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Inspiring Changemaking: Interview with Mentor Didem Saygan

By Raquel Armendariz Sucunza, Global Schools Project Lead (Communications)

Through mentorship, Global Schools Program (GSP) Advocates are provided with the guidance of previous members to implement their mandate and promote the mission of achieving Education for Sustainable Development.

Mentors are also recognized and given the spotlight for their lasting contributions. Didem Saygan is one of the mentors we want to recognize, as she’s been supporting her allocated Advocates in implementing SDGs by holding regular meetings on how to design curricular and extra-curricular activities to raise awareness.

Interview with Didem Saygan

Didem Saygan is a passionate Global Schools Advocate and Mentor, IB DP Theory of Knowledge Examiner, and TOK Teacher. She is a dedicated, lifelong learner who is also studying sociology and writing her MA thesis on the implementation of SDGs in the school curriculum.

Tell us more about your Mentoring role and what it means to you.

Being a mentor is a great opportunity for me to be with a group of passionate educators whose main goal is to make the world a better place. We all gather under the umbrella of education for sustainable development and believe in the power of transformative education.

We regularly meet once a month to share our in-class and extracurricular SDG-related activities and discuss how these activities can be improved and implemented in different contexts. Furthermore, we have a texting group where we can exchange information instantly and consult each other at any time.

Moreover, the experience gained in a mentorship role has contributed greatly to my personal development. It requires not only being an active listener and giving constructive feedback, as well as being able to network and find new resources.

What has been the best part of working with your Mentees?

The best part of working with my mentees is definitely learning from each other. It is great to hear the voices of advocates teaching various subjects and grade levels and have the opportunity to collaborate.

What are some things you learned from your Mentees?

Some mentees in my group teach kindergarten and primary school students. As I have been teaching secondary school students since I started teaching, it is very inspiring and surprising to see how meaningful SDG projects for kindergarten and primary school students can do.

What led you to decide to become an Advocate in the first place?

I have been a Model United Nations Advisor for the past ten years and used to be an IBDP CAS Coordinator. I have always been very interested in sustainable development goals and embedding these SDGs into the school and community. While I was searching for SDG-related meaningful, real-world projects for my International Baccalaureate DP students, I came across the Global Schools Program website and Instagram account. That’s how I applied for the Global Schools Program advocacy.

What is one thing you wish to tell current and future Global Schools advocates?

Global Schools’ advocates should be aware of the fact that they will have a great impact on the school community once they take the role. It is not only being a member of a great group of educators but also a passion that will last throughout their lives.

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