Sam Allen at Trade Aid in Dunedin where she has been a
volunteer for four years. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Dunedin woman Sam Allen has been appointed as one of 12
members of Unesco New Zealand's Youth Reference Group.
The youth group was formed to advise Elizabeth Chan, Unesco
New Zealand's first special adviser on youth.
The special youth advisory role was established last year to
ensure the voices of young New Zealanders would be heard.
The 12 delegates came from varied backgrounds and each had
specific areas of expertise.
Ms Allen (21) was appointed women's issues adviser.
A University of Otago sociology and gender studies student,
she was also the women's representative for the Otago
University Students' Association (OUSA), and a member of
United Nations Women New Zealand.
She was also involved in the Women's Study Association and
National Council of Women Dunedin branch, and set up a
women's support group at the university.
Ms Allen said the Unesco position was an exciting opportunity
and she looked forward to the first meeting in Wellington,
where the group would discuss how they would work together.
Her work as the OUSA women's representative was invaluable,
An urgent area of concern she cited was violence against
women in New Zealand and the Pacific.
''Some of the problems come from how men are brought up.
There's an emphasis on not doing anything feminine - on not
crying and not acting like a girl - but there's nothing wrong
with being a girl,'' she said.
Each delegate holds the voluntary role for two years.
''If there's one thing I'd really like to tell people it's
how good it is to volunteer and get involved. I'm in lots of
groups and sometimes it seems that people are not very
engaged, but it's good to volunteer.''
- Steve Bolton.