UN visit inspires students to be world leaders

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Raymart Walker and Michael Jefferies at the United Nations Scholars Leadership Symposium in Thailand

A career working for the United Nations is a step closer for USC Business graduate Kate Whitaker after she was identified as a future global trailblazer.

Ms Whitaker, along with high-achieving USC students Raymart Walker and Michael Jefferies, was recently selected to attend the United Nations University Scholars Leadership Symposium for the world’s most promising young leaders.

“It was an incredible experience that has provided me with new global perspectives,” said Kate of the week-long leadership development training program held at UN’s Convention Centre in Bangkok earlier this month.

“When you put more than 1000 like-minded, compassionate and determined people from 87 countries into the same room you get an energy that is like no other,” the 23-year-old said.

“We learnt about global issues and steps that we can take to pave the way for a more purposeful and better future for all.”

To secure a place at the humanitarian conference, the USC students had to demonstrate leadership ability and a commitment to effecting positive change across the globe.

Kate, of Woombye, who graduated from USC in April with a Bachelor of Business (Tourism, Leisure and Event Management) and a faculty commendation for academic excellence, is currently working in biological and sustainable agriculture on the Sunshine Coast.

“The biggest take-home message for me was that a single person really does have the power to make a difference if they have the courage, confidence and self-belief,” she said.

“Looking at issues on a global scale can be very daunting so I need to really focus on one area that tugs at my heart strings and for me that is environmental degradation.

“I want to encourage others, including business, to be mindful of their daily habits and operations that impact upon our precious flora and fauna."

With an ultimate career goal to work with the United Nations Environment Program, Kate said the symposium provided a valuable opportunity to network with various UN agencies.

“As a stepping stone, I plan to undertake a Master in Sustainability Policy and Governance, and become a consultant for businesses looking to minimise their global footprint.”

Raymart Walker, of Sippy Downs, also hopes to work in an international organisation such as the UN and contribute to positive social change.

The Education/Science student from Sippy Downs is currently studying at Japan’s Hokkaido University under a prestigious New Colombo Plan Scholarship.

“The symposium was an incredible opportunity to represent USC and Australia and learn from experienced and accomplished leaders and renowned humanitarian workers,” he said.

“It helped to me to develop an interconnected network of people from around the world, enhance my personal leadership skills global perspectives and learn from successful leaders to become a change-maker,” he said.

Bachelor of Laws/Commerce student Michael Jefferies, of Buderim, had an expanded role at the conference.

He was chosen as a delegate leader based on his extensive leadership roles at USC and former position as co-chairman of youth-led international refugee advocacy organisation World for Refugees.

Michael is completing his final semester of study as a New Colombo Plan scholar at one of Singapore’s leading universities before starting a graduate position in corporate law at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Sydney.

Kate Whitaker

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