FutureFellows 2021

Meet the FutureFellows!

FutureFellows is an innovative professional development program for emerging leaders of the Red Cross Red Crescent network, led by IFRC Solferino Academy. The fellowship aims to equip the participants with skills and resources to drive change and innovation in their National Societies, while also supporting the RCRC network as a whole to evolve as is envisioned in Strategy 2030.

These rising stars applied and were selected from different National Societies across our global network to join the pilot in 2021. 

Gabriela Poller-Hartig

Austrian Red Cross

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

To undertake an exciting journey to the shores of humanitarian innovation together with colleagues from all over the world. As a souvenir I hope to bring back home ideas and tools on how to implement change.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

My writing and communication skills make me a good processor/translator of information. My inclusive attitude helps to create an atmosphere in which people feel confident and free to express themselves.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I would love to visit my great-grandfather in his lab where he experimented with the production of artificial gem stones back in the early 20th century and learn from his inventor-spirit.

MD Elahi Rawshan

Bangladesh Red Crescent Society

Pronouns: He/Him

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

Learning more about diversity and inclusion and at the same time meeting new people from around the world.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

An inclusive lens to looking at things and aspects.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I’d go to the past so that I could let my predecessors know about their actions’ impact to the climate. I’d try to make them aware and change their behaviour towards climate and environment.

Mihail Ivanov

Bulgarian Red Cross

Pronouns: He/him

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

I am truly looking forward to meeting inspirational people and exchanging good practices, experiences and ideas. Of course, I am also looking forward to working on real problems and helping our National Societies to develop.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

I consider myself a highly optimistic person, and believe I can spread this during our common work. Of course I am also always open to share my knowledge or expertise regarding any matter that it can be useful for.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

The future is yet to be shaped, so I’d rather remain in the present so that I can work in this direction. An event from the recent past that moved me enormously was the Beirut explosion in Lebanon in 2020. I imagine that with the knowledge we have now, we could have prevented this disastrous event. From a personal point of view, I would love to go to the 60’s so that I could listen to The Beatles live.

Marlène Iradukunda

Burundi Red Cross

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

I am looking for building and strengthening my capacity and competences, and also working together with many people from around the world with the same aim: responding to human suffering. I also really wish that after attending this fellowship and due to all I will learn from it, I will be even more useful than before in my community. 

What do you think other people can learn from you?

How to tackle upcoming challenges in a pragmatic and hands-on way.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I started to learn about humanity’s history already at school, and I grew up thinking that “doing even small things in harmony with other people may be more useful and helpful for my community”. This was the motivation guiding me to join the Red Cross in Burundi. I’d like to see a future where I can contribute effectively to the humanitarian work, doing my best to help to alleviate human vulnerabilities.

Andrew Barranger

The Canadian Red Cross Society

Pronouns: He/him

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

The chance to gain new perspectives and ideas, while learning and sharing with colleagues from across the world.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

That you should always be learning and growing as an individual. There will be times where you succeed and times when you fail and that is okay. It’s what we learn and how we grow as a result of these experiences that shapes us. Always have an open mind and be willing to try something new.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I would travel a thousand years into the the future to see how humanity has evolved and changed in a millennium. What an opportunity to see and witness what none of us normally would live to see in our lifetime! The unknown and its adventures.

Wanting Yang

Red Cross Society of China

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

Experiences of active national Red Cross Youth networks, and examples for a business school student to develop a career in the RCRC network.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

Some experience of organizing RCY activities and activating RCY organizations in universities, international communication between RCYs, and considering the possibility of combining RCRC experience and university major.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

Go to the future to see how can we develop and activate RCY network successfully; and how can business students or people working in the private sector better support the RCRC movement and its development.

Valeria Marin Montealegre

Colombian Red Cross Society

Pronouns: She/her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

Through this opportunity for global cooperation, I look forward to learning about the IFRC and Solferino Academy approaches to developing strategies and using new emerging technologies. I am very excited to interact with people from different national societies and to understand their different contexts. I’m looking forward to generating synergies and to develop joint projects.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

I think one of my best qualities is my willingness to learn and to connect different points of view and ideas. I will also be able to contribute through experience in creating prototypes, designing, and testing products and services as well as through using technologies such as 3D printing, 3D modeling, 3D scanning and laser cutting, among others.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I would travel to the time before the colonization of the Americas. It would be very interesting to see the technological development, physical structures of buildings and communication methods of the indigenous people of those times, especially since many artifacts that have been found not only looked good but were in harmony with nature. 

