Join the Deep Connections Fellowship for Indigenous Youth Leaders

Apply to attend the One Young World Summit in Montréal, Canada and exchange experience with young leaders from around the world.

Thank you to those who have applied! We have closed the application period and will be in contact soon.

Are you an Indigenous leader looking for opportunities to exchange experiences with other young leaders from around the world? Apply to join the Deep Connections Fellowship for Indigenous Youth Leaders and attend the One Young World Summit in Montréal, Canada from September 17-21, 2024. 

Highlighting the role of young Indigenous leaders as drivers of the struggle of their territories and bearers of Indigenous scientific knowledge, the FSC Indigenous Foundation (FSC-IF) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are launching this Fellowship to support youth leadership and strengthen Indigenous communities by facilitating Indigenous youth to attend the One Young World Summit.

The Summit will bring together young leaders from over 190 countries and more than 250 organizations working to accelerate social impact. The selected Indigenous leaders will participate in different spaces for dialogue, workshops, and networking with other youth leaders worldwide. They will also receive advice from influential political, business, and humanitarian leaders. Once the Summit is over, participants will become One Young World Ambassadors and become members of the FSC-IF Youth Community. They will return to their workplaces and communities with the means and motivation to make a difference.  
This opportunity is open to Indigenous youth leaders between the ages of 18 and 35 who are part of Indigenous Peoples’ organizations from one of the following regions: Africa, Asia, the Arctic, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Pacific, and Europe.  

Those interested in applying must be part of Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, promoting and developing actions on behalf of their community or People in one or more of the following strategic themes:   

  • Conservation of Mother Earth (the environment) and climate change solutions 
  • Empowerment and promotion of the active participation of Indigenous youth 
  • Use and promotion of Artificial Intelligence and other technologies 
  • Health and promotion of scientific ancestral knowledge 
  • Peacebuilding 

Likewise, Indigenous youth who wish to apply are encouraged to carry out actions that incorporate one or several of the following cross-cutting themes: 

  • Strengthening and revitalization of culture (Indigenous languages, art, and cosmovision). 
  • Social inclusion and work with different population groups (women, girls, etc.). 
  • Innovation 
  • Sustainability 
  • Communication or audiovisual media 

How can I apply? 

Proposals may be submitted in different formats, including video (3-5 min), a written document (2 pages maximum), or by filling out a Google Form. Videos and documents can be submitted through the Google Form or sent to Yaily N. Castillo at  Applications can be submitted in Spanish, English, Portuguese, and French. 

Applications will respond to the following: 

Tell us about yourself! Personal information: First name, last name, e-mail, telephone, country of residence, nationality (can be more than one), which Indigenous People/community you belong to, mother tongue, gender, and age.  
Your story: 
Who are you? 
What is your life story?
Please tell us what you do! What role do you have within your organization or your community/Indigenous People? 
What actions do you carry out in one or more of the previously mentioned strategic themes? How do you incorporate some of the previously mentioned cross-cutting themes? 
Tell us about one of your greatest and most important achievements and learnings. 
Tell us about your motivation!!!! Why are you interested in participating in this call? 
How could your participation in this Summit contribute to the growth and empowerment of your community/people? 
What motivates you to be a leader within your Indigenous community? 

Required Attachments: One letter of reference from an Indigenous Peoples’ organization endorsing your involvement in actions of your community or people and stating that you belong to an Indigenous People. 

Receipt of applications will close on May 12, 2024, at 12 p.m. Central American time. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted by the FSC-IF team.  

For more information about this application, please contact Yaily N. Castillo at  


International STEM Day: Indigenous wisdom and technology

We spoke with the Indigenous student who hopes to merge technology with ancestral wisdom.


To celebrate International Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Day, we share the story of América Anayelli Olguín, a young Indigenous woman from Zacatlán, Mexico who will soon begin a postgraduate degree in Geographic Information and Science Systems, with the support of the FSC Indigenous Foundation through its IPARD program. America will study for a postgraduate degree at UNIGIS Latin America, in Geographic Information Systems, tools that allow capturing, storing, analyzing and visualizing geospatial data to make location-based decisions. This program has a high content related to the STEM educational approach that addresses the integration of knowledge through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. America’s goal is to apply geographic analysis for territorial development, agriculture, and environmental conservation in Indigenous territories.

In recent years, America has focused her work on documentation in defense of her territory and the dissemination of culture through social networks. Currently, she collaborates with the Union of Ejidos of the Sierra Norte de Puebla, where she supports local communities in the sustainable and legal use of their forests, and in their internal organizational processes. In addition, she is part of the network of communicators of the MOCAF Network and the youth movement of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests. She is also an active member of the Regional Collective in Defense of Forests and Territory of the Sierra Norte de Puebla. Her contributions will have a significant impact, including the development of Land Management Plans and participatory rural assessments in support of forest communities in her region. Find out more about how Indigenous ancestral wisdom is combined with science for the benefit of communities in this interview.

What motivated your interest in this course to learn about GIS?

Given the area in which I have worked in recent years, in supporting local communities in their timber harvesting, I have discovered the great work that the communities of the region have done in the preservation and restoration of the environment, something that unfortunately is not recognized by the general population, which in many cases is usually from ignorance of the activities and benefits that community forestry brings. So I want to promote a dissemination campaign on this issue that will consist of presenting materials with geographic information that is easy to understand for everyone but contains truthful information and adequately expresses the message. I believe that when the population knows and understands its region, with all its characteristics, a first step is taken to defend the territory. Having the skills to process information with Geographic Information Systems can be a powerful tool to strengthen and support the process that communities carry out for this objective that we have in common in the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

What will you learn in the course?

The course will be both broad and complex; the topics that are of most interest to me are geographic analysis and how we can relate it to issues such as territorial development, agriculture, and the environment because they are day-to-day issues in my family and community.

How will you apply this knowledge in your community and beyond?

One of my goals is to disseminate what the forest communities of the Sierra Norte de Puebla are doing, so I hope to be able to apply my knowledge to support the communities in planning their development, for example with the development of Land Management Plans or Participatory Rural Appraisals; also to support them in obtaining financing or capacity building projects before Mexican government agencies, since it is increasingly complex for forest owners to access these supports.

How will you share the knowledge gained with the communities?

One way to support the communities is to give them the tools so that they can promote their projects and raise their voices. I can share the knowledge through the Mexican Network of Peasant Forestry Organizations (REDMOCAF) because, given the reach they have, we can promote projects for trainings with young people from all over the country who are members of the organizations that belong to the network.

Why do you think it is important for Indigenous Peoples to work in science and technology?

Bringing technology and traditions together can have many benefits, the first being the documentation of these traditions and an approach for Indigenous Peoples and local communities to monitor how their territory is developing and trending towards change.

How can GIS help Indigenous communities?

It helps to manage the resources we have which, with inherited knowledge, creates impact in the fight for the environment and climate change.

GIS are tools that allow us to chart a path to a future. With geographic information, we trace a legacy in maps, but also in culture and resilience. They also help us protect our lands and prepare for the natural challenges that life presents us because we are custodians of our home.

Do you have any other messages you would like to share?

GIS gives us the power to chart our own destiny, it gives us the ability to plan, build, and care so that future generations will inherit a world enriched by our traditions.

With the support of GIS, our voices are louder, and our decisions clearer. Together, we forge a future that protects the legacy we will leave to our descendants.

In short, GIS is a powerful tool that lights the way to firmly defend our territory and heritage in the Sierra Norte de Puebla. The knowledge you acquire in this course will be the foundation with which we will protect our land.