Youth News Archives - Earth Charter

Youth Leadership Training on ESD Webinar for Susty Schools in Nigeria

Earth Charter Young Leader Olabanji Jackson-Oke from Nigeria reached out to ECI Youth Coordinator, Christine Lacayo, for the opportunity to receive the Youth Leadership training on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) for his group of volunteers with the organization SustySchools. On 3 & 17 February, Christine implemented this webinar to a total of 19 youth eager to train other youth in schools around Nigeria. The Susty Schools Project is an initiative of SustyVibes – a start up organisation, founded in 2016, targeted at creating awareness on sustainability issues to young Nigerians. This two-day training was designed to sensitize youth on ESD concepts and strengthen their capacity to become ESD multipliers in order to reach a more just and sustainable world. This series of ESD Leadership trainings was implemented in various regions around the world in 2017 to contribute with the goals of the UNESCO Global Action Programme on ESD Priority Area #4, which is focused on youth engagement. The Earth Charter International created for UNESCO the curriculum for this training in 2016.

susty schools webinar training

Volunteers within the Susty Schools network teach young children all acrosssusty schools Nigeria in Nursery, Primary and Secondary schools about the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There are currently 28 Susty School Volunteers spread across the country, aged between 18-35 years who are passionate and instrumental to the work with young children, both in creating awareness of the goals but more importantly, in inspiring innovative solutions. Susty Schools has a target to reach at least 24 schools in 2018 and they have reached out to 5 schools so far.



“Receiving this ESD training is invaluable to the volunteers at Susty Schools. We received a webinar on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as part of the UNESCO GAP PN4 project and we now understand better, through several activities, the ESD competencies to pass on – Know, Do, Be, Live together. Our favorite activity we learned from this training so far is the Privilege Walk in Systems Thinking which helps open our eyes to the importance of respect and equality for all and how we are one interconnected system in life. We have now incorporated many of these activities and competencies in our learning syllabus for the volunteers to implement their workshops. We also have a tracking template with which to report our workshop progress, which we will share at the end of this year.”

-Ijeoma Achinivu for Susty SchoolsSDGs Nigeria


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New Mapting Version 2.0- Download on iOS or Android!

We are excited to announce our newest version of Mapting 2.0! Mapting is a free tool infogr Maptingthat invites users to look for everyday actions that people take which help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While learning more about the SDGs users can find which Earth Charter Principles are linked to each SDGs. Mapting was officially launched at an event called “Youth boosting the promotion and implementation of the SDGs” held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 10 November 2016. After a year of being launched Mapting has had 8,295 downloads and 5,358 active users. The countries with the most activity are China, US, and India.

With this new version of Mapting we are excited to announce many different features.  Users can now sign up as an individual or as an institution being able to show case and track their work as an NGO, institution, organization, or school. The app is now  available in Spanish in order to have a larger reach to Spanish speaking countries. Our Mapting Blog is now linked to the app, write us an article to publish about your project/work and tell us how you’re using Mapting.

Users can now click on other users profile picture to send a private message in order to find out more about their project. View your SDG wheel to see which SDGs you still need to use to fill in the colored wheel. In the global map, find out who is using Mapting around the world, now with the option to filter by SDG or by Earth Charter Principle.

You can now also search through the photo feed by keyword finding specific projects, initiatives or a user. When users take a picture or a video of an SDG action, the app will automatically link it to one of our Earth Charter Principles as well as the “Ethical Root” Earth Charter principle, representing Earth Charter Principles 1-4 which embody all SDGs.

  1. Respect Earth and life in all its diversity
  2. Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love
  3. Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable, and peaceful
  4. Secure Earth’s bounty and beauty for present and future generations
global map features

Search for projects around the world by SDG or by EC principle

Mapting was created based on the belief that individuals, specifically young individuals, have power to initiate and contribute to social change. This app is a simple, entertaining way to discover and engage with the Global Goals and the Earth Charter principles. Our goal is to popularize the app across the world spreading the movement of sustainable development in every region of the world.

