by Justine Hudock
Student Community Engagement, Knovva Academy
“This feeling of connection is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” says Kokoro, whose personality (and evidence of humility, smarty-pants-ness, and eloquence) is as lovely as that kimono she’s wearing in her photo above.
Many of Kokoro’s responses in our conversation spotlighted the paramount importance she puts on maintaining her individuality… while not allowing her fidelity to individuality to infringe upon her ability to connect deeply with others.
Her favorite food is an omelette (pancake style? With cheese? Olive or canola oil? She played it close the chest, without any extra descriptive nouns), and she loves Harper Lee’s classic To Kill A Mockingbird (I just realized that I could have hit her with a great pun: Gregory Peck played Atticus Finch in the film adaptation. Peck, Finch… both are bird words).
Give Kokoro a round of applause for her commendation as an Exceptional Delegate, and lend your eyes to her post-lauding interview!
JH: Tell the people: What’s your name, where are you from, what year are you in school… and what’s a silly, fun fact about you?
Kokoro F.: My name is Kokoro! I am in my second year of high school. I enjoy listening to K-pop!
JH: How did you become interested in climate change and sustainability?
KF: My school hosts the Model G7 Summit every year sponsored by the High School Parliamentary Debate Union of Japan and the topic for the summit in 2019 was plastic waste. Taking part in that summit made me aware of the impacts our actions had on the environment and showed me the importance of realizing a sustainable society from the perspective of a high school student.
JH: How does sustainability influence your decisions? To what extent does your interest in climate change inform your goals or who you are as a person?
KF: It would be nice if I could help in creating a sustainable society in the future.
JH: What advice do you have for other students who may be interested in following a similar path toward environmental friendliness and mindfulness?
KF: Understanding the tangible effects of climate change and environmental issues can deepen our understanding of the world, because the environment is often intertwined with different aspects of our world. This makes sure that following a path towards environmental friendliness and mindfulness can be useful, even if you already have an interest in other fields!
JH: What were some key takeaways from your experience at the Climate Change Summit?
KF: Planetary health was a concept that was quite new to me, and learning about it was the key takeaway from this Summit. Since I am interested in healthcare systems and medical administration, learning about how climate change has a pressing impact on people’s both mental and physical health, as Professor Samuel Myers mentioned in the keynote speech, has made me more alarmed of the changes occurring in the environment.
JH: What was your favorite part about the Summit?
KF: Definitely getting to know motivated peers from all around the world! Although we are thousands of miles away from each other in reality, this event has made me feel closer than ever to people from different countries and regions. This feeling of connection is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
JH: What do you do for other extracurriculars?
KF: I do debate! I am also entering a global business contest! I also ran some debate tournaments in Japan.
JH: Looking ahead, how do you hope to use the skills and experiences you’ve gained at the Model G20 Summit in your career or future schooling?
KF: I hope I can meet the people I encountered in this Summit in the near future by hosting an international event in university myself!
JH: If you could invent something that would make life easier for people (perhaps climate change-related), what would you invent?
KF: Maybe a global information portal…?
JH: Fill in the blanks. The wisest thing anyone ever told me was _____ and it helped me to _____.
KF: That you should be the one to define yourself, not others. It helped me realize that I was the one putting limits on myself.
JH: What is one goal you would like to achieve in the next five years (personal or professional)?
KF: By the next five years I want to be able to think that I have contributed to society in some form and given back the benefits that I have received.
JH: Do you have any other opportunities for leadership in your life? If so, what is your perspective on good leadership? What does it mean to evolve as a leader?
KF: I am the head of the debate club in my school. I did do my best and I want to think that I have been a good leader to the members in my debate club, but I believe a good leader is one that can pull out the best qualities of each person even if it means sacrificing yourself to a certain extent. To evolve as a leader is to become an admirable figure for the people around you. In order to do so you should not be afraid of taking people’s advice or admitting that you were wrong. By doing so you can prevent yourself from making the same mistakes.
JH: Any college plans laid down yet? Intended major or minor? Dream school?
KF: I am interested in studying law and politics in university! No dream school!
JH: What might people be surprised to learn about you?
KF: I used to practice Taekwondo when I lived abroad!
Class at school?
Language Arts! I enjoyed an assignment where I performed an interview with someone from abroad.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
“Don’t let others define who you are. You define yourself.”