International learning Selina Neirok Leem 21 comes from the Marshall Islands whose existence is being threatened by climate change In 2016 she completed her International Baccalaureate at the UWC Robert Bosch College in Freiburg a boarding school for 200 students from over 70 countries of which 140 receive a full scholarship and 50 a partial scholarship The school celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2019 There are 18 United World Colleges worldwide Their goal is to unite people nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future Powerfully eloquent The main tool I am using as a Climate Warrior is storytelling I speak at conferences write poems and perform them It is healing for me But my speech at the 2015 United Nations Climate Conference in Paris was unplanned My role was to shadow the then Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands the late Tony deBrum I was to leave that day to go back to my school the UWC Robert Bosch College in Freiburg to attend the winter ball However I was asked to share the final statement with Minister deBrum I had about four hours to write the speech Already as a child I had many dreams Such as becoming the first Marshallese scientist and going to Ivy League schools I wanted to be a role model to young Marshallese as we don t usually have that much support to leave our little bubble So at the UN Conference when I got the micro phone I introduced myself as a small island girl with big dreams As a teenager Selina Neirok Leem just wanted to get away from the Marshall Islands now she s fighting to save them Then I talked about what my grand father said to me when I was eight or ten He really was the reason all of this started He told me that if I did not behave the North Pole and South Pole would melt the waters would rise and our islands would submerge I had nightmares To him it was probably to get me to behave so that God would protect me But it sparked off more My friends and I would go to the ocean side collect corals put them in a line across the reef Everyday we would check them praying they would grow to be giant corals to protect our home from the incoming water Seeing the effects of the king tide season on the land made me fearful of the water When I heard about United World Colleges UWC I was only 14 so I had to wait two more years to apply But I was struggling a lot with my family with myself with my society I wanted to get away At UWC Robert Bosch College in Freiburg I was given the platform and tools to reach out to a much wider audience It sort of gave me the equipment to be what I am today As of now I am based in New York working as an intern at the Permanent Mission of the Marshall Islands to the UN helping with the preparations for the UNSG Climate Summit 2019 I m very blessed that I ve been able to have all these opportunities and meet many change makers of so many backgrounds I never thought I would become so involved as a Climate Warrior I was suddenly labeled as such and now I see myself as one I am doing it for my people and for the world Foundation laid42 Robert Bosch Stiftung Te xt M ar tin P et er se n P ho to p ri va te

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