We plan to generate a report at the end of the year to see which SDG has been most used, as well as which country or organization has been most active.

Download the new version of Mapting on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android now for free at to join people around the world who Snap & Map everyday acts that contribute to the SDGs. If you have already downloaded the app, make sure to check your app store for instructions on how to update the app to the new version.


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Next Youth Course on Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics Starting 9 April!

We are currently starting Week 7 of our first Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics Youth course of the year. This 10-week online course is offered four times a year in English in Spanish for youth between the ages of 18-35 covering topics such as Leadership, Sustainability, Ecoliteracy, Systems Thinking, Ethics, Facilitation, and the Earth Charter. This programme is one of Earth Charter International´s commitments to the UNESCO Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development.

In this particular course we have 21 participants from 15 different countries across Latin America, the US, Africa, and Europe. The diversity of the participants is what makes the course even more enriching. Participants are expected to complete the course by implementing a workshop in their own communities touching on one of the topics covered in the course. Earth Charter Young Leaders Mary Katherine Belknap from the US and Jose Ignacio Fernándo Víquez from Costa Rica are helping to co-facilitate this course with Earth Charter Youth Projects Coordinator, Christine Lacayo.

Our next online youth training programme will be in Spanish and will begin on 9 April 2018 with a deadline to apply by 19 March! Please watch the video below for more details and email Christine Lacayo, Youth Projects Coordinator if you are interested in registering for our next course: [email protected]


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Meeting with the Activist Lolita Chávez

On 19 January the OihuK feminist space, which in Basque (the co-official language of the Basque Country) means shouting, organized a talk with the indigenous leader Lolita Chávez under the slogan “I was not born to be murdered”.pic lolita

Making Lolita’s words my own, “before you start you have to place yourself” I would like to explain the space, time and movement conditions that took place in this talk that made it something special, not only for the assistants but also for Lolita, as she recognized herself.

Lolita Chávez is a Guatemalan activist with a recognized career as an advocate for indigenous communities, environment, and women’s rights. She is also a leader of the K’iche´s Peoples Council (CPK) for the defense of life, nature, land and territory and she is part of the Mesoamerican Initiative of Women for the Defense of Human Rights.

The talk focused on the work carried out by the Mayan K’iche´s communities against mining companies and transnationals, and to stop the expansion of the mining, lumber, hydroelectric and agroindustrial sectors in the territory. Everything that Lolita talked about was in harmony with several of the Earth Charter pillars, such as:

  1. Respect for Earth and life in all its diversity.
  2. Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love.
  3. Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable, and peaceful.
  4. Secure Earth’s bounty and beauty for present and future generations.
  5. Protect and restore the integrity of Earth’s ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life.
  6. Ensure that economic activities and institutions at all levels promote human development in an equitable and sustainable manner.
  7. Affirm gender equality and equity as prerequisites to sustainable development and ensure universal access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity.
  8. Uphold the right of all, without discrimination, to a natural and social environment supportive of human dignity, bodily health, and spiritual well-being, with special attention to the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities.
  9. Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision making, and access to justice.
  10. Promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence, and peace


Because of her activism, Lolita Chávez has received threats and attacks that have forced her to leave her country and to be in Bilbao during these months in the Program of Temporary Protection of Human Rights Defenders. Therefore, the time in which the talk was given also has its reason. Next 29 January, Lolita will receive the “Ignacio Ellacuria” Basque Cooperation Award 2017, granted by the Basque Government in recognition of her work in defense of Human Rights and in favor of equality and justice among peoples.

OihuK is a recovered and self-managed space for women located in the neighborhood of Rekalde in the city of Bilbao. At first, you can think that its existence is by chance, but, remembering the history of this worker and activist neighborhood we can understand why the first feminist, self-managed and recovered space from the Basque Country is in this neighborhood and not in another place. Back in the 70s, the first Psychosocial Module and family planning program was launched for women and opened in Rekalde, making it a reference place for the country of Spain.

