Voices of the Future to be livestreamed

05 Nov, 2021
Jacinda Ardern and Tracy Han
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Tracy Han

Participants in this week’s APEC Voices of the Future 2021 summit will hear from an impressive line-up of speakers including YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, APEC Secretariat Executive Director Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy for Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake, Al Jazeera correspondent Wayne Hay and New Zealand’s first University Director of Diversity, AUT’s Professor Edwina Pio.

The programme will also feature a range of young speakers from business, politics, academia and youth movements, bringing their distinctive perspectives to the issues.

The annual Voices of the Future event brings together 18 to 24-year-olds from across the APEC region to discuss the big issues facing the world and have their voices heard by APEC leaders. The AUT-hosted event is on November 9 and 10 and is part of APEC Leaders’ Week, the culmination of New Zealand’s hosting of APEC 2021.

Voices of the Future will be livestreamed free and people can register on Facebook or LinkedIn to watch all the action.

This year’s event has a record number of APEC economies attending, generating the largest turn-out in the event’s 23-year history. Delegates will hear from speakers on the event’s four key themes - International Co-operation to Combat COVID-19, The Digital Future, A Greener Future, and A Future for All.

At the end of the event, the delegates will present their 2021 Youth Declaration to the Chair of APEC, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

As well as hosting and coordinating the virtual event, AUT is also represented by academics and alumni. Director of Diversity Professor Edwina Pio will be speaking during the ‘Future for All’ section.  Professor Jarrod Haar and Dr Jessica Vredenburg from the Faculty of Business are involved in a session on ‘Business in the APEC’ region.

AUT alumna Tracy Han, who was a New Zealand Voices of the Future delegate in Da Nang, Vietnam, in 2017, leads the APEC NZ Voices Alumni Working Group and is co-facilitating the “future for all” section of this year’s Youth Declaration.

“The Voices experience made me a whole lot more confident and open to sharing my voice. As a young person, it’s really important to put yourself out there and take opportunities and say what you have to say,” says Tracy, who has a conjoint Bachelor of Arts and Business degree from AUT, majoring in International Studies, and Human Resources Management and Employment Relations. She warmly acknowledges the support she received from AUT staff Jacklyn Lim and Lian-Hong Brebner during her time at AUT.

Asked what she got out of the Voices experience, she says: “So much! The networking, interactions with government and business leaders through the APEC Voices Youth Forum and attending the APEC CEO Summit. Exposure to APEC and the key issues, getting to unpack those important issues and engage in valuable dialogue. The opportunity to meet the Prime Minister (Jacinda Ardern) and have breakfast with the New Zealand delegation was also a very special moment.”

As a facilitator this time, Tracy is connecting with the new group of delegates and is looking forward to seeing how the event unfolds. “As it will be run virtually in the midst of a global pandemic, it will be an incredibly unique experience.”

And she says the work she did in Vietnam is still very relevant today. “The things I contributed, I still believe in today –– including making sure everyone has access to digital technologies and the ability to work in the future.”

The event is being coordinated by AUT International and AUT Events.

The Voices of the Future speaker line-up includes:

  • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki – Susan is CEO of YouTube, the world’s most popular digital video platform used by over two billion people across the globe to access information, share video, and shape culture. An early champion of online video who was instrumental in Google's 2006 acquisition of YouTube, Susan now oversees YouTube's content and business operations, engineering, and product development. Susan was named to Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2015, and “the most powerful woman on the internet.”
  • Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria - a former civil servant and trade negotiator in Malaysia, she is now based in Singapore where she heads the Secretariat that provides support for APEC’s 21 diverse member economies.
  • United Nations Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake – appointed in 2017 at the age of 26 by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Her role is to ensure young people have a voice at the UN. In 2019, Jayathma featured on Time’s “next 100 world leaders’ list.”
  • Emmy-nominated Al Jazeera Asia correspondent Wayne Hay – the former TVNZ journalist has been covering the Asia Pacific region for Al Jazeera for 15 years, reporting on everything from international summits to coups and natural disasters.
  • Secretary-General of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council Eduardo Pedrosa – an experienced international public policy and government affairs professional, Ed has more than 20 years’ experience working with APEC, ASEAN, and other regional bodies.
  • AUT Director of Diversity Professor Edwina Pio – the Fulbright alumna is New Zealand’s first and only Professor of Diversity. She is a Professor of Management in AUT’s Faculty of Business Economics and Law and is also a visiting professor at Boston College, USA and Cambridge University, UK. In 2019 Edwina was awarded a Royal Society medal – Te Rangi Hiroa Medal – for her work on intersectional diversity.
  • Regional Director of The Asia Foundation’s Environment Programmes Kim DeRidder – with 40 years’ leadership in the region, Kim now oversees programme development and implementation of all Foundation activities related to the environment, including climate change, natural resources management, green growth development, and disaster risk management.
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