Phelps Stokes recently hosted a delegation of Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) ambassadors. On September 12th, entrepreneurs Tiburce Chaffa, of Benin; Solomon Allavi, of Ghana; and Phelps Stokes intern Abigail Simmons, of Washington, DC arrived in New York City. The GYIN ambassadors have been working together long distance for several months. They traveled to the United States for the opportunity to continue building new partnerships with both individuals and organizations.
Upon arriving in New York, the GYIN ambassadors were joined by members of Phelps Stokes’ New York for an enlightening conversation with Dr. Jack McGourty, Director of Community and Global Entrepreneurship at the Columbia Business School, which focused on issues regarding youth business and policy change in Africa. This conversation was followed by a tour of the Columbia School of Journalism, led by award winning journalist and Phelps Stokes senior fellow Professor Melvin McCray. GYIN ambassadors Chaffa and Allavi are currently working with the online publication Smart Economies, Africa, and the Diaspora (SEADiaspora) as web journalists, writing about their perspectives on what is currently going on in their home countries of Benin and Ghana, respectively.
After Columbia, the GYIN ambassadors and Phelps Stokes team attended a tour of the United Nations Headquarters. GYIN is a product of the partnership between Phelps Stokes and the International Fund for Agricultual Development (IFAD), part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This trip helped to show the GYIN ambassadors that at the United Nations, the international center of the world, people really are thinking globally. One of the highlights of this visit was the prominent display of a quote by Nobel Laureate and Phelps Stokes trustee Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, featured in the “The United Nations: From War to Development” exhibition; “It is only by patient, persistent effort, by trial and error, that peace can be won.”
GYIN and Phelps Stokes finished off the afternoon by visiting the GrowNYC Youthmarket’s Lower East Side location. GrowNYC is a New York non-profit which works to increase access to healthy, locally grown food in dense urban areas. They spoke with Youthmarket Manager Ryan Morningstar, as well as several Youthmarket participants, about their experiences with youth entrepreneurship, agribusiness, and urban agriculture. The GYIN ambassadors were particularly interested in the concept known as a “food desert”; an urban area with little to no access, whether physical or financial, to fresh, natural food, a problem which the GrowNYC Youthmarket aims to address in by bringing food and nutritional education to these areas.
This exciting series of events marked the beginning of the GYIN ambassadors US Tour, on which they continued to Boston, Tuskegee, and Washington, DC.