Lolita Chávez’s talk in OihuK took place 10 days before receiving the “Ignacio Ellacuría” Award and a few months before she will return to her country with great enthusiasm to return to her roots, her family, her community, but, also at risk of being arrested or killed. Her speech gave her the necessary courage to know that she will not go alone, and as she asked, we will continue supporting her in all her work from here.

Maltiox, Eskerrik asko, Thank you, Lolita!

Photos: Itxaso Bengoetxea and OihuK

Written by: ECYL Itxaso Bengoetxea

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ECYL Attends 2nd Annual International Trash Conference & Exhibition

The 2nd Annual International Trash Conference & Exhibition (ITCE) was organized by Environmental Deficiency Elimination for the Nations – Garden City Project (EDEN GCP) in collaboration with Earth Charter International rohdof2(ECI) Youth Network based in Costa Rica. This conference took place on the 56 of October, 2017 at PIND Complex, Warri, Delta State, Nigeria.

Participants consisted of both high ranking professionals and researchers from universities and other organizations as well as students from all over Nigeria. The practical presentations and workshops sessions held during this conference established a solid framework for global sustainability especially amongst the youths.

The aims of this conference were to:

  • Exhibit sustainable development technologies/materials alongside other global change makers
  • Inspire both delegates and participants in sustainability works
  • Motivate both Participants and delegates to collaboratively and ethically implement their social – impact ideas in response to problems confronting them in their communities

    Extreme left, Victor Okechukwu (Co founder of EDEN GCP), next Chibuike Emmanuel (Co founder of EDEN GCP), next, Rohdof Lactem Yengeh (ECYL) next, Chuks Okoriekwe Esq. (Conference Speaker) and Tamunotonye Harry (EDEN GCP Online Campaign Manager)

Day one of the conference was more of introduction and getting to know participants and sharing the contents of the conference. Mr. Victor Okechukwu [Earth Charter Young Leader (ECYL)] and Mr Chibuike Emmanuel welcomed the participants and created an interface of interactions amongst participants.

After a moment of interactions amongst participants, the first presenter that happens to be another Earth Charter Young Leader (ECYL) by name Rohdof Lactem Yengeh from Cameroon made a presentation on the Earth Charter Initiative, the objectives and missions as well as how the Earth Charter globally impacts other youth’s lives.

Rohdof Lactem Yengeh on behalf of Christine Lacayo (Youth project coordinator of ECI) elaborated on the creation of awareness programs on Education for Sustainable Development while impacting the lives of many youths and global sustainability projects ECI is carrying out and the need for youths to enroll on the online Leadership, Sustainability and Ethics (LSE) trainings ECI offers 4 times a year in English and Spanish.  Most of the youth participants expressed much interest in signing up for the online LSE program.


All of the presentations made during the conference pointed towards global sustainability and Education for Sustainable Development which happens to be a strong pillar of ECI. This conference initiated a lot of networking amongst participants including the facilitators.

To view Youth Projects Coordinator, Christine Lacayo’s, Keynote Speech from abroad click here:


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RIJLF Partners with the Earth Charter International!

Monday, 4 December 2017, the Earth Charter Youth Coordinator, Christine Lacayo, and myself, Amandine Pieux, had the pleasure of speaking via Skype with the President of the RIJLF (International Network of Young Francophone Leaders), Mélina Seymour, and administrator, Guelmbaye Ngarsandjé. AfLogo RIJLFter some very promising e-mail exchanges, we talked about possibilities for joint projects, with a view of extending the scope of the Earth Charter within French speaking regions and to share stories of inspiring youth working towards a sustainable future.

RIJLF is a non-profit organization whose main goal is to connect and engage young native French speakers who put their knowledge and skills at the service of the common good. The company’s head office is based in Quebec (Canada), however, RIJLF is active in many francophone countries through local initiatives that contribute to social or economic development (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Ivory Coast, France, Haiti, Mauritania, Niger, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Chad and Togo).