Henry Cáceres

Ecuadorian Red Cross

Pronouns: He/Him

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

I’m expecting to learn a lot, to get to know more people from around the world and to build a network of dreamers with them – but most of all to get inspiration and motivation to keep creating and making people’s crazy ideas come true for a better world.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

The courage to make things happen, even when it seems impossible, and the ability to inspire others to do it, side by side with you. Of course, I will also share the knowledge I have.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I would like to travel to both of them. The past, because it would be amazing to see how those who made the greatest discoveries had to fight not only against their own fears but also against the mindset of othersfrom that era – and how in spite of it all they made it. Also the future, because we are living in a time when a lot changes and discoveries are happening very fast. I would like to see how we did, what kind of things we created or discovered, to know if we reached the stars – and most importantly to see if finally we will live in a fair equitable planet for everyone.

Salma Sallout

Egyptian Red Crescent Society

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

Innovations and exchange of experiences

What do you think other people can learn from you?

Community engagement and critical thinking and research methodologies

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

Future. When SDGs have been reached and seeing our efforts paying off with a better situation in the world for everyone.

Natalie Scarlett

British Red Cross

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

Networking, learning good practices from other national societies, gaining knowledge from our mentors. I enter all situations knowing that there is always something I can learn.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

I’m very determined and have a strong work ethic. I never give up because I am motivated by the thought of making/influencing a positive change in peoples lives. It’s not always about being the smartest, most popular or most senior person, anyone can make a difference if they believe in what they are doing. My ability to bounce back from difficulties and falls is something that I am proud of and I believe being able to do that is integral to making a difference in the long run, for more than in my immediate circle. Pushing for the greater good is always at the forefront.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

Going to the future would mean living a life of anxiety, trying to change what is inevitable. I would go to the past so that I could gain strength from people who had to fight incredibly hard for freedom – a lot harder than we have. I would want their advice on how to get the most from life, how to make a difference and how to stay focused on what really matters.

Irita Raismaa

Estonia Red Cross

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

New layers of wisdom, experience, awareness, connection and humour.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

Estonian grammar & world map, caring for nature & dancing kizomba, being calm & listening.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I would go back to a crossroads moment in my life and choose another path to see where it takes me – or if it brings me to the same place I am today.

Luise Springer

German Red Cross

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

To work with an international group of fellows from other national societies and to learn from their different backgrounds and experiences.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

How to tackle upcoming challenges in a pragmatic and hands-on way.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I would travel 100 years into the future to see how global challenges such as the climate crisis, but also the current pandemic, will affect our lives in the long term, in order to learn from them and derive actions for the present.

Balázs Beda

Hungarian Red Cross

Pronouns: He/Him

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

I am looking forward to gaining practical experiences regarding innovation through real and effective teamwork.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

As a clinical and health psychology student, my main tool of work is empathy. I hope I can share this core skill with others, to genuinely understand existing issues and to be able to react on them together.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I would definitely peek into the future, where inclusive values are not a topic of discussion anymore, but rather core principles in all societies. Indeed, checking the future of my favorite sci-fi universes would be exciting, too.

Lorna Costelloe

Irish Red Cross Society

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

I’m most looking forward to talking to others from different National Societies and seeing what’s shared between our societies and what’s different… also, what needs to change!

What do you think other people can learn from you?

How to talk faster than the speed of light, the power of believing someone can transform themselves and the strength of compassion towards those who have done wrong.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I’d go to the past – there are some people I’d like to have chats with. Some to congratulate on their fantastic decisions and some to ask to change their not so fantastic decisions.

Sara Tufo

Italian Red Cross

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

To find new ways to walk with other people in the same direction.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

To not be afraid of being confused or imperfect, to ask for help and tell the truth.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I would like to go back to when I was maybe 5 years old, to the moment when my cousin threw a red billiard ball out of the window. My grandpa had brought that ball with him after being freed from the concentration camp. Grandpa never found the ball again. I would like to give that ball back to him and tell him that even after almost 35 years, I did not forget.

