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Di Ciano speaking at Davos
Antonella Di Ciano MIDP'25 participated in a panel at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos in January. The panel session was titled "Where Nature Meets Conflict."

By Antonella Di Ciano MIDP'25

Amidst the snow-capped mountains of Davos, Switzerland in January, I was immersed in an atmosphere teeming with possibility and purpose. As part of the Davos50 delegation of Global Shapers invited to the 54th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, I embarked on a journey that transcended borders and boundaries, delving into the heart of global discourse and action.

The theme of this year's meeting resonated deeply with me: "Rebuilding Trust." Trust has emerged as a cornerstone of progress and prosperity in a world marked by uncertainty and skepticism. From transparency and consistency to accountability, the fundamental principles driving trust were at the forefront of discussions at this annual summit.

The Annual Meeting welcomed diverse voices, including over 100 governments, major international organizations, Forum partners, civil society leaders, experts, youth representatives, social entrepreneurs and news outlets. Nearly 3,000 individuals from over 125 countries collaborated on pressing issues ranging from global cooperation and economic growth to AI development and the climate crisis.

When I arrived, Davos felt like a surreal yet transformative experience. Where else could you quietly sip coffee only to have Bill Gates or Dr. Jane Goodall stroll past? Davos humanized the seemingly unattainable figures of our world, offering the chance to engage with them personally, sit beside them at lunch tables and engage in meaningful conversations.

Crucially, Davos underscored the vital role of youth in shaping our collective future. As a member of the Davos50 delegation, I witnessed firsthand how young activists worldwide are driving change and injecting fresh perspectives into global dialogues. At the heart of our efforts lies the imperative to restore confidence in the future and bridge generational divides.

Davos Panel
Antonella Di Ciano MIDP'25 (far left) joined a panel at Davos to discuss the interplay between environmental preservation and security. 

One highlight of my Davos experience was participating as a speaker in the panel session titled "Where Nature Meets Conflict." We explored the intricate interplay between environmental preservation and security in a lively debate. I had the opportunity to shed light on the ecocide unfolding in the Venezuelan Amazonian region, exemplified by the devastation wrought by the Orinoco Mining Arch and the human and environmental atrocities perpetrated by organized crime.

Joining me on the panel were esteemed individuals such as Jojo Mehta, co-founder and CEO of Stop Ecocide International, Amy Pope, director general of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Feike Sybesma, chairman of the supervisory board of Royal Philips. Ilona Szabo de Carvalho, president of the Igarape Institute, guided our discussion.

Environmental protection emerged as a central theme, highlighting the urgent need for global cooperation and technological innovation in peace-building efforts. As governments grapple with resource constraints and criminal involvement, technology offers a powerful tool for addressing environmental challenges and fostering sustainable development.

During these discussions, the importance of Latin America's role in tackling global issues came to the fore. The Amazon, a vital lifeline for our planet, commanded attention, underscoring the region's pivotal role in environmental conservation. As stewards of the Amazon, Latin American countries must unite to preserve this ecological treasure for future generations.

I want to share this message with young people aspiring to engage in positive change and global decision-making: Dare to dream and dare to act. While the journey may be daunting, perseverance and conviction are your greatest allies. Embrace rejection as a stepping stone to success, for every "no" brings you closer to a resounding "yes." Remember, the path to change is paved with determination and resilience.

As we reflect on the importance of rebuilding trust and addressing environmental concerns, let us recognize that this task is a shared responsibility. From ministers to students, company owners to journalists, we play a vital role in shaping a more equitable, sustainable future. Together, let us harness the power of collaboration and collective action to build a world founded on trust, integrity and environmental stewardship.

Antonella Di Ciano MIDP’25 is a Master of International Development Policy student and a Fulbright Scholar from Venezuela. Antonella received a B.A. in International Studies from Central University of Venezuela and an M.A. on Anti Corruption Policies from Salamanca University in Spain. She is an Outgoing Curator of the Global Shapers Caracas (Initiative of the World Economic Forum). Prior to coming to Sanford, Di Ciano worked project management, gender equality and conflict resolution in Venezuela, including time as Regional Programmes Officer for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office at the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).