Hi, my name is April Cunningham. I am currently studying my third year Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) degree. Earlier this year, I found out the exciting news that I had been selected as a Global Voices delegate. The scholarship took me on the trip of a lifetime to Paris, where I attended the OECD World Forum.
Applying for Global Voices
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be chosen for Global voices, but I am proud to say that I did. After procrastinating for some time, I applied for Global Voices knowing my inner passion is to elevate, celebrate and honour my people and provide a strong voice for them. I knew this was my chance. When I received the phone call that I had got Global voices, I was completely shocked, but at the same time I was very excited!
Pre-departure briefings Canberra (8-10 May 2018)
During my time down in Canberra, the Global Voices delegates and I were immersed in extremely high level, professional, formal discussions with expert leaders and policy makers. This was very empowering. The delegates and I met expert leaders such as Chris Richardson, who is one of Australia’s best-known economists. He delivered a wonderful power-point presentation which was very informative.
I enjoyed meeting Noel Campbell the Ambassador to Argentina. We spent the afternoon with him and two of his colleagues drinking high tea and eating light snacks. Noel discussed the advantages of being the Ambassador to Argentina and some issues affecting Argentina. Delegates had time to ask questions to Noel and his team that may have supported their own personal research. I particularly enjoyed listening to Rowena Thompson who had insights into Early Childhood development, an area I am currently studying. She spoke on current statistics from the OECD and what they are currently improving on. We toured around Parliament House with Harry Jenkins, which was enjoyable.
The 3 days spent in Canberra were very informative and provided me with an insight of leaders in their own particular area of expertise and their contributions to support our society on a local, state, national and particularly on a global scale especially for our economy. It was a very big eye opener and I thoroughly enjoyed this despite it being budget week.
Paris OECD delegation (27-1 June 2018)
My trip to Paris was on the next level; the best professional development experience I have been immersed in. These were leaders on a global scale and everywhere I stood there was a politician standing next to me. I had an intense conversation with a politician from South Africa who spoke on the issues of his country. This lunch conversation had us both in tears as we spoke of our struggles and issues affecting Indigenous people in our own countries.
The 3 days spent at the OECD, I was able to meet some amazing authors, prime ministers, ambassadors and the president. It felt great to be able to meet such successful, honourable and driven people. I took away real life knowledge and issues provided to me on a global platform. This opened up my eyes to the world and made me truly reflect on how I can help my own community.
Who did you meet at the OECD?
- Former Finish Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi, who is now Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD (pictured right)
- Australian Ambassador to the OECD and a permanent resident Brian Pontifex
- Andreas Scall, Global relations secretarian to OECD
- Andrew Wyckoff Director of Science, Information and Technology
- Chris McDonald, Policy Analyst, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMS’s, regions and cities
- French President Emmanuel Macron
Would you recommend this experience to others?
Absolutely! I highly recommend CQUniversity students apply. If you are passionate and feel you have a strong voice and want to build your own research paper, I would highly recommend it. You meet a handful of other wonderful university students representing their own universities who are driven and passionate students wanting to make a difference in the world!