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Welcoming the new YPARD Steering Committee Chair: Marina Cherbonnier

MarinaWe are delighted to announce Marina Cherbonnier as the newly elected YPARD Steering Committee Chair. 

Marina is an international network and community engagement specialist with extended experience in agricultural-related development. You can learn more about her on this introduction blog post published when she joined the Steering Committee last January. 

When asked about her vision as a steering committee chair and how this would mainstream into her mission, Marina shared about YPARD’s niche as an international pluri-disciplinary and multi-stakeholders network. She also talked about her key priorities as YPARD’s chair: living to YPARD’s vision and its community work while continuously learning and adapting to changing realities and ensuring the sustainability of the network. She stressed that in a time of covid19 and climate crisis, and even more in the time that will follow, YPARD’s international network of young professionals for sustainable food systems and the way it works is what the world needs!

Here is what Marina said:

“Reviving YPARD’s essence and potential as an international community and network is crucial. What it means is that beyond sprouting amazing yet ad-hoc projects in different corners of the world, we will focus on our niche: making sure that the dots – young people, information, partners, projects – are connected, across disciplines, countries and regions of the world and that collective efforts at different levels are maximized, to meet our common vision.

 “YPARD has so much potential!” has been a recurring statement during my chats with different members since I joined the YPARD’s steering committee.  And indeed, translating this potential into a strong business plan and the sustainability of the network has been our forever challenge and opportunity! Big changes are happening with YPARD in 2020-2021. This required massive background work on a global level. It may have felt like fallow lands on some aspects of our work; we now have fertile lands and we are better equipped to nurture them. We are positioned for both maintaining our current partnerships and activities and extending to new ones.  

Talking about connecting the dots, this also implies better internal synergy within the YPARD Team. On a Steering Committee level, this means making sure we build stronger mechanisms to work effectively as a team and that we remain constantly connected to the whole community, including country chapters, regional units, the global coordination unit. Indeed, our role is to primarily provide strategic guidance and hold on the big picture, and to do so we must keep a sense of the realities in different contexts. Otherwise, we may just end up with a pixilated “big picture” in hand and we won’t be able to fill our role, meet our common vision and share the right narrative. 

As chair of the Steering Committee, my priority is to make sure YPARD lives and holds itself accountable to its vision while also staying alert and adapting to changing realities through deep listening to members and partners. This learning will particularly be key as we drive expanded plans for resource mobilization and ensure the sustainability of the network. To get there we shall build stronger mechanisms and structures to monitor (internally and externally), learn, adapt and evolve as best fits. We have so many unexploited data and evidence of impact at YPARD and we look forward to applying it to help YPARD thrive! I will also strive for YPARD to maintain and grow its strongest currency: the trust and feeling of togetherness it has nurtured within its community, while we continuously improve our ways of owning, engaging and collaborating as a community and network.”

This time of covid19 and climate crisis brings us a perfect illustration of why both global connection and local sovereignty are needed. The “how” is equally important: on an international level, we need more sharing of and through virtual currencies, like information and knowledge via interactive digital devices; on a local level, we need stronger ownership, more and better-managed production through the value chain. That’s the YPARD model. We are confident the coming years will bring a new light on YPARD as an international community and network of young professionals for sustainable food systems. We are coming with more agile yet more structured collaborative work and we are open to more partnerships.”

For any strategic discussions, you can contact the steering committee (SC) chair and other SC members via  steeringcommittee@ypard.net