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Welcoming YPARD Mentoring Coordinator - Michelle Kovacevic

Michelle Kovacevic, new YPARD Mentoring CoordinatorWe are delighted to welcome Michelle Kovacevic as YPARD Mentoring Coordinator. 

Michelle is an experienced project manager and facilitator with a passion for improving youth engagement in national and global fora.

She has coordinated and delivered comprehensive training workshops (both webinars and face to face) in social media, science communication, public speaking skills, facilitation and moderation skills for scientists, students, policymakers and journalists.

As a consultant for the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Michelle pioneered innovative methods to effectively engage early career scientists, young professionals and students in global science policy fora, leading the youth session and youth masterclasses at the 2013 and 2014 Global Landscapes Forums in Peru and Poland. She also ran a fellowship for early career journalists from across the ASEAN region to improve reporting on forestry issues.

Formally trained in neuroscience and pharmacology, Michelle firmly believes in an evidence-based approach to program design, implementation and evaluation.

She has authored hundreds of popular articles, scientific reports and reviews, such as “Integrate the youth voice in science policy conferences as well as articles dissecting the issues of crop diversity, food security, rural employment in agriculture, and large-scale industrial expansion of agriculture (see examples here and here).

When asked about why mentoring is important for young people in agriculture, Michelle has a very clear idea of the reasons behind.

“Youth unemployment is a real and serious issue across many sectors and one of the reasons is the growing mismatch between the skills young people have and the vacancies employers want to fill.

Many young people miss out on training and experience accumulation either because they are not in the labor force, because their employers are not set up to provide training opportunities or because they work alone - particularly in the case of budding entrepreneurs.

When it comes to young agriculturalists, these challenges and more (include the negative perception of a career in agriculture) are keenly felt. But these are challenges that, with the right mentoring, would not seem as insurmountable.

With the right mentoring, we can equip young people with the skills, confidence and networks to lead discussions and decisions being made in agriculture and rural development.”

Michelle is bringing to the team new assets and great perspectives to foster YPARD new mentoring program.

“YPARD has been a really important partner on the Global Landscapes Forum youth work I have coordinated and I’m excited about the opportunity to join the organization more formally and get to know YPARD members better!

I am a fastidious project manager and one of my main aims with the mentoring program is to set up a clear implementation plan that is replicable and can be scaled up.

In essence, I hope I can facilitate a mentoring program that helps YPARD members to be brave, be bold and be open.”

We can’t wait to hear more from the new Mentorship Program and we trust that Michelle will be successful in mobilizing the youth to take part in it through her energy and leadership.

Welcome on Board, Michelle!