Youth masterclasses: Build networking, facilitation, pitching and critical thinking skills

This article posts during GLF 2014. See in English | Espanol

Do you:

  • Find it difficult to network at big conferences?
  • Feel shy to put up your hand and say something at side events?
  • Struggle to understand the political and technical jargon used by climate change and sustainable development folks?
  • Want to build all these skills and meet a bunch of like minded young people and professionals interested in youth issues?

60 young professionals who answered “yes” to the above questions took part in a pilot masterclass program run by professional trainers just prior to December’s Global Landscapes Forum in Peru. Hundreds more participated in interactive webinars. We’ve made all our resources freely available, so please download and watch the documents and videos linked below.

Our work with young people in landscapes sectors is only just beginning. We are currently conducting a thorough review of our entire program and, in the lead up to the 2015 UN climate conference in Paris, want to pilot more creative and collaborative problem solving events and a stronger skill building program.



Masterclass resource booklet

This is the booklet that all masterclass participants were given – some great resources to help you build your facilitation, pitching, networking and critical thinking skills. Download it by clicking on the image below.

masterclass cover report

Skill building webinars

Friday November 14

08:00 Peru/14:00 CET/20:00 Bangkok

The art of pitching an idea

Applying for funding? Have a job interview? Learn the art of framing your message for different purposes, audiences and outcomes.

Monday November 17

06:00 Peru/12:00 CET/18:00 Bangkok

Tips and tricks for facilitating a discussion 

What skills does a facilitator need? In this webinar we talk about how to create a comfortable environment, becoming self-confident, process vs content and making yourself vulnerable.

Using practical examples, our second webinar takes you through the decision making process of choosing the right facilitation tool for your discussion. We also cover some of of the golden rules of facilitating a discussion as well as common mistakes and how to avoid them.

Friday November 21 How to network (materials here)

This video and written guide outlines he key skills and tools needed to effectively network, and guides you through the practical steps of developing your “networking action plan”.

Wednesday November 26

09:00 Bangkok/03:00 CET/21:00 Tuesday 25 Peru 

What are landscape approaches?

You may have heard the term “landscapes approach” but what does it actually mean? Find out why the approach is important for sustainable agriculture, food security, forestry and climate change adaptation and how it aims it change the way that land is governed.


What are the youth masterclasses?

Despite increasing commitments for youth representation in committees and at conferences, there’s not been a space for sufficient mentoring and skill building opportunities so young people can effectively contribute to discussions, network and become better professionals.

We want to build the skills of youth to become leaders and give them a space to effectively contribute to innovative cross-cutting solutions to land use, climate change and sustainable development issues.

That’s why we’re offering a series of online and offline skill and knowledge building masterclasses in November and December, run by professional trainers.

Download the concept note here.

What skills and knowledge will you build?

On Friday 5 December (the day before the GLF youth session on December 6), 40-60 young professionals and students will learn how to:

Each of these classes will have an online component, which will be offered in November.

I didn’t really come to COP20 to go back to school…

Good, because this will be nothing like school!

We will be using cool new ways to make this event fun, interactive and participatory. However, we will be setting a mission or two for you to complete at the Global Landscapes Forum to showcase the skills you have learnt 🙂


Friday December 5th

Sol De Oro Hotel

Lima, Peru

Time Program
08:30 – 08:45 Introduction

Recap of webinar learning and pre-conference activities.

Concurrent masterclasses (15-20 participants in each)
08:55 – 10:55 (Part 1) Contributing to a discussion Articulating comments and questions. (Part 1) Critical thinking and understanding landscapes   Active listening, how to find reliable information from diverse sources (Part 1) How to facilitate a discussion
10:55 – 11:10 Break
11:15 – 13:15 (Part 2) Pitching an idea Dragon’s den + peer assessed assignment. (Part 2) Critical thinking and understanding landscapesIdentify key argument points, addressing these points (Part 2) How to facilitate a discussion
13:15 – 14:25 Lunch
14:30 – 15:00 Debrief focusing on skills learned and how these skills can be put in practice during the 2014 GLF
15:00 – 16:00 Networking masterclass
16:00 – 16:30 Break
16:30 -17:15 Youth-professional networking

But I want to go to all the masterclasses!

As we have a lot to cover in a short space of time, you will only be able to attend one masterclass stream (i.e. Facilitation OR critical thinking OR pitching) plus the networking masterclass. However, we plan to make materials from all masterclasses openly available to encourage widespread learning.

You will receive…

  • A certificate of completion, which you can reference on your CV as professional development
  • A resource booklet with reference material to help you further the skills you learn
  • Opportunities to take on leadership positions at the Global Landscapes Forum (previous youth leaders have been asked to moderate discussions, MC high-level panels etc)
  • Mentorship from older and younger professionals
  • Access to professional trainers
  • A new network and long-lasting friendships with young professionals/students from across the world!