The RIJLF young Francophone leaders work in synergy toward the promotion of freedom, peace, education, training, entrepreneurship, social innovation, the preservation of the environment and ecosystems, and leadership in all French speaking countries. They contribute to transforming society positively through actions in social, entrepreneurial, cultural, and environmental areas or in any other field that aims to improve the living conditions of the population.

The message conveyed by RIJLF, and the conviction that Christine and I perceived through Mélina and Guelmbaye, confirmed our motivation to develop this long term collaboration, to “inspire, motivate, impact positively the young Francophone leaders on the international scene” (RIJLF). In particular, we plan to organize joint webinars to mutually enrich each other’s efforts, share each other’s inspiring youth stories, and promote each other’s initiatives. Through this new partnership, we hope wholeheartedly to awaken the consciousness of young people and to engage them, every day towards a more sustainable and peaceful planet.

Written by Earth Charter Intern: Amandine Pieux

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Independent Film Showcases the Youth Efforts of Earth Charter Indiana

By: Lorna Battista 

Independent Film 3A new short film, “Little Warriors,” illustrates the passionate actions of the youth members of Earth Charter Indiana. Directed by documentary filmmaker Sam Mirpoorian, “Little Warriors” will be premiering in August at the Indy Film Festival in Indianapolis and the Global Impact Film Festival in Washington, D.C.

It tells the story of the efforts of the kids in Earth Charter Indiana to push Indiana, a traditionally conservative and Republican state, to pass climate change resolutions. Under the Independent Film 1leadership of Jim Poyser, the founder and director of the group, the kids involved have been speakers at public events and testified at governmental hearings about the necessity of passing resolutions to move forward on climate change action.

Sam Mirpoorian wanted to make a climate change film, approached from a unique and small-scale angle. Earth Charter Indiana and Jim Poyser provided that angle, delivering a story that does center on climate change but also on the efforts of Poyser as an educator and mentor, and on the dedication of the youth involved.

EC IndianaMirpoorian hopes that the reach of “Little Warriors” will grow, perhaps enough for it to be seen by the conservative Governor of Indiana, Republican Eric Holcomb. The film demonstrates the strength that youth voices can have, on any topic; getting kids passionate and involved on important global issues is extremely valuable for both them and the movements that they stand behind.


Want to learn more about Earth Charter Indiana? Go to:


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ECI in Ottawa for the UNESCO Week on Peace and Sustainable Development


© Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO)

On 6 to 10 March, 2017, two Earth Charter International Secretariat staff attended the UNESCO Week on Peace and Sustainable Development in Ottawa, Canada. The weeklong event brought together over 400 people, including 50 youth delegates, from two transformational movements in education: Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Global Citizenship Education (GCED). These two spheres have the shared purpose of preparing people to create more peaceful, just and sustainable societies.

The event opened with acknowledgement to the indigenous territory where the event was held, and with an opening ceremony and remarks from Maliseet Elder Mac Saulis. Speeches, panel discussions, presentations, workshops, intergenerational dialogues, a world café, and music were to follow throughout the five days. Participants from government, NGOs, businesses, and educational institutions presented their various projects, initiatives, and goals, and dialogued around the future direction and challenges for ESD and GCED as well as possibilities for collaboration.


© Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO)

Woven throughout the various presentations and activities during the week, three themes continued to arise: engaging young people, technological innovations, and capacity building for teachers. On the theme of engaging young people, UNESCO built this into the very structure of the event, selecting and brining 50 youth delegates to Ottawa for the week. These delegates, specially selected from thousands of applicants, came representing different organizations and networks related to ESD and GCED.


© UNESCO/Julie Saito

One the Action Areas of GAP is on mobilizing and engaging youth in ESD. Partner Network 4, a network of organizations recognized by UNESCO for their contribution in this area, has met annually at these GAP meetings to scale up, build synergies, and implement a flagship project related to mobilizing youth in ESD. Earth Charter International (ECI) holds a co-chair for GAP Partner Network 4, and recently designed the ESD Leadership training script as part of the Flagship project.

