For a 20-year-old University of Otago BA student drawn to
international relations and environmental issues, heading to
the United Nations climate change conference in Warsaw this
month as an Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institute delegate is an
ideal way to see how it all works.
Saskia McCulloch was given clearance by the University of
Otago to sit her final examination in Poland, but would have
left the country today even if it had meant failing the paper
and making up the second of her two majors - Islamic studies
- next year.
Ms McCulloch said she had done the required work to graduate
with a political studies major either way, but was glad to
have clearance to complete her second major as well.
She liked the idea of a world where people cared about
important issues, and was excited to have the chance to see
how the UN functioned, she said.
She was not sure if the exposure to international politics
would make her an optimist or a realist, but she would be
forged by her experiences whichever way they took her, she
She was not focused on climbing any political ladders, and
would rather develop good policy behind the scenes, she said.
The Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institute is a non-government
organisation aimed at training and inspiring a new generation
of New Zealanders.
It was down to the youth delegates which stance they took, if
any, during their time at the conference, she said.
She decided she wanted to go to the conference while at the
Asia Pacific Model United Nations Conference in Wellington,
when the option was presented to her at an information day.
She is considering her options for next year, which include
working towards a Master of International Studies degree or
travelling abroad and starting a career somewhere.
The conference runs from November 11-22.
- Nick Bosma