grassroots groups. She is a Commerce graduate from Delhi University and a postgraduate in Peace and Conflict Studies from the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Jamia Milia Islamia. She is passionate about interweaving faith-based and indigenous solutions with an interfaith approach to solving local challenges.

Jigyasa Gulati is a peace practitioner with a focus on youth and peacebuilding. Currently, she is the Program Manager at Euphrates Institute where she is responsible for building the capacity of grassroots leaders in peace leadership. She is also a Fellow at Amplifying
Leadership of Local Youth (ALLY) in South Asia, a project funded by the EU. Besides, she is the core member of various youth networks working such as the United Network of Young Peacebuilders Asia Youth Advocacy Team, the Asia Working Group of Network of Religious and Traditional Peacebuilders, and the Indian Coalition on Youth, Peace, and Security.

Ishita is currently pursuing her Master’s in International, Social, and Public Policy from the London School of Economics UK. She is an intern at the Commonwealth of Nations under the Directorate of Economic, Youth & Sustainable Development in London, working on research in the field of climate action and policy. Ishita is also the founding director of Exstemplar Education Linkers Foundation, whose goal is to promote exemplary STEM Education in an inclusive and equitable manner. The foundation’s projects focus on enhancing STEM-related academics and research development for youth and women. Ishita is also an appointed ‘Youth Ambassador’ for the Indian subcontinent to Indonesia.

Ishita believes that sustainable development goals are a blueprint for achieving a better future for all. Her purpose is to make a difference for stressed communities through grass root level initiatives and policy interventions.

Jamella Chesney works as an Assistant Research Officer – Climate Change at the Commonwealth Secretariat where she focuses on climate policy development, stakeholder outreach and advocacy to support the coordination and implementation of the Secretariat’s Climate Change Programme. She is experienced in gender-responsive climate action, environmental sustainability, and disaster risk management. 

Jamella holds a master’s degree in Environment, Development and Peace with a specialisation in Climate Change Policy from the University for Peace, Costa Rica, and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Chemistry from Stony Brook University, New York, U.S.A. She is passionate about mentoring young professionals in academic and career development and enjoys dancing, hiking and poetry.

Adithya is a Research scholar residing in Kerala. She had worked with Make a Difference, an NGO that provides educational support for shelter home kids. She has presented a paper in a UGC sponsored National seminar in 2017. Adithya has to her credit two publications in an International peer-reviewed journal.  She has worked as Guest Faculty for a brief period at SN College, Chempazhanthy. After a break, she resumed her teaching career at Sree Sabareesha College, Murikkumvayal. She is currently pursuing research in Environmental Humanities at Kerala University. Her poetry collection is in the editing stage awaiting publication. She has contributed a chapter in an upcoming book on Post-animality.

A student of Ecology Environment and Sustainable Development who was introduced to the world of natural history at a very young age. Visit many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Kerala and India. These journeys have helped her bond with nature, meet new people, and learn the importance of sharing, teamwork, and discipline. While in the forest, silence is golden. This has nurtured in me the habit of keen observation of the surroundings and helps to converse with the inner self. With a strong interest in human-wildlife interactions, ecosystem management, biodiversity conservation, and climate change with a more holistic approach focusing on sustainable solutions, ecosystem restoration, behavioural change, and documenting and using traditional knowledge systems. She believes that peace within and peace around will help in connect with nature better and have a sustainable lifestyle.

Mr Andy Alegre has been working for almost 15 years in various areas of community development, pastoral ministry, partnership, peace, and interreligious dialogue. He serves at the national activation and partnerships of International Justice Mission Philippines leading partnerships with churches, faith-based organizations, communities, and faith leaders to end the online sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines.

He holds an MA in International Law and Human Rights from the United Nations-Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica and an MA in Political Science, majoring in Global Politics from the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.

Issac S. Thomas is a young leader from Kerala, India. He founded Global Youth Movement (GYM) CC in 2017 and joined the Multiregion. Under his leadership, youngsters have grown and thrived as individuals and as a group concentrating on platforms like interfaith, intercultural and intergenerational dialogue, conflict resolution and reconciliation, women and youth empowerment, environmental protection and sustainable development, disarmament of nuclear weapons, advocacy for human rights etc. He is the coordinator of the ‘One Billion Youth for Peace’ movement by Cosmic Community CC and an active member of the Youth Ministry of Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church. He is part of the Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons CC and plays an active role in the Young Voices group, Social Media and Education Curriculum team. Outside URI, being a Bachelor of Technology graduate in electronics and communication, he works as a Network Engineer in Doha, Qatar.

Emina Frljak is a Program Coordinator within Youth for Peace (Bosnia and Herzegovina). She is also a member of the International Youth Committee of Religions for Peace since August 2019. Her academic background is in educational sciences, interreligious studies, and peacebuilding. Her area of work and interest are peace education, interreligious dialogue, and religious literacy. Lately, her interest is focused also on using social media for educational and campaigning purposes, with special emphasis on countering hate speech. She is also a fellow with the KAICIID International Fellows Program, which is focused on equipping religious leaders, civil society actors, and academics in the field of interreligious and intercultural dialogue. She is a member of the GERIS (Global Exchange on Religion in Society) network.

Ms. Merylene Chitharai serves the Religions for Peace and is currently based in Durban, South Africa. Obtaining her Bachelor of Architecture Studies Degree, she works as a graphic artist, 3d designer and architectural technologist with 15 years of experience in the realm of social and sustainable architecture. This has been driven by her passion for social and environmental justice and is sustained by her written engagement with newsprint and social media. As a faith-inspired spiritual eco-activist at heart she has created the Religions for Peace Interfaith Youth Climate Forum and is engaged in various youth climate programs.

Victor Ayegba Mathew is a community development and environmental educator with more than 7 years of experience in promoting eco-friendly solutions and creating programs for environmental learning across schools in Nigeria. Victor has been actively involved with environmental firms in his country in both paid and volunteer roles. He volunteered as an assistant data collector for Greenfaith during the 2021 FaithsforClimate Justice, with EarthCharter as a course co-facilitator, and organized campus FaithsforClimate justice under Greenfaith.

Phil Eke-okocha is the Executive Director, Adesso Development Initiative and Project Lead of the Local Pathways Fellowship at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth initiative. He’s a former Fellow at Rondine Cittadella della Pace, working on climate-related issues, sustainable development, and peacebuilding with young people from conflict and post-conflict countries. Phil holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and development studies and a Masters’s degree in Conflict Management and Humanitarian Action from the University of Siena.