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Source: Massey University

The APEC Voices of the Future Summit took place online during November this year, with four students representing Massey University.

Massey student Mel Blackmore remembers growing up seeing snippets of the APEC Leaders’ Summit on television, but never thought she would she would have the opportunity to be part of the event.

The 21-year-old health science student was one of four Massey representatives who recently attended the APEC Voices of the Future (VOTF) online summit. The event brought together students from across New Zealand who have the potential to be the next generation of leaders. It allowed them to participate in a forum with young people from across the Asia-Pacific region, as well as interact with influential leaders.

Mel says it was a wonderful opportunity to hear and learn from experts and peers around the region.

This year’s VOTF summit was held as an online event due to lockdown, and covered issues including the impact of COVID-19, the digital future, climate change and sustainability, and socio-economic inclusion.

“This year’s VOTF event was challenging because of the online format. However, despite the digital barriers, it was wonderful to connect with like-minded people to contemplate the big issues facing the world today,” Mel says.

“I was keen to be present in the conversations around how the region is meant to navigate the challenges COVID-19 has brought globally and nationally to New Zealand. And I feel empowered that the APEC leaders are considering and conversing with us – youth!”

At a time when travel abroad is not possible, Massey’s Global Citizen programme is promoting opportunities for students to internationalise their learning. The APEC Voices of the Future 2021 Summit is an example of this, and was held concurrently with the APEC CEO Summit, which encourage active participation on issues and policies affecting the region. Students were also given full access to the CEO Summit.

For Mel, a highlight of the summit was hearing the different approaches countries are taking to combat COVID-19, as well as the keynote address given by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

“It was interesting to hear COVID-19 be discussed from a global perspective, not just a national one. Helen Clark was realistic and frank about the situation, which was actually quite refreshing to hear.”

The three other Massey students who attended APEC VOTF were Bachelor of Arts student Na’or Alfassi Berman, Master of Sport and Exercise student Sarah Blaikie, and Bachelor of Sport and Exercise student Jude Bell-White.

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