4-H conference delegates urged to think global and act local

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JUL 19 2017


Drawing on her own experiences as a 4-H member, Krysta Harden called on delegates at the organization’s international summit to think global and act local so they can advance agriculture and help improve the world – starting with their own communities.

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Krysta Harden addresses the 500 delegates at the recent Global 4-H Network Summit in Ottawa.​

Youth delegates from 35 countries around the world gathered in Ottawa in mid-July to attend a global conference of 4-H, an international organization dedicated to building youth leaders.  4-H is one of the largest youth organizations in the world, with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), agriculture, healthy living and citizenship.

The 2017 Global 4-H Network Summit brought together some of today's brightest youth leaders from around the world to increase resources, share ideas and successes, grow the capacity of professionals and volunteer leaders, and develop solutions as community leaders and global citizens to improve the world.  The Ottawa conference was only the second international gathering for the organization. 

Krysta Harden, DuPont Vice President of Public Policy and Chief Sustainability Officer, spoke passionately at the summit about her journey in 4-H to the almost 500 youth, professionals and volunteer leaders in attendance. 

She talked about the many experiences in 4-H that helped to guide her throughout her career, including when she and her sister showed steers in competitions in rural Georgia.  She learned from setbacks, such as not being judged fairly because she was a girl.  Sometime later, she thanked the judge for helping to teach her an important lesson about equality and capability, and setting her on a life-long commitment to help women in agriculture.  For example, during her time as Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Krysta established a women's network.  

Krysta told the summit participants that they too can expect to have similar life experiences in 4-H that will set them on their own personal missions.  She also talked to the global audience about diversity and how valuing and respecting our differences "makes us stronger, makes us smarter and helps us to make wiser decisions."


 Many of the 4-H youth spoke with Krysta and had their photo taken with her following her speech.

After her remarks, Krysta asked the youth in the audience to volunteer stories about the community improvement projects they were going to undertake to make a difference when they returned home.  Some of the commitments included reducing food waste, assisting the homeless and helping to build sanitation facilities.  Krysta praised these efforts and encouraged all of the 4-H members to think global and act local.

"It doesn't have to take a lot of money or a big title," she explained.  "It just takes a willing heart. And don't let anyone say you can't do it."


Also attending the summit, with Krysta, were Henri Moore, Global Leader, DuPont Center of Philanthropy and Education (left), and Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO of the National 4-H Council based in Maryland.  Jennifer introduced Krysta at the event by recalling their first meeting when Krysta was Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

What is 4-H?

The Global 4-H Network believes the power to build a more sustainable future lies with today's youth.  4-H, founded in 1902, today has 7 million young people as members in 70 countries worldwide. 

4-H offers practical skill-building activities, meaningful leadership roles and partnerships with caring adult volunteers. These three elements create a unique experience that equips young people for success in the future. Youth who participate in 4-H programs typically attain higher educational achievement and are more likely to contribute to their communities.  These young leaders help to ensure global economic and political stability in the future.  They also work to create long-term solutions to strengthen communities and feed the world.

4-H Canada hosted the summit during Canada's 150th birthday celebrations.  In Canada, there are 1,900 4-H clubs, more than 24,000 members and over 7,400 adult volunteers.


DuPont and 4-H

In addition to being a supporting partner of the global summit, DuPont has contributed to 4-H for some time.  In Canada, for example, the DuPont Pioneer Canada Community Investment Fund has provided funding to 4-H for many years.  Contributions have also been made to fund various 4-H special projects, such as summer camps and local clubs.  DuPont Pioneer employees have also volunteered with 4-H clubs in a number of communities.


Krysta (fourth from the right) also met with some 4-H delegates from Ghana and Tanzania to learn about the activites they were conducting in their home communities.  Also participating in the meeting were Shannon Benner, CEO of 4H Canada (far left), Ali Aziz, DuPont Pioneer Canada Communications Manager (second from right), and Jennifer Christie, Event Chair of the Global 4-H Network


Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 12:00