Mr. Sebastian Cortes
Position: Student, Yale-NUS College, Singapore
Sebastian was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. He attended high school in the United States where, as a migrant with little knowledge of the English language, he encountered the challenges integration to the new society. Finding difficulties taking advantage of the opportunities around him, he decided to develop an initiative of mentorship and educational support for students from minority groups like himself. Through this initiative, he was able to advocate and support the inclusion of migrants and speakers of other languages (ESOL) students. After graduation, he enrolled into Yale-NUS College in Singapore. Since then he has worked in rural Thailand, where he taught English for two months and developed English teaching curricula. Sebastian has also designed and implemented an educational initiative that uses partnerships with grassroots organizations to teach photography and storytelling techniques to migrant communities in two Latin American cities. He has worked with Afro-Ecuadorian youth in Quito, Ecuador, and with female victims of forced displacement in Bogota, Colombia. Sebastian continues to find ways to improve and understand the political, social and economic factors shaping the experiences of migrants around the world. He has volunteered for SOS Racism in Madrid, Spain, and continues to support and supervise his past initiatives. Sebastian believes that the use of informal education to strengthen identity processes within migrant communities is critical in encouraging these communities to actively engage in decision-making processes.