UWI student Shauntel Walters takes J'can culture to Russia
Twenty-year-old UWI student Shauntel Walters and her fellow youth leader, Krystal Ball, recently returned home from Russia.
From March 11 to 21, they were among 34 youth delegates chosen to represent the Caribbean region at the First Post Festival in Moscow, Russia. While sharing ideas about correlatives between poverty and access to education, Walters also presented to the global gathering the importance of maintaining a distinct cultural identity.
Last October, Walters and Ball attended the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi, Russia. There, the Jamaican pair were among 30,000 students from 180 countries, and were selected to become members of the Future Team; a group of youth leaders from across the globe who work together to combat social ills, through common solutions.
Walters told The Gleaner that she landed in Russia after successfully searching the Internet for international opportunities. Through youthopportunities.com, Walters submitted an application in September 2017 - then later received an invitation.
"I got an invitation saying I was accepted among thousands. I was assigned to present on culture and globalisation, mainly focusing on Jamaica's culture and its importance to our identity," she said.
340 team members
Thus, at the First Post Festival, a smaller gathering of the World Festival of Youth and Students, Walters and Ball stood among 340 Future Team members originating from 11 countries.
Walters presented her position on whether there should be a globalised culture, or do unique cultures remain important.
"Unique cultures are important because a world without unique cultures is a rainbow without colours. Our culture is what gives the world a view to our identity. Our reggae music - Bob Marley - a lot of them knew him. Our Jamaican Patois - every one wants to learn about it," the youth leader reported.
She also presented on the relationship between poverty and access to education, to demonstrate the need for strengthened global partner-ships.
"In addition to this, the height of this trip is being an observer in the upcoming Russian elections. This is the first time Caribbean nationals will be considered to participate as observers in the Russian election. It is good that Jamaica will be represented on this platform," Walters told The Gleaner.
The young student also visited the city of Dzerzhinsk, where the team visited an orphanage.
"We got to see first-hand the facilities and the programmes instituted for the children. We also had an opportunity to interact with them," she said.
Walters is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in social anthropology, with a minor in social policy and development. She is also president of the Junior Achievement Jamaica Alumni Association and director of communications of Called to Lead Jamaica.