The new Chair of our Youth Reference Group is Danielle Newton. Danielle is a University of Auckland scholarship recipient and mentor, currently undertaking her third year of study in a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science Conjoint, double majoring in Politics and Sociology and Environmental Science and Geography.
Alongside her studies, Danielle is involved in a range of social justice organisations and youth networks. She was the winner of the District 16 (National) and International Recipient of the Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs Award in 2014, and facilitated the Social Development Focus Group in 2015 and Environment Focus Groups at the 2016 Aotearoa Youth Declaration Conference.
Danielle shared some thoughts with us about her new role.
What attracted you to the role?
My own passions and beliefs are in full alignment with the core values of UNESCO, with a particular interest in human and indigenous rights, gender equality, disaster risk reduction and education for sustainable development. I firmly believe that international scientific cooperation, integrated with indigenous, cultural frameworks, is key not only to engendering greater scientific and inter-cultural dialogue, but also to the development of global citizenship and building of more equitable and sustainable interactions between humans and the environment. I am wholly committed to building a long-term relationship with the NZ National Commission for UNESCO, actively creating pathways towards the peaceful and sustainable future we want for all people in our region.
What do you hope to bring to the role?
I hope that I can bring some dynamic enthusiasm and critical insight into the discussions of the National Commission, with the aim to be a driving force for change whilst always keeping in mind the core concerns of young people, both in New Zealand and globally.
What youth issues do you see as most important to address in New Zealand and in the world?
In my mind, the devastating environmental reality of today is so profoundly linked to the realities of growing social and gender inequality and the erosion of an empowering democracy, that I am committed to a mobilisation of our spiritual and political resources for transformative change on all of these fronts. Engaging young people for a sustainable future is therefore fundamental to promoting peace, intergenerational equity and the protection of nature.