Empowering students to change the world

24 August 2017
Head and shoulders portrait of Anna
Anna Zam

A student leader at the University of Auckland is helping to empower the next generation to change the world.

Anna Zam, who is in her final year of an LLB/BA (Politics and International Relations), has been selected to help run a United Nations tour taking school students around the world to learn about global development.

As assistant director for the UN Youth Global Development Tour 2018, Anna is involved in planning the trip, shaping its educational vision, selecting the students and leading them while overseas.

Her role sees her working alongside two University of Auckland alumni, Danielle Ou (tour director) and Imogene Gibson (assistant director), in the UN tour directorship.

The trip will take 22 senior secondary students from across New Zealand to experience landmarks and institutions that have shaped the world, and to witness the UN’s work in a range of countries with a focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Anna says the students will visit global institutions including the UN headquarters in New York; the World Trade Organisation, International Red Cross and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva; the OECD and UNESCO in Paris; and a range of iconic landmarks and organisations in London, Berlin, Rome and Copenhagen.

They will also try their hand at solving world problems as part of a model United Nations Conference for high school students, hosted by Columbia University.

UN Youth’s aim is that the experience will equip the students to “think critically and constructively about global challenges, empowering them to create change”.

Anna supports this vision. “They’re going to come back with incredible ideas from all those cities and from seeing what people and organisations in those cities are doing,” she says.

“Hopefully they will bring that experience back and be really engaged in their local communities. The tour will be a really good opportunity for their professional development too.”

UN Youth group photo

By focusing on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the students will bring home expertise in a wide range of areas including the environment, health, food security, reducing inequalities and building sustainable communities.

The SDGs are made up of 17 goals which seek to address the world’s greatest challenges, such as extreme poverty, inequality and injustices, and climate change, by 2030.

Anna’s role with the Global Development Tour builds on her involvement with UN Youth events dating to her own time at secondary school.

Under a ‘Living Laboratory’ scholarship, she has been supporting the University’s Sustainability Office with a project to map research and teaching capabilities relating to the SDGs, and helping to coordinate activities for Sustainability Week in early October.

To learn more about these initiatives, contact the University’s Sustainability Office.