What Will Your SwanSong Be?

What we do after retirement is one of the trickiest questions for us all. One option, lifelong learning, has been promoted in some countries as “elder education” has been proven to be tremendously beneficial to maintain healthy brains.

In developed countries, where there is a growing proportion of senior citizens, education programs have been designed to promote healthier and happier lives. They even include social interaction-based exercises. Some programs go so far as to bring in undergraduate students from around the world, such as the lifelong learning program at Semester at Sea (1). These courses help promote transgenerational inspiration and academic exchange.

In developing countries, intergenerational program models have not been adequately considered. In India, for example, adult learning objectives concentrate on literacy rather than on other outcomes. More initiatives are necessary to promote further educational aspirations within these program schemes.

Written by Colina Tran


Case Study: How One Person Can Inspire World Change

Never underestimate the power of a passionate individual..png

Selina Juul, aka the Food Waste Fighter, is a woman that has a strong desire to effect change. When she first came to the lush and bountiful country of Denmark, she was overwhelmed by the amount of food you could find in the supermarkets. However, the downside of this was the immeasurable food waste you could see everywhere. In starting her journey for change, Selina helped lead Denmark to become of the most efficient countries for food waste in the world. Her initiatives led to a complete shift in mentality within the Danish population. How exactly did she do it? Check out her story below!

Never underestimate the power of a passionate individual. What are you passionate about? Maybe we can start the change together.

Written by Petra Cvetanovic.


Years ago in 1986, the world was faced with the catastrophe of the century in Chernobyl, Ukraine. A few small miscalculations of engineers created the biggest tragedy of the recent past. Thousands of people got cancer from the disaster. A few cities turned into “ghost cities.” Thousands of people had to move from their hometown. The enduring trauma of the catastrophe still continues for the elderly. Not surprisingly, the USSR economy was shaken thoroughly and went into decline.

Not only for Ukrainian people but for neighbouring countries, the fallout from the tragedy was a significant hazard. I can personally state that in my country of origin, Turkey, people were caught up in the calamity far too much. In the Black Sea region, which is the closest part of Turkey to Ukraine, people got cancer and other illnesses. Farm products were also affected. When I was in kindergarten, I remember school staff providing us unknowingly with contaminated nuts which were collected from near the Black Sea. Being kids, at the time, we were overjoyed to get them. Yet, even today, I do not know how much more likely I am to get cancer due to consuming them.

Also, when I was in Ukraine in 2010 for an internship, I wanted to visit Chernobyl, but my friends warned me against doing so. As, if someone goes there, they said, he or she must change clothes afterwards to avoid getting contaminated.

When we check news sources, we realise that the disaster still affects the quality of life for people, animals, and plants; even now, radiation is above safe levels.

My words are not enough to convey the extent of pain that has been endured. We can only hope that it never happens anywhere again.

Written by Oguz Yilmazlar

Nagasaki Never Again!

At exactly this time, 72 years ago, Nagasaki was hit with an atomic bomb. Living in Japan, every year I am reminded of this catastrophe as a siren sounds for a minute throughout the country for a moment of silence, as well as for Hiroshima and the end of World War Two for Japan.

A lot of time has passed since the end of “the war to end all wars,” surprisingly said of World War One. Tragically, sirens are now heard in Japanese school yards for missile evacuation drills (1). Will the bold statement above ever be realised?

I have been to Nagasaki several times, the most memorable of which was with a peace-loving group from the United States of America (2). As I experienced visiting Nagasaki with my homestay family 25 years ago, I wanted them to do the same. Now, every year they head to Nagasaki with their homestay families. Sincere gestures like this one, give me hope that we can overcome any obstacle to achieve mutual understanding between cultures, ultimately delivering eternal peace on earth.

For further information, please read my letter of recognition to them:


Fighting for Gender Equality Must Start Early

Fighting for gender equality must start early as gender stereotypes have been directly or indirectly programmed into stories that we are using at schools and in many cultures.

We may recall that when we were kids, we were taught that superheroes were mostly men and that princesses can only find happiness by marrying some “prince charming.” The idea of a woman hero is rarely found across cultures in the world. These boy/girl stereotypes have limited girls enthusiasm to learn and develop believing in their own abilities as all of their male peers are encouraged to dream higher.

Slowly over time, societies, while supporting payroll disparity, have further deepened feelings of superiority/inferiority. For example, “Science is only for men,” will convince girls that growing up to be a scientist is not for them; consequently, this diminishes their opportunity to develop further in this field.

