Press Release – UNESCO
UNESCO New Zealand is delighted to announce the members of its first Youth Reference Group.
UNESCO New Zealand Youth Reference Group announced
12 September 2013
UNESCO New Zealand is delighted to announce the members of its first Youth Reference Group.
The group, made up of 12 young women and men, will provide a youth perspective on the work of UNESCO New Zealand, which aims to promote peace and social justice in New Zealand and the Pacific.
“I’m thrilled to have such an exceptional group of young people to help advise me and UNESCO New Zealand more generally,” says Elizabeth Chan, UNESCO New Zealand’s first Special Advisor Youth and Chair of the Youth Reference Group.
“There is a real breadth of expertise within this group, drawing experience from areas such as gender studies, environment issues, health, Māori and Pasifika, disaster relief, media and communications, development, and youth engagement.
“Youth is a priority group for UNESCO internationally and young people are critical stakeholders in all aspects of our work here in New Zealand. Their energy, motivation and vision are essential assets for positive social change.
“Each member is active in his and her own communities and beyond, and their collective ideas and skills will be a vital resource to support UNESCO New Zealand’s work.”
UNESCO New Zealand established the Special Advisor Youth role in November 2012 to ensure the voice of New Zealand youth reached across all areas of its work. The Special Advisor Youth role is a one-year term held by a young person, who sits as a non-voting member of the organisation’s Board of Commissioners. The Youth Reference Group will now support that role, by helping to bring together the diverse views of New Zealand youth.
The first meeting of the Youth Reference Group will be held in Wellington on Wednesday 18 September.
More information about the members of the Youth Reference Group
Elizabeth Chan, UNESCO New Zealand’s Special Advisor Youth and Chair of the Youth Reference Group.
Elizabeth has experience in many voluntary roles in the areas of youth empowerment, access to justice, and the advancement of women and refugees’ rights. She currently works as a judge’s clerk at the Supreme Court of New Zealand. She was recognised as one of three finalists for the Young New Zealander of the Year 2012. She served as National President of UN Youth New Zealand from 2011-2012 and now sits as a trustee of the organisation’s newly-established trust. She is also a founding member and Head of Lawyer Liaison of LawSpot. She is also active in the legal profession, as co-Deputy Convenor of the Wellington Young Lawyers’ Committee, where she has drafted submissions on legal issues affecting young lawyers and organised professional development opportunities for young lawyers. She is a member of the Wellington Women Lawyers’ Association and the Women in Law Committee (Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Law Society). She has also volunteered as a Volunteer Support Worker with the New Zealand Red Cross Refugee Services, helping with the resettlement of two refugee families in Auckland and Wellington.
Anton Smith from Auckland
Anton is keen to represent views of the diverse rangatahi he engages with to improve education, access to information, and recognition of the value of cultural diversity. He is a Senior Advocate at the Auckland University Students’ Association Advocacy Service (AUSA Advocacy) and has directed the pro bono “Equal Justice Project” at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Law. He has spent nearly six years volunteering for UN Youth New Zealand, including recent work to establish a globalisation study tour for young New Zealanders in South-East Asia, and he recently hosted a ‘diversity in organisations’ session for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services New Zealand Ltd.
Ariana Andrews from Auckland
Ariana is looking forward to the opportunity to contribute towards producing positive outcomes and enacting change, with a particular interest in the eradication of poverty.
She is involved in the University of Auckland Rotaray Club and this year received the Rotary Youth Leadership Award. She was sponsored by Newmarket Rotary to go on a week-long leadership programme to develop teamwork and communication skills.
Ariana is currently pursuing her interest in health and is in the third year of study towards a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree at The University of Auckland.
Ariana’s whakapapa is Waikato Tainui and Whakatōhea.
Barbara Salazar from Auckland
Barbara is particularly interested in the Culture programme of UNESCO, believing that strengthening the ties between cultures is the best way of attaining peace and reducing inequalities in New Zealand. She supports her mother’s non-profit organisation “Tuberculosis Resistente Peru” to provide support, information and relief to people who suffer from Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis (MDRTB) in Peru. She is also the Public Relations Coordinator for the Spanish Club at her university, helping to organise events of cultural exchange. Barbara is currently studying a Graduate Diploma in Arts, specialising in Economics at the University of Auckland.
Charlie Lin from Auckland
Charlie is keen to further contribute towards the building of social inclusion and cultural harmony in New Zealand. Charlie was elected as a member of Mayor Len Brown’s 23-member Auckland Youth Advisory Panel and is a Member of the North Shore Youth Council and is the Auckland Regional President for UN Youth. He is currently studying at the University of Auckland toward a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts conjoint; majoring in International Relations and English.
