UN visit inspires students to be world leaders - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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UN visit inspires students to be world leaders

A career working for the United Nations is a step closer for three USC students, after they were selected to attend a UN forum for the world’s most promising young leaders.

Kate Whitaker, Raymart Walker and Michael Jefferies recently travelled to Thailand for the United Nations University Scholars Leadership Symposium, a week-long leadership development training program held at the UN’s Convention Centre in Bangkok.

To secure a place at the humanitarian conference, students had to demonstrate leadership ability and a commitment to effecting positive change across the globe.

“It was an incredible experience that has provided me with new global perspectives,” said Kate, who graduated from USC in April with a Bachelor of Business (Tourism, Leisure and Event Management) and is currently working in biological and sustainable agriculture on the Sunshine Coast.

“When you put more than 1000 like-minded, compassionate and determined people from 87 countries into the same room you get an energy that is like no other.

“Looking at issues on a global scale can be very daunting so I need to really focus on one area that tugs at my heart strings and for me that is environmental degradation.

“The biggest take-home message for me was that a single person really does have the power to make a difference if they have the courage, confidence and self-belief."

With an ultimate career goal to work with the United Nations Environment Program, Kate said the symposium provided a valuable opportunity to network with various UN agencies.

Education/Science Raymart, who has just returned to Australia after a semester at Japan’s Hokkaido University under a prestigious New Colombo Plan Scholarship, also hopes to work in an international organisation such as the UN and contribute to positive social change.

“The symposium was an incredible opportunity to represent USC and Australia and learn from experienced and accomplished leaders and renowned humanitarian workers,” he said.

“It helped to me to develop an interconnected network of people from around the world, enhance my personal leadership skills global perspectives and learn from successful leaders to become a change-maker,” he said.

Laws/Commerce student Michael had an expanded role at the conference, after being chosen as a delegate leader based on his extensive leadership roles at USC and former position as co-chairman of youth-led international refugee advocacy organisation World for Refugees.

Michael, who was recently named Australia's best law student, is currently completing his final semester of study as a New Colombo Plan scholar at the National University of Singapore before starting a graduate position in corporate law at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Sydney.

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