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Ylliass Destin Lawani

"GLOBE opened my eyes to the world and awakened my conscience on environmental issues," says Ylliass Destin Lawani. In 1996, Ylliass was a student of current Benin country coordinator Mme Alidjennatou Aliou-Emmanuel, in one of the first GLOBE classrooms in Benin. Two years later he had his first taste of collaboration beyond the borders of his own country as a student scientist at the GLOBE Learning Expedition in Helsinki, Finland. He returned to Benin and created a GLOBE Africa Club in his school, the Lycée Behanzin, to organize student collection of data for use in student research. The students found ways to fully finance their activities by creating greeting cards, paintings and other art objects for sale from the dry bark of banana trees.

Upon graduation from high school, Ylliass joined other GLOBE alumni in Benin and established the GLOBE Program at the University of Benin with the purpose of organizing environmental activities and acting as mentors to younger GLOBE students. In 2009, it became formally known as The GLOBE Alumni Organization of Benin. Ylliass currently heads this organization working to instill his passion and energy for GLOBE with today's students of Benin.

Ylliass is currently assisting with the Alumni GS-Pals, a collaborative student research project utilizing modern Web technologies. GS-Pals brings students, scientists, and GLOBE Alumni together to collaborate on activities, events, and projects. He is also actively working on the creation of the first African GLOBE Games to occur in 2011.

Involvement with GLOBE has inspired Ylliass to set his sites on an international career. His dream for the next year is to earn a PhD in International Security related to conflict prevention, management and resolution, which he sees as a natural outgrowth of GLOBE's aim to create a safe environment. Ylliass writes, "I hope that over the years, wherever I am, I will stay connected with the GLOBE Community and the GLOBE Alumni, and continue to volunteer with GLOBE."