By Jacki Molla (student, Government & International Relations and Law)
I recently received the news from Global Voices that I had been selected as Griffith University’s delegate for the Turkey Y20 summit. Life hasn’t been the same since.
The Youth 20 (Y20) is a youth summit that brings together young people from the G20 countries to discuss issues closely related to the topics of the G20 Leaders’ Summit. I will be one of five young people representing Australia at the summit, the major result of which will be adoption of the Final Communiqué, which will be presented to the G20 leader in November 2015.
It all started with an email: ‘Chance of a lifetime – Become a Delegate at the Y20 Turkey 2015 Summit in Istanbul!’ It’s one of the emails I would ordinarily dismiss as something far beyond my reach and flick past, but, luckily, I kept reading on. It sounded like a dream – a fully-funded scholarship and research fellowship to attend the Y20 Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. Never in my wildest dreams did I think would be selected, but I thought I had nothing to lose by applying. I would have been crazy not to at least try.
As all important things do, the application was due at a very inopportune time – the week I was moving house and settling back into my second year at Griffith. You can imagine my shock and excitement when the phone call came to tel me I had been selected to represent Griffith and Australia.
Participating in the Y20 Summit allows every delegate to achieve a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the G20 leaders. Even in the early stages of my research fellowship I have already begun to understand the complex difficulties involved in writing, debating, and implementing policy. Furthermore, this opportunity will give me the chance to not only broaden my knowledge of politics and law, but to put this knowledge into practice.
The G20 presidency is supported by a troika of the current, immediate past and future host countries – Turkey, Australia, and China, respectively – to ensure continuity. This means Australia is one of the premier members of the world’s premier economic forum, a role which carries much prestige.The Australian Y20 delegates therefore will have a unique insight and opportunity to ensure the issues in the 2014 G20 communiqué see continued relevance and implementation at this year’s summit.
I was raised by a single mother in a small rural town in New South Wales where things have never been easy financially. My mother is an amazingly selfless woman who made sure I never went without, but I had never been exposed to experiences such as this. Moving away to attend Griffith has really opened up my eyes to the amount of incredible opportunities available. I have always been passionate about international politics and cultures but I have never travelled further than Canberra simply because it’s never been financially possible. Global Voices and Griffith are giving me the opportunity to unite my passions for politics, justice, culture and travel in a way that will benefit my studies and future career. It’s just beyond my wildest dreams.
Global Voices is a non-profit organisation that endeavours to provide opportunities for young Australians to engage with international policy both at home and abroad. It does this through regular events and Research & Development opportunities at home, along with the coordination of youth delegations to important diplomatic forums abroad. The organisation, established in 2011, works in partnership with several Australian universities to bring these opportunities to their students.
Though I don’t leave for Turkey for another four months my life has already been changed for the better. The past month can only be described as an absolute whirlwind. Along with fourteen other student delegates and the Global Voices team I spent three jam-packed days in Canberra last month for pre-departure briefings, experiencing Canberra like an insider. This involved back-to-back meetings with ministers, shadow ministers, and academics, non-stop running around Parliament House, a UNAA dinner with Julie Bishop, and even a meeting with the Prime Minister himself. I’ve always been passionate about politics, domestically and internationally – I hardly ever miss Q&A, I closely follow all my favourite MPs on social media, and I would prefer Kitchen Cabinet over Keeping up with the Kardashians any day. I am a political ‘fan girl’, plain and simple. It’s hard to express just how surreal it is to be following a politician’s twitter feed one day and be discussing the G20 agenda in their office at Parliament House the next.
I strongly encourage all other Griffith students who share my passion for international politics to get involved with Global Voices’ future delegations. This experience has already been incredible and I can’t wait to represent Griffith University on the world stage in Turkey in August.