During the week, key partners in Partner Network 4 met to offer feedback on the new training script, to debrief on their experiences running pilot workshops, and to plan the following phases of the Flagship—an ESD Young Leaders Network for training alumni and an ESD Young Leaders Conference in 2018. Meanwhile, all key partners across all five Partner Networks reviewed their collective progress toward their GAP commitments and flagship projects.

Using technology and social media to engage young people was another recurring theme. One way that ECI is rising to this challenge is through one of their GAP Commitments, a 10-week online training for young leaders in ¨Leadership, Sustainability and Ethics¨ which includes weekly tasks online and offline. In addition, ECI has developed and launched a free photo-sharing app, MAPTING, in collaboration with Soka Gakkai International, for sharing positive actions contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The photos and videos are linked to the related SDGs and Earth Charter principles and pinned to a shared world map. Other organizations are finding new ways of using social media, digital story telling, virtual reality, and online platforms to expand, enhance, and develop new ways of doing ESD.

student-teacher-coordinator-online-esd-courseIn addition to youth participation and new technologies, many participants were focused on training teachers for ESD and GCED. In this area, ECI was able to share their online certificate programmes and intensive in-person courses for educators on Transformative Learning while learning about the platforms, methods, content, and structures that other organizations are using or considering.

Beyond participating in the planned events during the event, ECI staff were delighted to reunite with old Earth Charter friends, meet students and professors from online courses in person, and meet new potential partners and collaborators. They were also keen to ground ethics and values as the foundation of the dialogue on education for a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world.

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Earth Charter Youth Group to Advisor to the Ministry of Environment: Esther Kelechi Agbarakwe of Nigeria

esther-kelechi-agbarakweMy name is Esther Abgarakwe. I´m from Nigeria. My friends call me ¨Esther Climate¨—it´s a long story! I started an Earth Charter Youth Group in 2006 in Calabar. At that time, the Earth Charter was active in Nigeria but there was not much youth participation. It really pushed me to lobby and advocate for youth participation on environmental issues.

At that time, I participated in an Earth Charter E-Glo (Earth Charter Global Learning Opportunity) training programme that taught me a lot about social media. My first contact with blogging was through that programme and my blog won me a scholarship to go to a Conference in Scotland. That was my first travel abroad experience, and from that conference I met amazing people like the Elders. I asked one of them an interesting question in that forum and that sort of got me remembered around the world.

Since then, I have been working with the Elders for many years, now with a project call the Elders + Youngers project. It has been the biggest project of my life because I´ve gotten to work with four amazing people: Mary Robinson, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Desmond Tutu, and Fernando Cardoso.

esther-kelechi-agbarakwe-climate-actionFrom the blogging I learned from E-Glo, I´ve continued blogging a lot. Blogging has given me the opportunity to talk about so many things I like. One of the micro-blogs I use a lot is Facebook. On Facebook, I changed my time to ¨Esther Climate¨ because I wanted to interrupt conversations about politics among young people and intercept that with environmental issues and climate change—so I changed my name to ¨Esther Climate.¨

And the name stuck. When people see it, they pause and think, ¨Why Esther Climate?¨ And that´s an opportunity to change someone´s mindset, to raise awareness or improve knowledge in someone around environmental issues. They would ask the question about the name, and I would reply ¨Yes—this is what it means…¨ and then talk to them about climate change.

My favorite Earth Charter Principle is the first one- Care for the Community of Life. I love it because it makes me feel more connected to the human species and everything that is on Earth—whether it is a fly, a human being, or a plant. The Earth Charter was really my first entry into environmental issues. Its principles expanded my mind to see things differently (unusual as it may be where I come from). It could really interest you to know that Earth Charter covers a whole wide range of issues, from faith to humanity.

esther-kelechi-agbarakwe-workingNow I work as an Advisor to the Minister of the Environment. This is my career now; I think I´ll do environmental work for the rest of my life. And the [Earth Charter] Principle is still there.

