The Economic Development Department (EDD) is pleased to announce that over 600 local middle and high-school students participated in its 5th Annual Digital Leadership Conference held earlier this month.
The two-day conference focused on sustainability and sustainable technology. Students learned about various related topics, including growing their own food and sustainable leadership. They even went on a virtual tour of the world-famous and much-celebrated Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Jason Hayward, Minister of Economy and Labour, explained, “The Annual Technology Leadership Conference has become an event that Bermuda's middle and high school students look forward to. Each year I am pleased that the speakers and content empower them with the information and skills to become the next generation of technology influencers, entrepreneurs and leaders. It offers them the opportunity to give back to Bermuda and push the Island forward in all areas of technology and business development.”
This year's conference took on a hybrid model with virtual interactive learning workshops in the morning. Then students participated in hands-on sustainability projects at their respective schools in the afternoons. The projects included planting a square foot garden, building compost bins and building a mini aquaponics unit.
The event also featured local and international speakers, including youth entrepreneur and Glass2Sand CEO, Udit Singhal. Glass2Sand is an environment-friendly zero-waste initiative and a "no glass to landfills" movement that addresses the growing menace of glass bottles being dumped into landfills by crushing them to valuable sand. A UN Young Leader for the SDGs, Udit is one of the 17 selected from around the world celebrated for his contributions to sustainable development. In his tenure, he is catalysing the youth to work towards the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Conference speakers included:
• Stuart Kreindler and Stratton Hatfield from Be Solar discussed the importance of creating a more sustainable Bermuda by harnessing solar power.
• Greg Wilson of Food Forest took the students on a virtual tour of his garden and talked about the importance of growing our own food the right way.
• Detective Inspector Kenten Trott from the Bermuda Police Service and his Department of Public Prosecutions team reminded the students of the importance of being good digital citizens.
• Udit Singhal, Glass2Sand India encouraged the youth to be the change they want to see in the world and reminded them that they are never too young to make a difference.
• Ilham Ali, an MIT Graduate Student and Research Assistant, took students into outer space and showed how satellites assist with sustainability and economic development around the world.
• A’ric Jackson – world-renowned Leadership Speaker, spoke about sustainable leadership and reminded students that they are natural leaders and that their legacy is something they leave behind every time they leave a room.
The 2022 conference was supported by various local businesses and volunteers who helped plan and moderate it. The EDD would like to extend special thanks to:
·Carpenter Roderick Simmons, who locally built the wooden sustainability projects,
·Stephany Outerbridge and Denae Burchall from the Coalition for the Protection of Children,
·Joseph Weeks, Technical Science Lecturer at Bermuda College, and
·Technology consultant Kevin DaCosta.
Each year the Digital Leadership Conference aims to empower Bermudian students with the knowledge and skills to advance in this ever-changing world by promoting emerging careers, facilitating the use and development of technology, and encouraging the safe use of technology through good digital citizenship. This year was no exception.
A’ric Jackson, an international speaker who has participated in the conference in previous years, stated, “Having travelled around the globe and working with many leadership conferences, I love the focus and dedication of the Cybertips team. Every year, the theme is timely and fitting to the needs of Bermuda’s young people and the world around them. What set this year’s conference apart was its focus on sustainability. Another job well done!”