GDT20: Rome Rome Rome Your Boat!! ⛵️

Gently downstream from London, our delegates wandered off the plane into Rome with much haste, as we quickly set off for our meeting at the World Food Programme. Our blog post for Rome is quite a lot shorter as we were only in Rome for two and a half days! 

ROY CHEN: City Landmarks and Non-Educational Meetings

The heritage of the city of Rome was something that all members of the delegation enjoyed. It’s amazing how they built the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum, just for the movie Gladiator starring Russell Crowe. But in all seriousness, the views of and from this ancient equivalent of a Football Stadium were awe-inspiring and thinking about all the history-defining events that took place in the soil of Palatine Hill and the Forum as we stood in it was truly a reflection for us on the brief flashes of time that we inhabit. 

They say that if you toss a coin backwards into the Trevi Fountain, your destiny will lead you back to Rome, as all roads tend to. But with just the right technique, I can verify this to be true as I managed to find my way back to this location after about a year since I was on a Choir Tour. Finally, the Vatican was a wonder to behold as we not only saw the HQ of the biggest religious organization in the world but a pleasantly surprising spotting of the CEO himself, Pope Francis. All in all, the delegation got time to appreciate the phrase “When in Rome”.

MAIA INGOE: Educational Meetings, and what’s next

No sooner had we stepped out of the plane onto Italian ground than were we rushing through our tight turnaround to get to our first and only meeting in Rome, with the World Food Programme (WFP). Being in the ancient city for the weekend meant we were lucky enough to squeeze in this meeting on the afternoon of our arrival. We went straight to the WFP HQ where we met with Frances, a kiwi communications Officer for the WFP. We talked about the world food programmes work in addressing world hunger, as well as their extensive work in climate action and data analysis. It was a meeting we all were looking forward to and it certainly answered many questions and gave us many more things to research. 

The next city on our agenda is the dreamy Vienna, capital of Austria. After an overnight train ride tonight we will have arrived in the city of musical legends such as Mozart and Beethoven, also known as the city of dreams thanks to psychotherapy. We are looking forward to meeting with Smart City Vienna and touring Aspern, both of which are sure to offer amazing insight into sustainable development, in particular Goal 13: Climate Action, our goal for Vienna.

GDT20: London Calling! ☎️

As our Global Development Tour continues, we experience more of the great cities on our itinerary. The second of which, London, was a new favourite for many of us, despite having just touched down after a fantastic week in New York City.

Our delegates once again have written a small excerpt on different aspects of our visit to London:

LIAM WILLIAMS: City Landmarks and Activities

Walking around London, there’s such a powerful and almost intimidating presence. All these massive and important buildings loom overhead, and you’re nothing more than ants to them. That’s the feeling I got as we went and saw merely some of the amazing landmarks located around the city.

Trafalgar Square was as iconic as always, with Nelson’s column standing proud and central. There was a buzz of awe throughout the delegation upon our arrival, and many of us couldn’t resist a quick pose in front of the fountain to add a picture to our Instagram. 

Walking to see Tower Bridge was another incredible feat of human architecture and craftsmanship, with the bridge spanning 244 metres across the Thames river. It overlooked the Tower of London and the location of some of Patrick’s infamous dad jokes. 

We went for a walk down past 10 Downing Street, and got to witness Big Ben’s construction work, as well as the incredible Westminster Abbey. This is where all the royals get married, and the classic gothic architecture really stands out where it sits alongside all the other buildings in Westminster. 

JACK KEARNS: Educational Meetings

Going to London was a fantastic opportunities with once in a lifetime meeting opportunities with amazing companies, think tanks, NGOs and how they have contributed to the suitable development goals.

Oxford VR is a groundbreaking company that is on the cutting edge of using virtual reality as a way to help cure and reduce phobias such as height and social anxiety. While a different meeting from the previous city. it was none the less equally valuable. 

Chatham House or the Royal Institute of International Affairs is a global policy think tank based in London that advises and researchers on issues. We were presented with various fellows at Chatham house, who each discussed various research projects into public policy and reports. These ranged from reducing meat consumption to energy efficient and sustainable laboratory in less developed countries. 