Genevieve Ng from Christchurch
Genevieve trained as a broadcast journalist and has worked extensively in television production. She has contributed to some of New Zealand’s most successful shows and is currently making a radio documentary on the Christchurch earthquake recovery. Genevieve is committed to development work, having been engaged in a range of non-profit initiatives. She is driven to increase public understanding of relations between Asia and New Zealand, as a member of Asia New Zealand Foundation’s Young Leaders Network. She is also involved with P3 Foundation, an organisation that seeks to reduce extreme poverty in the Asia-Pacific region.
Genevieve will also be representing New Zealand at the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris from 29 to 31 October 2013.
Jason Pemberton from Christchurch
As Co-Founder and General Manager of the Volunteer Army Foundation, Jason’s experiences have a breadth and depth unique for someone of his age. The past three years have empowered him with strategic insight into youth engagement, disaster preparedness, service learning and youth development. In 2012 he co-founded The Concert – a youth mobilisation campaign that engaged 8,000 predominantly young people to contribute 50,000 hours of voluntary time to Canterbury over a five-month period. Jason is an Ambassador for the UNESCO Youth Looking Beyond Disaster Forum, sits on the National Youth Panel for the New Zealand Red Cross, and was a University of Canterbury Community Engagement Award Recipient in 2010.
Kashka Tunstall from Hamilton
Kashka is a member of UN Youth and Canteen, has volunteered through Volunteer Waikato, undergone training with Refugee Services, and been engaged in social justice platforms such as the Legalise Love campaign and the living wage campaign. She is involved in Hamilton’s poetry and literature scene, contributing to different publications, hosting poetry events around the city and in festivals, and is currently working with Hamilton City Council to produce a series of poetry events for Hamilton’s youth. Kashka is studying toward a Bachelor of Media Arts (Communication) majoring in Journalism at WINTEC Communications Training, and is a Waikato Times/ Fairfax Media Reporter.
Elisabeth (Lisa) Tovey from the Fox Glacier
Lisa, currently a Partnerships Ranger with the Department of Conservation, was last year selected as the New Zealand representative to attend the youth programme for the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention closing celebrations in Kyoto, Japan. She has also been working with youth association Generate, through the Parks forum to facilitate a support network for youth working in the protected area management and recreation sector.
Mark Letham-Brake from Christchurch
Mark is a postgraduate student at the University of Canterbury and a UNESCO Youth Looking Beyond Disaster Ambassador.He was a volunteer within the Student Volunteer Army and New Zealand Red Cross during response to New Zealand’s 2010-11 Christchurch earthquakes and with the latter acted as a chauffeur for the Japanese Red Cross Society. Mark is currently preparing to submit a Master of Science thesis in Geology which has involved intercultural dialogue through scientific research in New Zealand, France, and Germany to better understand active processes in an active volcano. He has also been a demonstrator for undergraduate students in both laboratory and field-based Geology classes at the University of Canterbury.
Nive Sharat Chandran from Auckland
The two core areas of UNESCO that Nive is really interested in are the social and human sciences, along with culture. Nive comes from very strong human rights, feminist and positive youth development perspective. She has been Board Member and Vice President with the
YWCA Auckland, and Youth Advisor for the Shakti Legal Advocacy and Family Services Inc. Nive had an internship with the Office of Ethnic Affairs, where she helped organise an Ethnic Women’s Leadership Programme and was one of ten young people chosen to be part of a unique leadership programme. Nive is currently in her final semester of a Bachelor of Health Science degree at the University of Auckland.
Samantha Allen from Dunedin
Sam is the 2013 Women’s Representative for OUSA, in April attended the United Nations NZ Youth Declaration as co-facilitator for the Gender Focus Group, and received a British High Commission scholarship to represent the United Kingdom on the UN Development Programme Committee at the Asia-Pacific Model United Nations Conference. She is also a member of various groups, including UN Women NZ, Women’s Studies Association New Zealand, the National Council of Women Dunedin Branch and has helped set up a Women’s Support Group on campus and Youth for UN Women Dunedin. Sam is in her final year of Gender Studies and Sociology at the University of Otago. She is also doing first year law and has recently started learning Arabic.
Sophie Goulter from Wellington
Since early 2012 Sophie has been involved with P3 Foundation and represented P3 as a member of their delegation to the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Sophie is currently studying towards a Master of Development Studies at Victoria University of Wellington – her thesis is on the topic of transformative dialogue as a method of promoting peace and understanding among youth in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She will travel to the Middle East early next year to conduct fieldwork research, before continuing her study in Wellington.