This year, with the help of QUT Business School, I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from Global Voices, ‘a not-for profit that identifies and develops the next generation of Australian leaders by providing practical experience in foreign policy and international relations.’ Central to my scholarship was the opportunity to publish my policy submission which focused on increasing youth voter engagement in Australia through the adoption of virtual reality technology. The foundation of my paper was to address the stigma of boredom and feeling of disenfranchisement experienced by many young Australian’s during the voting process, so they not only participate in elections but also make informed decisions.
Additionally, as a part of developing my paper, I was able to attend this year’s Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Forum in Paris. This process also involved a three-day pre-departure briefing in Canberra where we had meetings with various public officials in Parliament House and other organisations such as the United Nations. The theme of the OECD Forum this year was a ‘World in eMotion’, which focused on the adoption of artificial intelligence and the importance of understanding human emotions in a time of significant technological development. In compliment of this primary theme, there was also a range of sub-topics that emerged throughout the forum, some of which included populism, immigration, digital trade and my personal favourite which was the influence of China on the future of the international trade landscape.
Throughout the forum, I was pleasantly surprised at how many times my fellow students and I were asked for our opinion on certain topics, namely youth distrust in the media, and the amount of government officials from around the globe that wanted to meet with us. My most memorable meeting was with Brendan Berne, the Ambassador for Australia in France in his picturesque living quarters at the Australian Embassy, where he shared his insight into the importance of the French and Australian relationship.
Overall, the OECD forum and accompanying meetings I have experienced through the Global Voices Scholarship have been extremely enlightening. I am also grateful for having been given a platform where I can publish my ideas on a topic that I remain very passionate about, which is youth voter engagement in Australia. Thank you again to the QUT Business School and Global Voices for this amazing opportunity.