16th March 2020
Last year, after a rigorous selection process, UN Youth New Zealand selected Libby along with another 21 of the brightest NZ secondary school students as delegates for a Global Development Tour. This month-long study tour of Europe and New York was to learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals in action.
Libby completed her schooling at Takapuna Grammar last year and shared her experience after being away on tour for all of January 2020. On tour, the Delegation met with policy-makers, NGOs, and other international agencies and institutions critical in the formation and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
As well as attending the prestigious Columbia Model United Nations Conference and Exposition these young adults visited the UK and other European cities including Vienna, Rome, Berlin and Paris which focussed on various sustainability goals:
- Oxford University where they learned how virtual reality is used to help with mental issues such as fear of heights
- Rome and the World Food Programme and food sustainability
- Vienna was a visit to the Atomic Energy Commission and learning how Vienna’s smart city initiatives are making cities more sustainable
- Berlin where the group were given insights about the UN refugee agency programmes. Libby told us that the average length of stay in a refugee camp is 17 years.
- Paris where the main experience there was to see how the OECD was meeting trade vs environmental values.
In addition to the learning part of the programme, Libby made good friends with the other delegates who all took advantage of the opportunities to be tourists with visits to the Borough Market, a West End show and hearing the Pope speak in Rome.
Libby saw how a diplomatic career can emerge from a range of initial educational and business experiences. She also acknowledged the support for the tour that she got from Devonport Rotary for this once in a lifetime experience.
A concluding remark was how fortuitous the timing of the tour was; in just avoiding the COVID-19 travel shutdowns.