Priyanka Patel

Kenya Red Cross Society

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

Connecting with and learning from other National Societies, to understand what and how we can change our ways of operation when implementing projects in Kenya.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

Field experience: understanding community needs and challenges, past and present implementation strategies, how youth and community members think and create solutions at the local level out of necessity.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I would travel to the past and try to stop the production of single-use plastic, as it is damaging our world, for the present and future generations.

Karen Gemayel

Lebanese Red Cross

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

Learning from the different experiences of other national societies.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

Some science behind WASH, and very good math jokes.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

Why choose? Fast forward to the future: to see if we managed to build back better after the COVID pandemic. And back to the past to watch my favorite artists in action: Van Gogh painting ‘Starry Night’, Freddie Mercury performing at Live Aid, and Gaudi planning the Sagrada Familia.

Saikshya Nepal

Nepal Red Cross Society

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

I believe this fellowship provides me with exciting opportunities for learning, all the while teaching me to improve my craft, and helping me build new relationships. I am also excited to meet my fellow colleagues, learn about their educational journey and how they plan to go about to achieve their goal, and seek inspiration at every turn.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

This fellowship will provide me with various opportunities to take on leadership roles, and will help foster my discipline and skills to develop me as a leader in our field, capable of advocating and getting my voice heard across the table. As my confidence grows, I hope people choose to step outside their comfort zones and come to me with their suggestions, plans, or any problems that they might have. I hope I can provide them with the tools to accomplish their goals, help them get better support and grow strong together without any bias, but with a deeper understanding of what they want and how they can go about.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I believe 10 years into the future would be a good benchmark, because then I would be able to see what has happened to my life. If I went forward on great path, achieved all that I wanted, and was doing great in life, I would be content in knowing that all my dreams became a reality. And if by any chance I went down in some bad path, then I would know that I had to better and correct my ways, so that I could be proud of who I have become. I could work on that when I returned from the travel and make good use of either situation, as it would not change who I am currently but would change who I would become.

Annette Fischer

Norwegian Red Cross

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

Definitively to collaborate with the other participants, to learn from their perspectives and experiences. I hope to be inspired and even more hopeful for the future of the RCRC network.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

Having worked both at a local and national level and focused on digitalization and support for volunteers for the past years, I hope I can bring some interesting perspectives on adaptation of technology. To try to find solutions that work with and not against the users needs.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

A time with no COVID-19 sounds appealing right now. So perhaps I would like to travel to the future to see if we as a society manage to learn from the pandemic. I hope that it thought us how we are all connected and that humanitarian issues are global issues. And the value of a handshake and a hug!

Rasha Bakeer

The Palestine Red Crescent Society

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

I am eager to engage and interact with the participants and team and explore the employment of innovation in forming solutions for current issues and plans for future excellence; to serve our humanitarian mandate.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

I hope I can share with the colleagues my perspective regarding the impact of prolonged chronic crisis on the humanitarian space, needs and services; as well as my remarks and views based on my humble experience working on strengthening positioning of my NS, especially with non-movement partners.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

Future, because it demonstrates the opportunity for change. It gives the chance every day to try new solutions, and even it doesn’t work we still have a new chance again! We should learn from the past, but what truly matters is the future.

Rolf Verwey

Suriname Red Cross

Pronouns: He/Him

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

Collaboration and knowledge sharing with other participants on the RCRC philosophy.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

Practical advise on organizational development and team building.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I would not travel to the past nor the future as this might influence the way I see the world and the choices I make. I am content with the choices I have made, which have formed my character, the outlook I have on life in general and the way I approach the whole-person paradigm. As I believe in the good of humanity, I’m constantly striving to positively influence the community and the environments I’m active in, and will continue on this same path.

Broula Barnohro Oussi

Swedish Red Cross

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

I’m looking forward to learn from the experiences, perspectives and knowledge of colleagues from all over the world, to challenge and be challenged in world views and preconceptions, and last but not least, to participate in a hopefully lifelong learning process.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

I hope that my combined experiences of different cultural spheres, languages, social contexts and discourses – with all the different possibilities and limitations that they carry within – can contribute to both a nuanced and challenging perspective.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

If I could travel in time, I would like to see the world a 100 of years from now. Even though climate change and other social and economic challenges probably have deteriorated the life conditions for most of the planet (humans, animals and plants), my hope is that humanity also has come together with a holistic and positive perspective of change for the sake of survival, where every living creature and being plays an equally important role and is valued as such. It would mean a lot to know that the planet our generation leaves behind can be such a place for our children and children’s children.

