From improving energy access to grappling with climate change, the most pressing problems today are global. In June, 40 future leaders from 15 different countries travelled to St. Petersburg, Russia to learn techniques and a new way of thinking to help them address these problems.

This was part of the roll-out of NXplorers, Shell’s global education programme, in Russia. A highly interactive NXplorers workshop was held at the World Petroleum Council Youth Forum, an event for young professionals and students.

NXplorers uses an approach rooted in systems thinking that focuses on the way components of a system relate. Participants learn to take a systemic approach to solving problems, enabling them to see the bigger picture and grasp complex issues.

“As a society, we need to continue to grow and nurture future generations who will make a big difference in solving the challenges we have in front of us. We need to encourage collaboration and equip young people with the skills and tools to help develop sustainable solutions,” says Harry Brekelmans, Shell's Projects and Technology director, who originally conceived the NXplorers programme.

Students huddled round tables in groups deliberately chosen to be as geographically diverse as possible. Then, groups had to decide on a problem to address that affected everyone at the table.

“We had a very unique opportunity to challenge something that’s close to my heart,” says one participant from the USA. “We had an idea of how to deal with poor waste management in the consumer and industrial space.”

Students developed practical ideas to tackle the problems they came up with, including providing energy to remote areas and reducing pollution.


NXplorers is now active in 16 countries, from Egypt to Australia. And the students will use these techniques when they return to their own countries.

As one participant from Oman put it: “Changing the ideas of one percent [of people] can change or lead to a change in the country itself."

For more information

NXplorers is a Shell education initiative. To find out more, visit the programme's website.


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