The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO has appointed three new members to its UNESCO Aotearoa Youth Leaders group. They are Kaya Freeman, Saeyavan Sitsabesan and Hinauri Apa-Fepulea'i.
Kaya currently works as a senior advisor in climate change strategic policy for central government, and has focused her career on combatting climate change, embedding sustainable practices into our communities, and building a society that enables people and nature to thrive.
Kaya has lived around the world and feels a strong connection to many peoples and lands and is dedicated to finding pathways for peace and prosperity for her scattered community. Her desire for unity and cooperation resonates strongly with UNESCO's aims to use education and evidence to enable genuine, long-lasting peace.
Kaya is committed to caring for the planet to ensure a viable and sustainable environment for future generations. She spends every spare moment in nature, sailing, kayaking and mountain climbing.
Saeyavan is passionate about making a positive impact on the lives of his community, no matter how small that difference might be, so long as it's positive.
Having grown up in the 21st century, Saeyavan is all too aware of the havoc that continued environmental degradation has and will wreck on our livelihoods. He is keen on addressing some of the systematic human-centred blockages inhibiting a path to a more sustainable future.
Saeyavan strongly believes that the best decisions are made by, for and from the communities they impact.
He looks to leverage his experience, as a public servant and management consultant, to engage and empower a diverse range of stakeholders as a UNESCO Aotearoa Youth leader and shape a brighter future for all.
Hinauri is a Samoan-New Zealander descending from the villages of Moata'a, Faleasiu and Saleaula in Samoa as well as the Fitzgerald clan from Ireland. She works as a graduate policy analyst at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is interested in the ways international events can affect local communities in Aotearoa.
As a Pacific Climate Warrior, Hinauri is passionate about climate justice and amplifying the voices of frontline communities who are most affected by climate change.
"My involvement in Pacific Climate Warriors has allowed me to understand the power in youth voices and how our unique perspectives of the world can be used for positive change."
The group also has a new Special Advisor Youth with Adriana Bird taking over from Sabrina Manū. As Special Advisor Youth, Adriana will attend all National Commission meetings and provide advice to the National Commission on how to engage young people in UNESCO’s work programmes.
Rounding off our 2024 group of UNESCO Aotearoa Youth Leaders is Isaac Morunga, who joined the group in 2023.