George Ziro’s reflections on The London International Youth Science Forum 2019

October 28, 2019

George Ziro is one of the 2019 School Leavers Attachment Scheme (SLAS) attaches selected to participate in The London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF), a two-week residential student event held at Imperial College London and The Royal Geographical Society. The event features lecture demonstrations from leading scientists, visits to world-class laboratories and universities combined with cultural interaction, with 500 students aged 16-21 years old from 70 countries. This year’s conference was held from the 24th July – 7th August 2019.  

Ziro was selected to attend the conference as a result of his impressive academic performance. He shares a reflection of his two-week experience in London with us.

Attending the 61st London International Youth Science Forum 2019 was the best two weeks of my life. I enjoyed every second of my stay at Imperial College London. From attending lectures delivered by renowned scientists and scholars to participating during debate nights, sports, talent and cultural nights.

The conference attracted more than 500 leading young scientists from different parts of the world. This meant over 500 different ways of thinking, reasoning, skills, cultures and different ways of tackling the problems that we encounter. LIYSF made it possible for me to interact, learn and network with these brains from different parts of the world.

Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony graced by Her Royal Highness Princess Royal commenced with addresses by several distinguished speakers, including Professor Clare Elwell (President of LIYSF) and Sir Venki Ramakrishnan (President of the Royal Society). During the ceremony, I got an opportunity to wave the Kenyan flag, and this was an exciting moment for me. The opening was followed by an after-party event and a photo session with her Royal Highness Princess Royal. This was an opportunity of a lifetime, the closest I have gotten to a member of the British royalty.

The Lectures

The lectures were delivered by enthusiastic and passionate individuals who had excelled in their fields of study and careers. The specialist lectures were my favourite and these were determined by one’s career aspirations. The ‘Bazaar Night’ was a night to learn from each other. It was during the ‘Bazaar Night’ that participants presented their different projects. I enjoyed learning different things that I previously did not know. It was amazing to see the work of different students from all over the globe.

One of the most amazing evenings during the forum was the debate night by Dr Jason Nurse from Kent University concerning the value of online information, the benefits of the internet, the challenge of misinformation and fake news. The debate night gave me a voice as well as a platform to be heard. I was overwhelmed with standing and presenting my ideas in front of everyone.

A visit to Stamford Bridge

The LIYSF programme allowed for an opportunity to experience the beautiful city of London, mostly after lectures and over the weekends. The weather was excellent apart from the first couple of days when the temperatures were high. Visits to different establishments were amazing. I visited Oxford University and had a chance to tour the amazing Pitt Rivers museum. The bus ride from London to Essex was also amazing. On our way there I could see the London Eye and the London bridge which was quite amazing. We toured the sports facility at the University of Essex where we were welcomed by amazing students who hosted us for the rest of the day. On the last Sunday of my stay, I toured Chelsea football stadium.

New Friends

I made numerous friends who made my two weeks stay memorable. Parties were really enjoyable. There was good food, music and drinks. We danced for long and had performances from different people. During the closing party, I performed modern African dance with fellow YOSA students and a Mijikenda traditional dance with a former KEMRI-Wellcome Trust school leavers attachment student and YoSA ambassador, Ammy Dama Mwasambu.

On the day of the cultural night, I was able to learn numerous aspects of different cultures through performances from different continents. I’ll forever live to cherish these memories that I created, the friends that I made, the ties, the lessons and one day these ties might contribute to tackling the issue of climate change and global warming to make this world a more habitable planet.