Convention unites student leaders

Convention unites student leaders Celebrating cultural diversity and representing St Paul's at the 2019 Asia Pacific Young Leaders Convention in Indonesia.

9 May 2019

Building friendships; discovering differences and similarities; and experiencing multinational teamwork – are just some of the things our students took away from the 2019 Asia Pacific Young Leaders Convention (APYLC).

In April, six Year 12 students – Ayla Hall, Amelia Hunt, Charlie Jackson, Ollie O’Meeghan, Hugo Shale, Ben Littlejohn – accompanied by teacher, Mr Garth Littlejohn, travelled to Indonesia to represent St Paul’s and New Zealand at the convention, which was held at BINUS School Serpong in Jakarta.

They were joined by delegates from China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore.

Under a theme of ‘embracing unity and valuing diversity’, the delegates worked in groups, made up of one delegate from each country. “We studied, shared and explored the topics of education, economy, human rights, urban planning, environment and technology – making contrasts within Jakarta and Indonesia and with our home countries,” says Ayla.

Excursions, led by local organisations, ranged from visiting schools of different social-economic levels, landfills, refugee centres and house building sites, where the students spent some time helping to teach English and assisting with the home building.

“Our eyes were opened by the poverty and a system that cannot provide the basics of an education for every child. The experience was heart wrenching and I felt very privileged by the opportunities we have at St Paul’s and in general.”

“My fellow delegates shared their different experiences and knowledge from their countries. When I contrasted what I know of New Zealand’s education system, I felt we should be both proud and grateful for what we have," says Ayla.

The sharing of information was complemented by cultural dances and skits, at which our students performed for their fellow delegates the School Haka.

At the end, each group presented their learnings. “It was a great way to reflect on four days of amazing experiences, of looking at some of the issues facing Indonesia and hearing about other countries’ issues and thinking about the different issues New Zealand faces," says Ayla.

“We were all challenged to keep developing our leadership skills, to think about the way we live, how we share the planet and how we can cooperate to address the contrasts we see, to become leaders for a future world that is the best it can be."