NGO helps young leaders solve international, local problems

As international director of a youth-led environmental organization, UM senior Christopher Stampar says devoting time to those type of causes is a passion he was born with.

Stampar, an international studies and economics major, is involved in Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions (IDEAS). The non-government organization (NGO) is nonprofit and accredited by the United Nations. Its purpose: to help nurture the talents of youth leaders to drive solutions and implement sustainability programs and action projects on campuses and in communities around the world.

“I think the biggest effect I’ve had in facilitating the environmental movement has been in establishing IDEAS chapters around the world, particularly in Africa,” he said. “Perhaps our organization’s most successful chapter has been IDEAS for Uganda, where we have an incredible team working in all 112 districts of the country, and chapters in over 16 schools and universities.”

In early 2012, Stampar created the position of international director within IDEAS for U.S. to develop new chapters and partnerships abroad.

“I noticed a lack of an international director position within IDEAS for U.S. at the time, and decided to take the initiative and propose creating this new opportunity for myself and the organization,” Stampar said.

As president of IDEAS for UM, Stampar has been able to recruit around 20 students from all over the world and from different majors to get involved in the initiative.

One student who has worked with him is Paulina Araujo, 19, who started at UM in fall 2012 after graduating high school in Cartagena, Colombia.

“We have discussed all sorts of projects from improving the recycling system in school to making a contest and art exposition of  recyclable materials,” Araujo said.

Stampar is also active in the United Nations and created IDEAS for the UN as an effort to accredit students for participation in international conferences and events.

“I had always had a passion for international issues that began with my involvement in Model United Nations in high school,” Stampar said.

Chris Castro is the co-founder and executive director for IDEAS for the U.S. and has worked with Stampar from the beginning in his involvement with IDEAS.

“Stampar is not only an incredible business partner, but also one of my best friends,” said Castro, who co-founded IDEAS while he was a sophomore in the University of Central Florida in 2008.

Stampar and Castro have both traveled a lot since he started his position with IDEAS for the U.S. in 2011.

“We have traveled to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; the International Economic Congress in Berlin, Germany,” Castro said. They have also visited New York to speak at the United Nations headquarters.

Stampar will be graduating next May and plans to apply the knowledge he has gained throughout his academic career into the real world and future endeavors.

“What may come in another year I can barely imagine,” he said, “but that bit of uncertainty combined with the amazing experiences I have already enjoyed fuels my passion for change and keeps me eager to discover what I’ll be involved in next.”