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ACCAS Youth for Global Issues Conference and Expo 2021 Full Conferences

Presenters Biographies

Nikita Chernin

Founder CEO of 360 Creativity Political Activist and Entrepreneur

Nikita Chernin is a high school student, political activist, and entrepreneur. He is the Founder/CEO of 360 Creativity and works as an intern at NYC Votes. He is also a secretary at Bridge to Literacy. Nikita is a prominent public speaker, debater, and actor. You can find Nikita on all social media platforms at @n6chernin.

Fédorah Pierre-Louis

Public Engagement Director, World Vision International-Haiti

I joined the humanitarian sector following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, when I decided to return home after 10 years living in the Dominican Republic. Areas of expertise include Public relations and Communication as well as audiovisual concept development. I currently work mainly in Advocacy and External Engagement for the rights   of   children   and   young   people in  order  to guarantee their access to basic services that will contribute to their well-being and sustainable  empowerment.  I  am  currently  leading  World  Vision  Haiti’s  campaign, It takes a world. I have approximately 15 years of experience in education with a passion for teaching and curriculum development. I completed my university studies in the Dominican Republic where I obtained a bachelor’s degree in advertising and visual communication and a master’s degree in education. I am also working as a professor of public relations at Notre Dame University in Haiti. 

I have been the Director of Public Engagement for World Vision Haiti since November 2016, where I am overseeing the national office efforts in communication, advocacy and church relations. I am fluent in Creole, French, English and Spanish. In my spare time, I work as a collaborator for Creo Tech, developing a marketing plan & curriculum for an equal admission Youth STEAM Program and I engage in community and social activities promoting youth career and personal development or women empowerment. In 2019 for example, I was a two-time guest speaker for “SHE BUILDS initiative, a woman empowerment platform scaling up Haitian female impact. I also have experience in corporate coaching and I’m capacitated to provide training in education methodologies, sexual harassment, leadership, communications and productivity skills. Finally, don’t tell my sisters, but I’m my nieces and nephews’ favorite auntie.

Agustina Besada

Co-director Unplastify National Geographic Explorer

Agustina Besada is a sustainability entrepreneur championing initiative in support of a circular economy and triple bottom lines, with a focus on material waste valuation and recovery. Besada crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a 36-feet sailboat – twice – to research firsthand the reality of plastic waste in the ocean and study international solutions. Building on this voyage, she founded and is the co-director of Unplastify, an organization that has the mission of redesigning the human relationship with plastic, through exploration, education and acceleration of impactful actions.

Besada is an industrial designer by training. She has also received an M.S. in Sustainability Management from Columbia University’s Earth Institute and completed an executive program on entrepreneurship at Columbia Business School. Since 2018, she is a National Geographic Explorer.

Exploring the human relationship with plastic. Plastic waste is affecting the health of oceans, animals, and all of us, humans. At Unplastify, we believe this is a bad relationship issue. We believe our relationship with plastic is out of control and it has to change. The problem is not the material, but its use and abuse. Disposable plastic is a design error. We propose re-designing operations and inspiring behavioral changes to avoid single-use-plastics. We believe that with inspiration and accelerating solutions we can unplastify the world.

Lei Santiago

Consular Officer, U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo

Lei Santiago is serving her second tour in Santo Domingo as a Consular Officer after completing her previous tour at a small consulate in Nogales, Mexico. She joined the State Department in February 2018 as a Spanish Consular Fellow. Previously, Lei has been an intern in the United States Senate and worked in various positions in academia as a research and teaching assistant.

Ms. Santiago received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with minors in International Relations and French from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez. She also holds a Master’s in International Affairs from Penn State University with a concentration in conflict mediation and Latin American politics.

She was born and raised in Puerto Rico and is fluent in Spanish. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga.

Marta Curti

Biologist, Ridgway’s Hawk Project Coordinator- Neotropical Raptor Network

Marta Curti has been working as a biologist for The Peregrine Fund for nearly 20 years. She has worked with a number of different species of birds of prey including Aplomado Falcon, California Condor, Harpy Eagle, and Orange-breasted Falcon. She has been working on the Ridgway’s Hawk project in Dominican Republic since 2011 and is  in charge of conducting environmental education programs teaching people about this species and the importance of its conservation. She has an MA in Education and a BA in Creative Writing. She is a published author of 3 bilingual children’s books and a novel. She is also the co-founder of a birding tour company that emphasizes education as a path to conservation. 

You can read more about Marta Curti at:

Laura Díaz

Marine Biologist, Fundación Propagas

My name is Laura Diaz. I am a marine biologist and passionate about science. I studied Ecology and Environmental Management and recently, I finished my master’s degree in Marine Biology. Since 2016 I have worked in the area of environmental education, starting in the Children and Youth Library as coordinator of the Environmental Room “Greta Park”.In 2017 I participated in the coral reef monitoring carried out by Reef Check. After my work at the Children’s Library, in 2018, I joined as a volunteer and then as an operations assistant, to the Deep Green Foundation in Boca Chica where I worked with important marine ecosystems such as phanerogams and coral meadows, also participating in the development of environmental education activities, monitoring and data collection of the specimens of the mangrove restoration carried out by that foundation.  I am currently working as a junior researcher, specialized in marine resources for Fundación Propagas.


Valeriana Chikoti-Bandua Estes

Former refugee from the Republic of Angola. Diversity & Racial Equity Strategist, Immigrant & Refugee Expert, Anti-blackness Interruptor, Workshop Facilitator, Tedx Speaker

Born in Zambia and at 3 years old subsequently raised in Papua New Guinea where she began the beginning of a lifelong journey of championing marginalized communities. Supporting Immigrant and refugee populations and interrupting anti-blackness.

Racial Equity, Interrupting anti-Blackness and centering Black Immigrant and refugee voices is not just a trend for her, it’s a calling that has led her to speak, to write to contribute, to host and facilitate conversations and be the lead in many spaces that have been very inequitable.

As a result Valeriana has been carving out a distinct path, that is centering on dismantling, decolonizing and identifying much needed strategies and tools for Individuals, Non-Profit Executive Directors and Board members, Businesses and Corporations to use in their quest to interrupt anti-Blackness and create equitable hiring practices and environments that center equity for all staff.