Young leaders from the Pacific and Australia will come together for connection-building, leadership development and dialogue at the first ever Pacific Australian Emerging Leaders Summit starting on Saturday.
The four-day summit, organised by Micah Australia and the Pacific Conference of Churches, gathers emerging leaders aged 22 to 35 to discuss key development priorities for young people and their communities.
On Monday and Tuesday the summit will take place at the Australian Parliament and delegates will meet Australian MPs to share their experiences of critical development and foreign policy issues in the Pacific.
Attending the summit will be 34 delegates from 13 Pacific Nations, 13 delegates from diaspora communities in Australia, 12 delegates from First Nations communities in Australia and 32 other Australians.
Priority topics for discussion include climate change, education and youth unemployment, and improving access to water and sanitation, as well as self-determination and inclusion.
Delegate Taaitulagi Tuioti, a lawyer from Samoa, said the summit provides a great opportunity for emerging leaders to develop relationships and forge strong ties.
“Our vision as a delegation is to see healthy environments, empowered young people, and flourishing communities across the Pacific region.
“By forging strong relationships with our counterparts across the Pacific we can help make this vision a reality.”
Delegate Biannca Manning, a First Nations young leader from Queensland, said the summit provided an important chance for Indigenous Australians to build partnerships with emerging Pacific leaders.
“As we look to build a resilient, healthy and prosperous Pacific, we must draw on the ancient wisdom of indigenous peoples from across the region.
“This includes Australia’s First Nations peoples who must have a seat at the table when engaging with counterparts and building partnerships.”
Micah National Director Matt Darvas said young people will play a vital role in the relationship between Australia and Pacific nations.
“With such a high proportion of young people in the region, it is important for countries like Australia to listen deeply to, and build on the strengths of, these young people.
“We believe that the stories, the creativity, and the civic participation of young people will be crucial in building a safer, and more just and sustainable future for our Pacific family.
“This is why the Pacific Australian Emerging Leaders Summit (PAELS) exists – to foster relationships between emerging leaders across Australia and the Pacific, and to build partnerships of mutual respect and trust between those leaders and key decision-makers in Australia and the region.”
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