By: Chloe Willetts
Joseph Mansell is young, but he has big dreams.
The ex-Paraparaumu College student, who wants to help third-world countries become self-sufficient, is now a step closer to his goal after being selected as head of the New Zealand Delegation to the United Nations Youth US Leadership Tour next year.
The 22 year old will take the world stage at at Harvard University on the tour.
UN Youth, a voluntary run and non-profit organisation, engages high-school and tertiary students in the most critical issues for their country and the international community.
The division hosts two conferences a year, with the goal of trying to solve problems of governance, foreign affairs and diplomacy.
As one of 14 students from around the country to be representing New Zealand at the world’s largest, oldest and most prestigious Model United Nations conference, Joseph will meet the biggest players in foreign affairs.
For 2018, the New Zealand delegation will visit San Francisco, Washington, Boston, New York and Hawaii, as well as spending time at the White House, congress and government departments including state and defence.
Currently studying at Canterbury University, Joseph wants to complete his Master of International Relations and Diplomacy next year.
His determination and passion follows an overseas trip in 2012, aged 17, when he spent a week volunteering in Tanzania.
The trip shaped Joseph’s choice of tertiary studies and was part of the reason he applied to attend the UN event.
“It was a shock coming from New Zealand and being confronted with that level of poverty. I really took it to heart.
“I was grateful we could help in a practical, physical way and get hands-on.
“We worked on a number of projects, including painting a classroom and building a concrete veranda to provide shelter.”
Closer to home, Joseph said, New Zealand has an incredibly important role to play in the Pacific.
“Climate change will hit the Pacific region hard in the coming decades.
“I’d like to see better cooperation between central and local governments with NGOs on the ground in the islands, as well as more input from world leaders like the European Union and the United Nations to bring about true change in these developing countries.
“This will help these emerging economies become more self-sufficient and be able to respond and adapt to the challenges issues like climate change bring.”
His three specific areas of interest include global security, conflict disarmament and enabling developing countries.
“I’d also like to do more travel in Southeast Asia, volunteering in orphanages or helping to work on conservation and environmental projects.”
He is looking forward to attending February’s event, which more than 3000 people from around the world will take part in.
The part he anticipates most is being given the profile of another nation to represent in the UN assembly, which allows participants a unique window into that country.
“I’m really looking forward to learning more about world politics from this completely different perspective, as well as hearing how other nations perceive New Zealand.
“It’ll be an eye-opening experience.”
Source: Kapiti News