Australia – ASEAN Youth Forum

Australia – ASEAN Youth Forum

On Wednesday 13 March, Glenunga International High School hosted the DFAT Australia’s Trade Through Time Australia – ASEAN Youth Forum. Approximately 65 students from 9 South Australian and Queensland schools attended the event, acting as delegates of the member countries and Australia.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) fundamentally aims to accelerate cultural, social and economic growth, promote regional stability among member states and engage in active collaboration on common interest matters. The ASEAN Youth Forum provides students with an opportunity to simulate a meeting between leaders from Australia and the ASEAN member countries, bringing to light issues that they, as nation are facing.

Mr Hamish Curry, Executive Director of Asia Education Foundation opened the event by encouraging the young trailblazers to “walk in the shoes of your country’s leader and aim to reach mutually agreeable solutions”. The Honourable Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment made an appearance to address the student delegates. Along with the Minister and for the first time in the history of the event, ambassadors from each of the ASEAN member countries were also in attendance. The Minister and Ambassadors spent time with the students, discussing their findings and posing for an odd photo or two.

Glenunga students from the International Mindedness Council were allocated Indonesia and Cambodia. Representing their country’s stance on regional trade with an opening position statement, the teams quickly got to work discussing the strengths and challenges of their nations.

Breaking away into committees made up of representatives from each nation, the student delegates discussed and formulated operative clauses on 1 of 3 topics – infrastructure trade, digital trade or skilled migration – and presented them back to the forum. Each country was then given the opportunity to vote on the individual clauses, culminating in a final Forum Declaration.

Glenunga student Jas Esvelt (year 10) said about the event “the ASEAN youth forum was such an incredible opportunity for Glenunga students to be a part of, prompting us to engage in deep thinking about the problems world leaders encounter. It also enabled us to get a glimpse of the diplomacy and problem solving skills required to collaborate and form effective solutions.”

GIHS student, Booker Deane-Freeman felt tremendously privileged to be part of the day.

“Meeting the Secretary Ambassador of Indonesia, and talking with a South Australian senator is a memory I won’t forget. The exercises taught me much about public speaking and international affairs. I am eagerly awaiting an opportunity to attend next year”, he exclaimed.

As a school, GIHS feels very fortunate to host this high profile event, after having attended for the first time in Sydney in 2018.

Article written by Christina Sorgini
Image supplied by and property of the Asia Education Foundation