About Us

The 50 Percent is a youth-led organisation which focuses on empowering youth to tell their stories on issues they are passionate about, whether that be by creating a space for them to be heard in our listening sessions, supporting them with the skills to address eco-anxiety and feel empowered to tell their stories through the Psychological Self-Mastery Programme or the Storytelling Fellowship, where youth will be supported in developing their communication skills to share their perspective on environmental and social issues. Our initiative is a part of the Global Youth Engagement Program and runs in partnership with the Club of Rome and the Pennsylvania State University Sustainability Institute.

We are a community of writers, journalists, and digital communication aficionados. We believe that storytelling has the power to connect, inspire, and catalyze change. We have a project vision to:

  • Cultivate a global platform for youth to share their stories in relation to sustainable development.

  • Amplify voices that are often overlooked by developing an inclusive and diverse community of storytellers. 

  • Establish a mentorship program with workshops that empower storytellers to identify and build upon their skills to confidently communicate about local and global issues

  • Catalyze critical thought, reflection, and action from audience members through the exposure of new perspectives and stories told by youth from all corners of the world.

Philosophy

As an organization, we are always exploring our values and acknowledging we will always have room to grow. At this moment, we have identified three key values that underpin our work:

  •  We are rooted in radical inclusivity, embracing an individual’s full range of experiences, identities, & backgrounds, and are committed to that full representation on our coordination team;

  • We are dedicated to confronting systems of social, economic, & environmental injustices; and

  • All people must have a chance at a right livelihood and the opportunity to do honest work that dignifies other people and our natural world.

Partners

The Club of Rome

The Club of Rome is a global think-tank made-up of 100 members consisting of former heads of state and government, UN administrators, high-level politicians and government officials, diplomats, scientists, economists, and business leaders. It aims to address the multiple social and environmental crises humanity and our planet are currently facing. Learn more about the Club of Rome here.

Penn State University Sustainability Institute

The Sustainability Institute at Pennsylvania State University is an integral part to the movement of making the University more sustainable. The framework of it’s work is integrated in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to advance issues that affect people, planet, shared prosperity, peace, and partnerships for current and future generations. You can read more about their work here.

Our Team

Kristen Miller

Kristen Miller

Editor-in-Chief | Executive Director

Kristen is a third-year student from Pennsylvania in the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University. She is studying Global & International Studies (B.A.), Latin American Studies (B.A.), Labor & Employment Relations (B.A.), and Spanish (B.A.), with a minor in Portuguese. Her interests include human rights, youth empowerment, foreign affairs, diplomacy, cultural competency, civic engagement, and social justice. Apart from coursework or extracurricular commitments, she spends her free time hiking and thrifting. She also enjoys bullet journals, the beach, bubble tea, photojournalism, documentaries, and card games.

Vanessa Terschluse

Vanessa Terschluse

Editor-in-Chief | Executive Director

Vanessa is a recent MEnv Sustainability and Environmental Management graduate from the University of Leeds, where she wrote her dissertation titled ‘A Political Ecology Approach to Community-Based-Conservation: Evaluating the role of NGOs as agents of development’. Growing up in Brazil and witnessing large-scale environmental destruction as well as staggering inequality, she has developed an interest for alternative societies in which humanity and the planet can thrive together.

Incredibly passionate about environmental justice and the power of communication, Vanessa is currently working with Greenhouse Communications in the advocacy team in preparation for COP26. In her free-time, she enjoys reading, drinking coffee with friends and being in nature.

Nolita Thina Mvunelo

Nolita Thina Mvunelo

Program Manager (ENCI/Youth)

Nolita is a chemical engineer by training. She is currently a program manager for the club of Rome and forms part of a feminine collective of social impact futurists focused on the regeneration of the global south. Having grown up in South Africa, and leading a social impact incubator, she is deeply committed to the development of creative solutions that will fascilitate the just transitions to better possible futures. She is an accomplished speaker, leader, and strategist in the design of social impact ventures.

Matias Lara

Matias Lara

Community Manager

Matias is an environmental activist from Argentina. Since being little, he has dreamed of the possibility of a different world. Matias lives in a small corner of the world where thriving is hard, but harder if you’re a young person with no privileges.

That’s why Matias decided to study international relationships and get involved in as many volunteer spaces as possible. His strongest belief is that change is only possible if we work together deeply from our hearts.

Matias is developing The 50 Percent’s community work, making sure community is central to everything we do. Matias believes that meeting, talking and sharing experiences, problems and ideas is probably the most important achievement we can ambition.

Judy Weis

Judy Weis

Psychologial Mastery Programme Lead

Judy is in her final year of training as a clinical psychologist. Prior to beginning her clinical training, she worked closely with a rape and trauma support clinic. Her experience here instilled a deep desire to contribute and work in the field of sexual violence, refugee/asylum support and in conflict zones.

Having witnessed trauma around identity and sexuality, she has an interest in creating sex positive and healing spaces, focussing on intimacy and connection within oneself and others. She has a big interest in mindfulness, meditation and breathwork practices, viewing the body as a powerful vessel for regulation and integration.

She has volunteered in the NGO sector for many years, often drawn to creative projects that prioritise individual and community empowerment. Her goal is to instil and nurture a deep curiosity of oneself within the individuals that she meets and engages with.

Teo Carnaghi

Teo Carnaghi

Community Manager

Teo Is a physics and natural sciences undergraduate at the university of Buenos Aires, were he is studying in the fields of biology, material science, oceanography and ecology. Growing up in rural Argentina he experienced first hand the impact of disregarding the natural cycles of the land have on an ecosystem, as well as witnessing inequality, corruption and the abuse of aboriginal communities. He has a drive to fight for a more just an equal play board where people start from similar conditions.

Teo is passionate about community driven discourse from a bottoms up perspective, he has experience in accord driven competitions and workshops with a focus on generating resolutions that can accommodate the voice of the most rather than the few. He is working with the social and community team supporting the members of the programme and helping them create healthy lasting connections with each other. In his free time he enjoys playing games, reuniting with old friends and making new ones.

ACTIVATING A GENERATION