CoGo (Connecting Good) is a social enterprise that has developed an app to collate and create an easily accessible way for consumers to purchase from companies that align with their values. Going to the Google Innovation Hub, which houses the CoGo headquarters, was an amazing experience where we learnt the challenges of  start up and the pitfalls of accreditation and making sure that a product or service is truly what it says it is.

Overall these were fantastic meeting that offered great and differing insights into how the SDGS will hopefully be accomplished by 2030!

EADAOIN ROUGHAN: Non-educational activities

Our second stop London proved to be a favourite for many delegates! The hustle of London was very different to the hustle in New York which shocked many.

We were accompanied by Patrick, our trusty Global Development tour guide. He showed us the Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Parliament Square and the Buckingham Palace. We thought the dad jokes would stay in New York but boy, were we wrong.

During our free time delegates were able to visit the National Gallery, St Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare Globe and the National Gallery. We also had the opportunity to shop within the Borough markets, Camden Markets and Trafalgar square! A highlight for me was watching the Lion King musical at the Lyceum theatre and the masterchef competition in the hostel.

There were so many friendly people around London, especially the elderly couple we met at a Pret A Manger. Shout out to Anne and John for keeping us company as we waited for our sandwiches.

Overall, London was an amazing experience and I look forward to visiting London sometime soon!

HALA BAKARAT: What’s next for the tour?

So, what awaits us past the bustling city of London? Roma it is! From the rich historic sites to the…more rich historic sites, the delegates can’t wait to sink knee-deep in Roman history. We’ve all read about the gladiators, empires and the mechanisms of Ancient Rome so I can imagine it to be extremely surreal to see all those words over the years, come to life. Rome indicates the midway point of our tour, and although a bittersweet moment, the trip falls over the weekend so we manage to score ourselves some time to unwind and explore our surroundings. 

One exciting meeting does await us however, the World Food Programme! It is the worlds largest humanitarian organisation addressing SDG 2; zero hunger. Although the turn over really is a bit tight (as soon as we land on Roman soil, we will be heading to the meeting), we’re eager to see what incredible projects are being worked on and how we can aid in helping the shocking 821 million people who are undernourished. 

All that awaits us now is a 2.5 hour flight for our new adventures to begin. When in Rome, gdt shall take the throne !!!

GDT20: It’s Up to You, New York!

Our delegation has been having a wonderful time on our Global Development Tour. We are just about to jet off from London to experience Rome, and the rest of Europe. From some of our delegates in the meanwhile, however, is a collection of thoughts from our first leg of the trip, in New York.

Our delegation in New York also experienced American Model UN format with the prestigious Columbia Model UN and Exposition (CMUNCE). It was a highlight of New York for our team, and they made a lot of new friends.

For more, let’s hear it from some of the delegates themselves.

LIBBY LORD: City Highlights and Landmarks

Excitement was at an all time high landing New York, with delegates looking forward to experiencing such an iconic city firsthand. Our excitement was well-founded, with New York being a city of many highlights – from the Top of the Rock to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the UN Headquarters. 

From the Top of the Rockefeller Centre we got to see the city lights and take photos in front of landmarks such as the Empire State Building. This provided an exciting start to our time in New York. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was a surprising highlight for me (someone with limited art knowledge). The variety and size of the collection was astounding, giving us the opportunity to visit rooms ranging from an Egyptian temple to a Japanese garden. 

Naturally, the UN Headquarters was a much anticipated visit. The opportunity to see the General Assembly and Security Council with our own eyes was incredible. I found it hard to believe that we were in the very rooms where resolutions were made that changed the course of history. 

I appreciated the insight that the 9/11 museum provided. With artefacts ranging from clothing to voice recordings, the memorial helped me comprehend the reality of a tragedy that occurred long before we were able to comprehend it. 

SUJEAN IN: Non Educational Activities

For every city visited in the Global Development Tour, a UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) was assigned as a focal point. The SDG for the first stop of the tour, New York City, was SDG 17: partnership for the goals.