Marianne Berger

Swiss Red Cross

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

To collaborating with my RCRC peers from all over the world and contribute to the development of concrete solutions.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

I’m very empathic and a natural team player. I try to help everyone find their place in a group. I am usually the critical mind on the team, trying to rethink the problem and look at a question from different angles.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

To South America/Australia at the time they first got populated by human beings. There were oversize animals that soon got extinct because they had never learned to fear human beings. Also, because of their size and long lifespan, their reproduction rate was really low (just like the Galápagos tortoises’ today) so their species did not stand a chance against the hominid intruders.

Tarika Wongsinsirikul

The Thai Red Cross Society

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

How to drive innovations with creative ways of working as a good leader.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

How to build up motivation and mental stimulation.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

Travel to the future of Thailand to see how the country has evolved and to learn from the future mistakes, so that I could come back to the present and prevent or fix those mistakes before they happen in the future.

Tuba Balçıklı

Turkish Red Crescent Society

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

Getting to know people from different cultures and understanding how the world looks from their perspectives.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

I come from a culture that easily adapts to change due to our history. This can be observed in everyday life, in work life, in people’s relationships. I believe my experiences of the institutional and cultural adaptation to transformation at Turkish Red Crescent and my personal perspective with a European/Middle Eastern background may be interesting to others.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

Although I am curious to know how the future, say 100 years from now will look like, I would travel to the past as I already have the opportunity to see the future (at least the near future) for myself as I live. Also I want the future to come as a surprise so I wouldn’t want a spoiler. But there are certain periods of time in history that I would be happy to travel to, especially to see people’s way of living and to meet important historical figures (just like Gil in Midnight in Paris).

Brian Bilal Mwebaze Kanaahe

The Uganda Red Cross Society

Pronouns: He/Him

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

I’m looking forward to meeting and working with a network of humanitarians with a desire to innovatively find practical solutions towards sustainable institutional capacity strengthening.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

Taking responsibility and asking that from my teams.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I’d prefer the past, just after the first humans. I’d be interested in changing the course of human history regarding social stratification. Everyone would be a leader of themselves and impartial to titles as corridors of power.

Priscilla Fuentes

American Red Cross

Pronouns: She/Her

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

Networking with other fellows to learn news ways of looking at problems or challenges, and coaching from other leaders in the network.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

I have been successful at building environments where collaboration amongst/across teams to maximize individual strengths and characteristics can lead to high functioning and effective teams.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I would travel to the future, to find out how the United States solves the humanitarian crisis that is homelessness – so we could begin the process now.

Terrence R Musekiwa

Zimbabwe Red Cross Society

Pronouns: He/Him

What are you most looking forward to in this fellowship?

Firstly, networking with other people who are involved in innovation, getting to hear there experience and how they have overcame certain huddles they faced. I also believe that during the fellowship, I get to learn about developing ideas into sound, acceptable by the community (community ownership) and sustainable projects that help us address the vulnerabilities we face today and in the future. I dont believe in just great ideas, but ideas that results in practical solutions to the the problems we have.

What do you think other people can learn from you?

I hope others can learn from my experiences. One thing that I have seen myself is that innovation is a lifestyle, a way of life, as we navigate questions and problems bombarding our daily lives. Ultimately it’s not about launching a ‘big’ innovation or to wait for the perfect problem, but rather to keep asking questions and keep questioning the answers as a continuous practice.

If you could travel to the past or the future, where would you go and why?

I would travel to the past because I belive we should not be facing such a huge burden of vulnerabilities that we are facing today. I would go back in the late 19th century and early 20th century to speed up social justice and stop discrimination which would later consume the world, disrupting progress and equality. Back in that time, I would love to see innovations that would couple with our civilizations but also have a way of telling us that we have to be conscious of mother nature/climate (like green energy, protection of forests), because we will face many challenges linked to climate change. 

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