York whiz kid a delegate at UN world summit

Jennifer Corriero (left), dynamic first-year MES student in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (BA ’03), almost needs to clone herself. She is involved in a multitude of high-level projects and it is hard to believe that one person can accomplish so much – and so well.

Earlier this year, Time magazine featured go-getter Corriero as a leader for Canada’s Next Generation and the World Economic Forum organization named the 23-year-old a Global Leader for Tomorrow. And two eminent Canadians – Maurice Strong, environmental crusader and adviser to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and Don Tapscott, author of The Digital Economy and Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation – also recognize Corriero’s leadership qualities. They were behind her nomination for the World Economic Forum’s Global Leader for Tomorrow award.

Now, Corriero is in Geneva as a member of the official Canadian delegation to the first United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, Dec. 10 to 12.

Corriero helped draft and push for a powerful statement on youth to be included in the summit’s Declaration of Principles, a statement which calls attention to the central role played by young people as learners, developers, contributors, entrepreneurs and decision makers in the emergent world information society. She has also advised and helped connect youth delegates from various countries by putting them in contact with the Canadian and other delegations. (The summit will have a second phase in Tunis in 2005.)

Corriero (right) might be best known as executive director of TakingITGlobal (TIG), a non-profit organization she co-founded, aimed at youth 13 to 30 from around the world. TIG promotes socially and environmentally responsible entrepreneurship and engagement through technology, communication, collaboration and community. The TIG Web site, which gets up to a million hits a day, has taken on the role of global secretariat to ensure a strong youth presence at the UN summit. For more information about the organization, check out the TIG site.

At the UN conference, Corriero’s role is part of a broader TIG-led strategy to improve access to digital technology for young people around the world in an attempt to overcome the have and have-not “digital divide” by involving them in networking, decision making and projects.

In her MES program, Corriero is focusing on “Youth Engagement and Capacity-Building Across Cultures”. “I am very interested in developing a deeper understanding of the various global challenges that I work towards addressing, along with the interconnections and relationships between the different challenges,” said Corriero.

Crediting York University with helping to shaping her unique world view, Corriero said, “York has provided me with a multidisciplinary learning experience and knowledge which has helped me with practical decision making and problem solving in my organization. It has shaped the holistic way in which I see the world and defined new possibilities for me.”

More about Corriero

Corriero’s creation of TakingITGlobal, with fellow Canadian Michael Furdyk, grew partly from having managed a Web site funded by a Canadian philanthropist dedicated to promoting women’s history (Coolgirls.org). She then became fascinated with issues important to youth and young people’s impact in their communities while doing research for her undergraduate degree in liberal studies at York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies.

Left: Corriero’s creation, from the TIG Web site, The Activist

Right: Corriero’s Web art, 1984




For an independent study course Corriero surveyed 1,400 youth respondents in over 100 countries about their dreams and concerns. One thing led to another, she was introduced to helpful people, and her leadership skills shone through.

Corriero, who was recognized by the National Congress of Italian Canadians as the 2002 Youth Achievement Award winner, has been consulted by numerous companies including Hewlett-Packard, Swatch and Microsoft, for which she spent six months at its Redmond, Washington headquarters advising senior executives on how the next generation will use technology.

In addition, Corriero was an organizing committee member for the Youth Employment Summit in Alexandria, Egypt, in September 2002. She represented Canadian youth at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa, and has presented at events, such as the 5th Stockholm Challenge Global Forum & Exhibition in Sweden on the topic of knowledge-transfer, and the 2003 UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris.

To view more of Corriero’s art, visit her TIG gallery site