Schools must lead the way to prevent these stereotypes from resuming as they would be guilty of undermining a woman’s right to be who they wish. They will continue to think that “girls will be girls” and are only entitled to certain jobs or responsibilities. We must create a gender-neutral and stereotype-free learning environment where kids are allowed to choose without being judged or frowned upon for being too boyish or girlish.

Written by Colina Tran

Do You Need A Job?


SDG#8 (Sustainable Development Goal: Number 8) states: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. To achieve that, 470 million jobs are needed globally for new entrants into the labour market between 2016 and 2030.

Is it possible?

If you weren’t living under a rock for the past couple of months, I am sure you will recognise this song: De-Spa-Cito. It is a global megahit performed by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee that isn’t only winning the world’s attention but recently started boosting the Puerto Rican economy to the point where the country, which proclaimed bankruptcy a couple of months ago, is slowly raising up. Catalysing the boost is the tourism industry by providing many new job openings and foreign currency flowing into the country.

According to daily Un Nuevo Dia, tourist interest in travelling to Puerto Rico has increased 45 percent since the song began to play worldwide. How did this happen? Just including the phrase, “this is how we do it down in Puerto Rico,” and filming the music video in fantastic locations certainly seems to have helped. (1)

With this success setting the precedent of its kind, SDG#8 is becoming more likely to be achieved by the second. If you are reading this, tell us what you can do to boost your country’s economy. Can we help?

Written by Petra Cvetanovic




Hiroshima Never Again!

Hiroshima is dear to my heart as I represented AIESEC there many years ago as part of the New Zealand delegation to a Global Youth Village sponsored by the Japanese government.

To memorialise the bombing of Hiroshima, 72 years ago to the day, I would like to encourage you to get involved in an initiative that I am passionate about. A year ago to the day, I made my mind up to establish a connection with the Green Legacy Hiroshima (GLH) initiative. It aims to distribute seeds of trees which survived the atomic bombing there worldwide as symbols of hope and resilience.

I was determined to introduce GLH to my home country of New Zealand as it has had a resolute nuclear-free zone status since 1984 (1). I am moved to announce that, as of today, at precisely this moment, New Zealand, in the city of Dunedin, has officially joined the growing number of countries that are determined to bring about a nuclear free world (2). To quote the words of the Mayor of Dunedin, “Green Legacy Hiroshima is really a show of hope, willing for the whole world to take note and stand, united, against such atrocities for the betterment and peace of our planet now and for future generations.”

More information about Green Legacy Hiroshima is available online at

(2) / /

Education is a Must

As a famous Turkish TV advertisement said a few years ago: “”Education is a must.”

In my previous posts, I wrote about the role and importance of learning. Of course, all of us can agree with the importance of education, so that’s why this post will be shorter.

Now, I want to share the literacy rates of the most developed and undeveloped countries in the world. When I say “development,” I don’t only mean in education; it includes education, economy, technology, culture, social life, purchasing power and politics as well.

The United States, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland are ahead in literacy (1) and development (2) for sure. But, on the bottom, we see Chad, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Niger (3). This cannot be a coincidence, can it?

As Nelson Mandela once said: “No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.”

Written by Oguz Yilmazlar




Zero Hunger

World hunger is one of the most important issues that need to be combatted as soon as possible; otherwise, the next generation will be the primary victims. Even though we succeeded in cutting the number of people living in malnutrition by half in 15 years, there is a long way to go to reach the 2030 goal which is no human being suffering from famine or malnutrition whatsoever.

Lack of food security and sufficient nourishment could result in a huge number of stunted and shrivelled children and reduce work productivity in adults, especially in African and South Asian countries. The world does produce enough food for everyone literally. However, the actual availability of food and insufficient income to acquire nourishing food are the two most important issues in hard up places. One proposed solution is to generate a sustainable agriculture system that is robust enough to feed generation after generation. Because impoverished lands often have harsh weather and many conflicts, they require lots of time to develop, a massive budget, and agreements between countries to improve their living standards. Surely, equal accessibility to health services and a comfortable existence are the best achievements ever contrived by humanity that ought to be appreciated by each and every one of us. Developed countries must step up to the plate and be more proactive in research to develop a climate adaptable agriculture system that adopts new technology to help famished peoples and spread its use through education.

Written by Colina Tran

How to Feed the World in 2050?

Today, on a planet that grows sufficient food for all, a billion people go hungry.

Another billion over consume, increasing risks of chronic disease.

One-third of all food harvested is lost or wasted, with food waste in industrialised countries almost as high as total net food production in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This video was released 4 years ago. Today, it has about 71,000 views and 64 comments.

Where do you stand?

Written by Petra Cvetanovic