Youth leaders at Festival for the Future

From Friday 26 July to Sunday 28 July, our UNESCO Aotearoa Youth Leaders took part in Festival for the Future in Wellington. Raven Maeder reports back.

Raven Maeder (left) and Nola Smart at the Youth Leaders’ stand.

Festival for the Future saw over 1200 delegates from around Aotearoa, and Asia-Pacific, gather in Wellington for a weekend featuring a diverse range of inspirational speakers – including Stacey Morrison, Takunda Muzondiwa, Sophie Handford, Guled Mire, Emily Muli, the Hon Grant Robertson, Chris Gallavin and more. There were future focussed panels and hands-on workshops, as well as a ‘marketplace’ for great ideas featuring many innovative organisations.

The Youth Leaders represented the National Commission and the UNESCO Aotearoa Youth Leaders’ work through an interactive stall in the ‘marketplace’, which allowed them to meet and engage with hundreds of youth, community leaders and change-makers from around the country. We saw this as an important opportunity to build connections, particularly with young people, many of whom are already leaders in their communities, and to hear from them about what they are passionate about and figure out how this can be reflected in and supported by the National Commission’s work in Aotearoa.

It was an exceptionally inspirational weekend, and very humbling for the Youth Leaders to see the incredible work being done in communities around Aotearoa to tackle the big issues of our time and care for people and the planet. The Youth Leaders now have an amazing number of new connections with change-makers across the country, and look forward to figuring out how these relationships can be fostered into the future.