Hear from Charlie, a LearningPlanet Youth Fellow, and a committed Planetizen University community member.

Why are you part of the Planetizen University community? 

Photo of Charlie Haywood, a young Planetizen.

I’m shaped by my Cuban heritage, combined with living in Europe, Asia, and North America. Living internationally, I’ve grown up interacting with and embracing a variety of global cultures: I consider myself a planetizen.

A clear example is my Cuban grandfather. When he left during the revolution, he had no education and everything was taken away from him. He realised that the only thing in life that can’t be taken away is education, keeping education a close value to our family. My value for education turned into a passion, for which I’ve been running my education non-profit corporation. I’m a part of Planetizen University because my values of planetizenship and education align perfectly with the initiative!

What’s your experience been like with the Planetizen University? How do you contribute? 

Working with Planetizen University has been an amazing opportunity—I’ve met passionate changemakers like myself from around the world. The initiative has allowed me to both utilise my experience from Dream Catchers, and learn to co-design intergenerationally.

Within Planetizen University, I was in New York for the UN General Assembly, helping with our dedicated event. I continue by sharing testimonies about NY and UNGA, as well as meeting other LearningPlanet Youth Fellows and partner organisations in planning the next steps. These next steps include the Youth Design Challenge for the LearningPlanet Festival.

What have you learned about yourself or others?

Working on Planetizen University has made one thing glaringly obvious: reimagining education is an uphill battle that requires the combined efforts of many groups. Between the passionate community of Youth Fellows, partner organizations, UN officials, existing educational institutions, and more, there are a multitude of perspectives to consider when designing our university of the future. 

More than ever, Planetizen University has shown me firsthand how collaboration between individuals from all backgrounds is needed to actualise change. I’ve been applying this approach to my own endeavors and interest in intersecting sustainability and aerospace.

How do you see the future of education? How do you see your future?

My future vision for education is one where students have equitable opportunities that are easily accessible. I envision the future of education as an exploration process that fosters a student’s range of interests and ideas while providing them with the cognitive capabilities to create real, tangible change for the good of society.

I see my future as inseparable from my passion for education and the aerospace industry. My current initiatives have affirmed that real-world problems require collaboration from multiple perspectives and disciplines. I hope to incorporate cross-disciplinary problem-solving to address sustainability, education, and aerospace in the future mobility industry.

Meet Charlie

I’m an aviator. Ever since I flew our friend’s Red Stinson aircraft at age 10, I’ve loved flying and knew that I’d follow in my dad’s footsteps as an aspiring aerospace engineer. Moreover, I’m a sailor; I competitively sail on the national team in Hong Kong.

I’m also the founder of my non-profit organisation called Dream Catchers Education. I started the organisation in 2019 when I noticed that many of my friends were unsure of their pathways. I decided to interview industry professionals and post these interviews as YouTube videos. Now an international corporation, we’ve provided free SAT/STEM courses to 6000+ students with over 100 student and adult volunteers to help fundraise, tutor and curate online resources.