Selection criteria

Unfortunately we only have a capacity of 40-60 participants so all applicants will be going through a selection process. To be eligible, you need to be:

  • Between 18 to 30 years old
  • Registered to attend the Global Landscapes Forum (register here)

The masterclasses are free but unfortunately we cannot provide funding support for selected participants.

How do I register?

Registrations have now closed. Selected participants will be notified by email.

The organisers

The youth activities at the Global Landscapes Forum are being organized by youth, for youth. Our implementing organizations are YPARD, IFSA, GAEA and CIFOR.

cifor      ifsa GAEA LOGO

If you’d like more information about the masterclass or would like to sponsor the session or participants, please contact Marina at

This masterclass is organized by youth, for youth. Here are the awesome group of people that are making this event and the youth session (which you should register for if you haven’t already!) possible.

Role Lead/s
Overall coordinator
  • MKovacevic

    Michelle Kovacevic Michelle is a science communicator and has experience organizing capacity building programs for youth, journalists and researchers while working for the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

  • Marina

    Marina Cherbonnier Marina is YPARD’s Web and Communications manager (Young Professionals for Agricultural Development).

Masterclass design
  • Marina Cherbonnier

  • BunmiBunmi Ajilore Bunmi is a visiting researcher at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), a science communicator for the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and a member of the GFAR/Foresight Forward Thinking Platform.
  • Sarah

    Sarah Dickson-Hoyle Sarah holds the position of CIFOR Liaison Officer with the International Forestry Students’ Association.

  • Florent

    Florent Kaiser Florent is a young, passionate forester who is keen to overcome barriers between youth and older professionals to ensure a smooth transfer of knowledge, skills and innovative problem solving.

Youth session design
  • Michelle Kovacevic

  • AbbyAbby Waldorf Abby is a communications and engagement specialist for the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems.
Partnership scoping
  • Florent Kaiser (international partners)

  • MarthaMartha Cuba (regional and national partners) Martha works as the Center for International Forestry Research’s (CIFOR) Communications Coordinator for Latin America.
  • Paola

    Paola  Coronado Werner (local partners) Paola is Head of the UNFCCC Sub-Commission at the International Forestry Students Association.

  • Natalia

    Natalia Cisneros Natalia is Vice-President of the International Forestry Students Association and is based in Lima, Peru.

  • Anna

    Anna-Sarah Eyrich Anna is part of the Global Agroecology Alliance (GAEA) and is currently participating in a systematic review of climate smart agriculture practices for the world Agroforestry centre (ICRAF).


Contributing to a discussion and pitching ideas

This masterclass will include theoretical and practical exercises on how to talk about your work/ideas/messages in a succinct and targeted manner that can be easily understood, whether it be in conference sessions, meetings, coffee breaks or negotiations. You will engage with each another to practice your pitches, revise them, and four of you will present to a panel of experts who will provide feedback.

You will:

  • Understand the art of ‘framing’ messages for different audiences
  • Learn to present an idea/opinion/message clearly and succinctly
  • Develop personal confidence in presenting yourself and your ideas
  • Get practical experience crafting your own “pitches”



Facilitating a discussion

This masterclass will equip you with the skills and confidence to effectively facilitate group discussions. We will build on your current facilitation skills and clarify what facilitators do and do not do. We will explore several different facilitation tools and methods, the decision making process behind selecting and adapting each tool and practice how to apply these skills effectively.

You will

  • Understand your role as a discussion facilitator
  • Develop personal confidence in using a range of facilitation skills and tools (verbal and non-verbal)
  • Practice designing your own facilitated event
  • Reflect on your own personal learning and ideas for refining your own facilitation practice in the future



Critical thinking and understanding landscapes

This masterclass will help you develop the critical thinking and analytical skills needed for active participation in conferences and decision making processes. Through a series of practical exercises and special guest contributors, you will be able to explore the technical and political issues of climate change, sustainable agriculture, food security, forestry and the overall landscape concept.

You will:

  • Become a more active listener – asking the right questions and gaining insight into key arguments in discussions/negotiations
  • Identify/break down key argument points and learn how to address these points.
  • Become better at finding reliable information and bringing together diverse perspectives
  • Better understand the technical and political issues of landscapes and climate change adaptation/mitigation, and the extent to which they influence COP negotiations.



How to network

This masterclass will take you through the process of preparing a ‘networking action plan’ for the GLF, as well as the theory and skills needed for making introductions and presenting yourself. You will apply these skills through a range of networking activities with both young and more senior professionals.

You will:

  • Understand, and have learned how to prepare for, the different stages of networking: before, during, and after the event
  • Develop personal confidence in approaching and connecting with people you don’t know
  • Understand how to make a great first impression, and have worked on your voice, body language, and reading social situations
  • Practice introducing yourself and their peers
  • Gain experience in networking with professionals and peers