Updated: Mar 22, 2020
From August 1st to August 7th 2018, I had the privilege to see the 9th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) come to life at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) in Bangkok, Thailand.
In the lead up to the USLS, I had spent many weeks ensuring that the delegates who had been selected to attend were equipped and ready for the full week. I also spent time preparing for my role as emcee and moderator of the event. It was an honour to be asked to speak once again at the USLS and at the United Nations. I had the responsibility of introducing and moderating question time for the following speakers:
· Simerjeet Singh
· Geraldine Cox
· David Begbie
· Tim Peters
· Francis Kong
· John Wood
My role also included, aiding in the facilitation of a parallel session run by UN-Women which was delivered by Ms. Hanny Cueva Beteta who is the Regional Adviser for Governance, Peace and Security in UN Women. I also led one of the Service Learning Days to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ayutthaya and Jirasart Witthaya School, which saw 80 delegates interacting with Thai students.
The 9th USLS had 1057 delegates present and 87 nationalities represented. The diversity in the room was astounding. As was the diversity amongst the Australian delegates with a significant proportion of the Australians representing both Australia and another country. Countries which included Syria, Scotland, Vietnam and the USA just to name a few. For more information regarding the 9th USLS, please click here to view a short video.
The week was exhausting but invaluable for the delegates. A repeated highlight for the delegates was the immense amount of networking time that provided the opportunity for new connections and friends to be made. I have received many messages post the USLS from delegates who are both thanking me for their USLS experience and also describing the change they are advocating for in their respective communities. It is immensely encouraging to see so many young people passionate about the Sustainable Development Goals and eager to work for the change they wish to see.
In conjunction to this, a personal highlight was being presented with the ‘Outstanding Intern Award’ by Regional Director of UNV Shalina Miah. This award was a cumulation of 7 months of hard work, immense learning and personal growth.
I have now returned back to Australia after spending over 200 days abroad. As my placement as a ‘Youth Advocate for the United Nations’ has come to a close, it has been great to reflect on what I have learnt, the friends I have made and the unique experiences I have had whilst living and working in Thailand.
I would like to thank everyone who has supported me this year in my goals and ambitions. I couldn’t have done it without you.
As I head back now to my studies and life in Australia, I am feeling excited for what is to come and grateful for what has passed.