1 August 2018

US students attend Kiwi youth leadership summit

Twenty-eight US students were in Christchurch and Wellington for a week-long youth leadership summit last week, and garnered significant coverage in local and international media.

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Hosted at the University of Canterbury and led by ENZ and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) students teamed up with the Student Volunteer Army to discuss student leadership and mobilisation.

Over five days, they heard from prominent speakers from across New Zealand’s business, government, university and non-profit sectors. Students also conducted a tree-planting project, held panel discussions and visited Government House in Wellington at the invitation of Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy.

In February, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) became the site of one of the deadliest school shootings US history. In the aftermath, MSD students mobilised to create a student-led ‘Never Again MSD’ organisation, and used their time in New Zealand to learn about the leadership of the Student Volunteer Army, which mobilised following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

ENZ’s Director for the Americas and Europe, Lisa Futschek, said the summit was an exceptional opportunity to raise the profile of New Zealand’s education system in the US, and to demonstrate how it equips young people to become independent leaders, thinkers and global citizens.

“The Summit was a great example of how international education can equip and inspire emerging global influencers and leaders.

“It was great to see New Zealand featured in high profile publications including the New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, along with major US television networks showcasing our country as a desirable international education destination, well placed to host aspiring student leaders.”

US student numbers in New Zealand grew seven percent from 2016 (2,852) to 2017 (3,050) – the majority at university level.

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