Global Learning student prepared to lead after summer of social impact training

This fall, senior John Llanera stepped into two new exciting, globally-focused roles on campus: he is serving both as FIU’s inaugural Oxfam Change Leader, and as co-president of GlobeMed at FIU.  Because of three leadership trainings that he attended over the summer, John is set up for success and ready to fulfill a variety of goals in his final year at the university.

John, second from left, at Oxfam’s Change Leader training

John received an email about the opportunity to apply to be a student representative of Oxfam at FIU through the Global Learning Medallion program, which he is on track to complete this year.  The Office of Global Learning is connected to Oxfam, a global anti-poverty group, through our annual visit to their D.C. office with students as part of the Transformation Contest.  Their mission of eradicating global poverty spoke to him immediately. As FIU’s Change Leader, John is working on getting other students involved with Oxfam’s mission through meetings and activities currently in the works, such as the Hunger Banquet, a well-known simulation scenario developed by Oxfam to help participants appreciate the reality of the inequitable distribution of food in society.

In July, Oxfam flew John to the Change Leader leadership training at Eastern Nazarene College near Boston, where sessions prepared him to fulfill these responsibilities while also equipping him with overall leadership skills that will follow him past his FIU graduation.  For example, one session was about how to create an effective branding campaign by keeping messaging straightforward, and another on lobbying was led by Michael Helms, a Government Affairs Advisor for Oxfam. John will also focus on helping FIU students contact their elected representatives about poverty-related topics and legislation important to them.

John, left, participates in a group activity at Globemed’s Leadership Institute

John’s role as co-president of Global Learning’s most accomplished and long-standing student organization, GlobeMed took him to Chicago in August For that organization’s annual Leadership Institute.  Hosted at Northwestern University, John learned how to better interface with FIU’s long term community partner, Escuela de la Calle (EDELAC) in Guatemala.  Each summer, a small contingent of students spend a month at EDELAC assisting with health and education programs.  According to John, “I am more aware of how the priorities of the club’s service trips to Guatemala are up to EDELAC, not us, and I am better prepared to improve our club’s communication with our partners.”  John compared notes with leaders of other chapters on some of FIU’s successful fundraising events that are unique to our institution, such as an annual benefit concert.

Finally, John flew to Milwaukee for the Delta Upsilon Leadership Institute.  Adding to the global focus of John’s undergraduate experience, he hopes to attend that organization’s service trip to Jamaica in December.

Across these experiences, John met new people and experienced new places along with acquiring leadership knowledge, as it was his first time visiting each of the cities where the meetings were held.  “I loved the brick architecture in Boston and could see myself living there in the future, but of course, I only know what the weather is like in the summer,” he said.

To make sure you are aware of when global learning leadership opportunities like John’s are available, sign up for the Global Learning Medallion at

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