Wednesday 15 November 2017
11:30 to 13:30

Join British Council CEO Sir Ciarán Devane and six Future Leaders Connect delegates from the US and Mexico for a Google Hangout migration discussion on Wednesday, November 15 from 11:30am-1:00pm at George Washington University. If you live in Washington, DC and would like to join us in-person, please click here to RSVP

Participate in a discussion with eight young leaders as they share insight from their social action work in the US and Mexico, as well as their recent travels to the UK to meet with world leaders. These individuals will work together to a policy dialogue and launch a social action project to address migration issues and challenges in the Americas.

Meet the Future Leaders Connect delegates

  • Imani Jacqueline Brown (USA) - Inequality and Climate Change
  • Juliana Ospina Cano (USA) - Quality education for immigrants
  • Sonia Guiñansaca (USA) - Migration
  • Tada Vargas (USA) - Food security
  • Karina Izquierdo (Mexico) - Sustainable urban development
  • Miguel Mendivil Roiz (Mexico) - Migration


Imani Jacqueline Brown is a New Orleans native, artist, activist, and researcher. Imani believes art can drive policy. She is Director of Programs at Antenna, Co-Founder of Blights Out, and a core member of Occupy Museums. Through three years of experiential research into the system of housing development, Blights Out has discovered the legal lynchpin of gentrification in New Orleans and is calling for policy change to redress the city’s housing crisis. In 2017, Occupy Museums’ project, “Debtfair” was featured in the Whitney Biennial. Imani is Artistic Director of Fossil Free Festival, which will take place in New Orleans, April 7-8, 2018. In 2014, her paper, Performing Bare Life, was named best in her substream at LAEMOS in Havana, Cuba. Her writing has been published in Pelican Bomb, Krytyka Polityczna, and Shelterforce Magazine. Imani received her BA in Visual Arts and Anthropology from Columbia University in 2010. She will pursue her Masters at the Center for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London in Fall 2018.

Sonia Guiñansaca is a migrant poet, cultural organizer, and activist from Harlem, NY by way of Ecuador. Guiñansaca, a VONA/Voices alumni has performed at El Museo Del Barrio, the NY Poetry Festival, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and featured on NBC, PBS, Latina Magazine, Pen American, and the Poetry Foundation to name a few. She has presented keynotes, workshops, and panels at universities throughout the country on issues of immigration, LGBTQ, and the power of arts/culture. She’s been named one of 10 Up and Coming Latinx Poets You Need to Know by Remezcla, one of 13 Coolest Queers on the Internet by Teen Vogue, and the 2017's Artist in Residence at NYU's Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. She has emerged as a national leader in migrant artistic and political communities. She co-founded and helped to build some of the largest undocumented organizations in the country. She also founded some of the first creative artistic projects by and for undocumented writers/artists.  Recently named as the Managing Director of CultureStrike, her global vision for change is to shift culture and narratives about migration, so that we can truly address the political, systemic, and social needs of migrants and refugees.

Juliana Ospina Cano operates at the intersection of education and social justice. She is a visionary with an unwavering commitment to positively influencing the academic and socio-emotional success of immigrant students. For over ten years, Juliana has worked tirelessly to transform the lives of first-generation American students. Based in Washington, DC, she spearheads UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza) shaping, accelerating and broadening access to STEM education for underserved students across the United States. To date, her bold approach to education programs has touched over 2,000 children and youth. Before UnidosUS, Juliana held leadership positions in public schools in Tennessee and Georgia which served to foster and solidify her global commitment and vision towards the development of intentional and inclusive environments that promote high quality and equitable educational opportunities for students and families from all backgrounds. At STEM Preparatory Academy, Nashville’s first STEM-focused public charter school, she developed systemic and sustainable practices which served to create a welcoming environment for all families and advanced student achievement. Juliana holds a BA from Kennesaw State University, and a MS in Education from Johns Hopkins University, where she is also pursuing a Doctoral degree in Education. Juliana’s research focuses on the cognitive development of immigrant adolescent youth.

Tada Vargas is an enrolled member of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. She is currently pursuing Bachelor Degrees in Chemistry and Conservation Biology at Oglala Lakota College, a Tribal College composed of eleven centers across the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  She also has three Associate Degrees in Tribal Law, Life Sciences, Science, Engineering, and Math. Tada has been a leadership voice for her college for three consecutive years. She promoted events that tackled issues like obesity, suicide, and global warming.  Her most successful events incorporated traditional values, such as the “Canteyuke” (Generosity) Drive.  In addition to extracurricular activities, she is focused on her multi-year study “Historical Trauma to Cultural Preservation: Genetic Health of Bison on the Pine Ridge Reservation”.  This project evaluates the presence of cattle introgression in the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s bison herds. At a recent conference Tada was struck by the fact that on average a US household wastes up to forty percent of groceries each year.  Coming from, and actively involved in, a community which experiences some of the highest poverty rates in the country, Tada will focus on policies addressing food sovereignty and obtaining food security in communities like hers.


Karina Izquierdo is an Architect with a strong interest on public policies for sustainable development. She followed her academic studies in Canada, France and Mexico. She has specialized in advanced metropolitan solutions for sustainable urban development, the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. She previously worked in Argentina as part of the International Experience Buenos Aires program within the Ministry of Urban Development planning for a low carbon emission city and social housing policies. In China, she worked as project Architect for urban renewal and environmental regeneration interventions. She currently works as an Architect and Planning consultant in Mexico City. She is part of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network-Youth as a Local Pathways Fellow; developing a project under the theme “reducing inequalities and building resilient livelihoods from a climate change perspective”. Her recent participation as a committee member of the National Urban Forum Colombia, on the challenge “how to promote rural-urban integration, territorial associativity and connectivity for the cities’ system in the post-conflict framework” shows her commitment with building non-violent and prosperous territories. Karina strongly believes solutions towards sustainable development lie in the way we conceive and live our cities. Her vision of global change is set in fighting inequalities and building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable environments.

Miguel Mendivil Roiz lives in New York City, where he works as an advisor for disarmament and international security at the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations. He studied International Relations at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and in 2016, as an exchange student, he took courses at SciencesPo, Paris. During 2014 and 2015, he worked as Research Assistant on Middle Eastern studies and North American integration at El Colegio de Mexico. He was awarded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, as one of the four Mexican Youth Delegates to the United Nations General Assembly. During the same year, he also participated at the Young Diplomats Forum 2014, held in Querétaro, Mexico. Since he was a child, Miguel has been involved in projects aiming to improve the conditions surrounding his community, from volunteering activities in the Mexican Red Cross to founding a non-governmental organization dedicated to building a bridge between the government and the civil society for the implementation of the Agenda 2030 in his state, Sinaloa. For Miguel, many local solutions come from global decisions, but all global change comes from local awareness, engagement, and empowerment.