Fittingly, this first destination of our journey saw the establishment of friendships and a special group culture. Over the course of our week-long stay in the bustling metropolitan city, the delegation had the opportunity to immerse in various activities during free afternoons/evenings.

We were fortunate enough to have explored the iconic Times Square, watch Broadway shows, visit Dumbo in Brooklyn, and so much more. Many precious photos and golden memories were formed from the charismatic urban city.

An added experience in conjunction to completing these activities were the guided tours lead by Global Development Tour Director, Patrick. The delegation was hence able to extend their knowledge on the city and its landmarks. When on these ‘guided tours’, the entertaining commentary was always accompanied by a healthy dose of hilarious Dad jokes. This made the experiences gained a highlight for many delegates.

From the various culture-immersive activities, the delegation were able to obtain a personal perspective on NYC and also apply SDG 17 in real-life, as the group became a true whānau.

ADAM WHIBLEY: Educational Meetings

The delegation has been lucky to score meetings with a variety of esteemed organisations during our time here. First up was our meeting at UN women headquarters. It was refreshing and inspiring to have a young woman speaking to us from her position as a policy manager

We talked about the three main roles of UN women – the socially normative wing, the operative wing, and working towards equality within the wider UN. The talk was certainly engaging, and topical to our focus on the 2030 sustainable development goals set out by the UN. 

Next was a meeting with UNDESA – the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Our meeting centered around the affairs of indigenous peoples around the world, and the challenges that the UN faces trying to advocate for them while considering  the interests of governments and firms. 

Our final meeting was with the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the UN. A favorite among many of the delegates, this meeting focussed on how the mission works to translate domestic policies into international diplomacy, and how New Zealand works in partnership with countries that share many of our values. 

As representatives of New Zealand, we’ve been proud to share some of our culture with those we’ve been meeting with, thanking them for their time in both Te Reo and English. New York’s meetings have certainly set the bar high, and we are looking forward to our meetings in London and the rest of the tour.

AKIRA HURIWAI: What’s next for the tour

As we say goodbye to New York and hello to London, it is safe to say that the delegation will have our hands full in this action-packed, bustling European city. As a delegation we are extremely excited to be moving onto Stop 2 of our tour and into a new country with heaps of new sights and cultural experiences awaiting us.

From various educational meetings with NZ High Commission, CoGo, Grantham Institute, Royal Institute of International Affairs and Oxford VR to playing tourist visiting iconic sites such as Buckingham Palace, Westend Lion King Show, St Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare Globe Theatre and Borough Markets – London is providing a plethora of educational opportunities and experiences of a lifetime.

Our goal for London is SDG 9: Building resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. This goal is extremely relevant to New Zealand as we move into an era where climate change is a real threat and something which we will explore through meetings, discussions and sightseeing.

Overall London holds a lot of anticipation for this delegation and I cannot wait to see what we get up to and what we take away from this truly beautiful and energetic city.

Keep an eye out for our next blog post reviewing our London trip!

GDT 2020 Off to a Literal Flying Start!

Hello and welcome to the inaugural post of our GDT blog for 2020! We are quite literally off to a flying start, having just jetted 26 hours to get to our destination here in New York City!

22 of New Zealand’s youngest and most outstanding leaders have embarked on a month long educational tour of a lifetime, with 4 tertiary directors.

Over the next month, we will be bringing you their stories, as they jet through New York, London, Rome, Vienna, Berlin, Paris and San Francisco. 

We’re meeting some outstanding social enterprises, NGOs and agencies dedicated to tackling the challenges of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are an ambitious agenda to address key global injustices, and provide targets to help the world be a more sustainable place by 2020.

You’ll hear some insight into the meetings we undertake, as well as all of the fun activities we’ll be getting up to over the next few weeks.

Our first stop is New York City. Stay tuned to this blog as we bring to you our meetings with UN Women, the UN Permanent Indigenous Forum, and the NZ Embassy here.

From the delegation and our directors, we hope you are all having a restful start to the year, and hope you are looking forward to the tour as much as we are!!

Pictured below is the delegation just after lunch in New York’s financial district together.