Tsion Tesfaye ’16 has been selected to attend the 23 in Japan this summer. The HELIO Program is crafted to include top change agents from around the world, selected through the Ashoka University network. Hamilton College was recognized as an Ashoka Changemaker campus in 2014.
The 10-day program will include workshops, training and hands-on local community immersions with participants from the global Ashoka U network and delivered in partnership by Ashoka Japan, the town of Osakikamijima and Designing for Social Innovation and Leadership (DSIL).
In April Tesfaye presented her Commitment to Action project “Youth for Ethiopia” at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2014 she used a Levitt Social Innovation Fellowship to start an academic and leadership program called Youth for Ethiopia (YFE) for high school students in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Tesfaye is looking forward to the HELIO program, remarking, “From HELIO, I hope to learn more about and implement on Human Centered Design. It is also a great opportunity for me to analyze social innovation in a different culture.”
Participants will explore the Seto Inland Sea of Japan to focus on the dynamics and intersection of human ecology and Japanese higher education. They will co-design a new Japanese 'college.' The college will draw inspiration from the College of the Atlantic and Ashoka, both of which have been educating and supporting social innovators for decades.
Attendees also meet with local civil society members of the Hiroshima Prefecture and an Ashoka Fellow who are actively leading change on the ground. During the field experience they will work in cross cultural teams to co-design and develop ideas re-imagining the future of global and local education systems.
After the program ends, Tesfaye will go to Ethiopia to work on her Levitt Post Grad Fellowship project called CareCraft. She explained, “Currently in Ethiopia, epilepsy is viewed as the "devil's disease" and there is a huge stigma against people with epilepsy and their families. CareCraft will work with a non-profit to empower women with epilepsy and raise awareness about epilepsy in the society.”