Kayla Soren is the Founder and Executive Director of the International Student Environmental Coalition (ISEC), an organization that engages 30 countries and thousands of youth in environmental activism. ISEC provides organizational power and resources to empower students anywhere in the world to make a change.
She came up with the idea in summer 2015 at the Ben Franklin Transatlantic Program, a program by the United States State Department that brings together 10 Americans and 35 Europeans to study diplomacy and social entrepreneurship. Seeing the impact of cross-cultural connections, she was inspired to develop a global solution to the feeling of helplessness among youth in minimizing climate change. Throughout high school, Kayla was empowered by the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition to become an environmental activist. She realized that she could bring Kentucky’s model to the international stage. Rather than creating the organization from only her own ideas, she wanted a global perspective from the beginning. She spent the rest of 2015 planning a conference to unite young environmentalists from around the world to create ISEC. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, twenty young environmentalists from six countries convened in Cologne, Germany and created ISEC in August 2016. In one year, ISEC has accumulated over 500 active members and physically engaged over 15,000 young people in their campaigns.
Kayla was named a Local Pathways Fellow by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a Global Champion for Change by UN Women. She is currently a sophomore at the University of Southern California studying International Relations and Environmental Studies.