The next generation of leaders from New Zealand and the United States will gather in Christchurch 20-22 February to cast fresh thinking on the way the relationship between the two countries could develop in the future.
Around 20 university students from United States and New Zealand will participate in a Future Partners Forum, to run in conjunction with the fourth US NZ Partnership Forum - a high level gathering of government, business and community representatives from both countries who are meeting to discuss how the partnership between the two countries can be further developed to meet today’s global challenges.
Future Partners Forum facilitator, Therese Arseneau of the University of Canterbury, says the students will have a unique opportunity to dialogue with Partnership Forum delegates and present their own ideas to the Forum’s concluding session.
“We hope to be able to benefit from the vision and energy of these young people who will themselves be shaping the relationship in years to come. We want the Future Partners to be inspired and challenged and in turn, we'd like their presentation to the wider event to inspire and challenge the Partnership Forum delegates”.
NZ US Council Executive Director Stephen Jacobi echoed Dr Arseneau’s comments.
“This is a group of incredibly talented individuals. They have diverse backgrounds and interests, and we are excited about the prospect of fresh thinking around the relationship.”
Mr Jacobi said a major subject for discussion at the Partnership Forum was how to build on the Wellington Declaration signed during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit last year.
“I think that we can be sure some of these young minds will be important in rising to the challenge of working out what the Wellington Declaration might mean in practice”.
Participants in the Future Partners Forum have all been nominated by the US Embassy in New Zealand, by Fulbright New Zealand and by the NZ US Council.
The American students are all currently in New Zealand on Fulbright scholarships and Fulbright New Zealand has assisted in making the arrangements and providing funding for the Future Partners Forum.