When I was invited to join the Minister of the Environment as an Advisor, it was a dream come true. I accepted it of course! [Deputy Secretary General-Designate Amina J Mohammed] is an amazing person and [this job] has been the best thing of my life. I can see hands on the change I wanted to see happen. I’m the only young advisor—but it´s [youth] participation. We are moving from rhetoric to action. Young people have a lot of offer—they have experience, they have a vision, they are creative, and can do a lot!

Right now, I do a lot with technology which plays a big role in my work in terms of mobilizing young people—not only mobilizing them, but also empowering them, connecting them to resources, and giving them an opportunity to be informed on issues that affect them. In the next 40 years, they may have to lead.

I do all the creative stuff in the Ministry—communications, stake holders engagement, traveling around to all these Conferences to help to lobby because I understand the dynamics.

esther-kelechi-agbarakwe-radio-interviewIt gives me renewed hope that young people are now at the table, not just on the menu. The government recognizes their importance now. I remember when we used to scream and shout ¨I want to be involved! I want to be involved!¨ Now we are involved. That´s the biggest thing that´s happening for us.

I have my Earth Charter in Action book in my room. I don´t joke with it. I read it a lot. It reminds you where you´re going. It gives you that inspiration to keep going because it´s hard sometimes. It´s fun a lot of the time, but you always get to a crossroad at some point in your life. You have to look back and see that we´ve come a long way.

This interview of Esther Kelechi Agbarakwe was conducted in November 2016 by Earth Charter International Youth Projects Coordinator, Sarah Dobson, at COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco. The content has been edited for clarity and flow.

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UNESCO ESD Leadership Training, designed by Earth Charter International, is piloted around the world

During February of 2017, over one hundred young sustainability leaders gathered in Dublin, Beirut, Nairobi, and New Delhi to train in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Leadership using a UNESCO curriculum developed by Earth Charter International (ECI).



This series of ESD Leadership trainings in various regions around the world constitutes the pilot phase of the Flagship Project for Partner Network 4 of UNESCO´s Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development.  GAP is the follow up to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) which aims to generate and scale-up concrete actions in ESD. Within GAP, there are five Priority Action Areas identified. ECI holds a co-chair position in Partner Network 4, a network of organizations recognized for their work on mobilizing and engaging youth in ESD.

As the first phase of the Flagship Project for GAP Partner Network 4, UNESCO contracted ECI to develop the training script for a young leaders training on ¨ESD Leadership¨ in collaboration with the other key network partners. The second phase, carried out in February 2017, was the implementation of regional pilot workshops, where key partners experimented with the training script and trained the first round of ESD Leaders.


The Coordinator of Youth Projects at ECI, Sarah Dobson, joined by other GAP key partners from Partner Network 4, attended the pilot workshop in Dublin, Ireland hosted by key partner ECO UNESCO. Meanwhile, the ESD Leadership training was also conducted in Nairobi, New Delhi, and Beirut with young sustainability leaders from each region and joined by other GAP key partners. The trainings used interactive exercises and multimedia methods to engage participants on themes of ESD, systems thinking, leadership, visioning, and facilitation. Participants will use elements from this training to design and conduct ESD related workshops in their own communities by the end of March 2017.


For the next phase of the Flagship, ECI will collect feedback and evaluations from participants and facilitators of the pilot workshops to improve and finalize the training script. UNESCO will then translate and release a final version for public use after March 2017.

The ESD Leadership Training curriculum serves as a guide for organizations who work with or seek to work with young people to incorporate aspects of ESD Leadership into their present activities and trainings. It is meant to serve as a flexible resource which can be adapted to fit the local context and serve local needs.


Desired outcomes for the Flagship project include the empowerment of youth leaders to inspire and mobilize others to take action towards building more sustainable, just, and resilient communities and to build a youth-led ESD Leaders Network for exchange and collaboration.

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