Welcome to Global Power Shift!
It’s here! Over the past 24 hours, nearly 500 young people from 130 countries around the world have descended on Istanbul for Global Power Shift, a week long conference to help build a global climate movement. This evening, a few of the global facilitators who will be leading sessions here at Global Power Shift welcomed participants to the summit during a raucous evening plenary. The welcomes were an introduction to Global Power Shift, but also a way of setting the tone and nature of the summit. Navina Khanna, an Indian-American organizer and activist who is helping facilitate at Global Power Shift told a story about her split national identity and welcomed, “Everyone who has a strong cultural identity and everyone who doesn’t.” Sotheary Sao, a Global Power Shift trainer from Cambodia, got big, knowing applause from the crowd when she said, “I would like to welcome everyone who had quite big problems with visas to get here.” Many Global Power Shift had to wait for weeks to get visas to come to Turkey, often traveling many hours back and forth to a capitol city to process their paperwork. “What’s most important is that we all get to inspire each other based on our stories, and each of us has an authentic story to tell,” said Nanjira Sambuli, a facilitator from Kenya who will be leading workshops throughout the summit. Storytelling and communication are a big focus of Global Power Shift, from how to give a public speech to writing a compelling email. Joao Scarpelini, one of the lead coordinators of Global Power Shift from Brazil, said to big cheers, “I want to welcome everyone that believes in the power of young people.” Participants at Global Power Shift range from teenagers to people in their forties, but all share the energy, ambition, and daring of youth. The Turkish hosts of Global Power Shift also welcomed participants to the summit. “We are here to stand against more than 50 coal fired power plants,” said Mahir Ilgiz, the lead Turkish organizer for Global Power Shift. “Let’s start shifting power here in Turkey.” Tomorrow morning, participants will hear from some of the lead organizers behind the Gezi Park and Taksim Square demonstrations that have rocked Turkey for the last few weeks. On Friday, participants will take part in a march to protest new coal plants in Turkey, part of a global day of events led by Greenpeace International.