Book a Tour Book a Tour Enrol Online Enrol Online Prospectus Prospectus

Over the second week of the Term 2 holidays, I had the privilege to be selected to attend UN Youth Australia’s National Conference in Perth, representing Victoria along with 60 other young people from across the country.

The conference, aimed to develop global thinkers and citizenship, ran under the theme “Our Globalized World” and spanned across six days, focusing on discussions around immigration, economic development in the digital age, the post-colonial world, and our role as young people within it. 

We had the opportunity to workshop these ideas at Edith Cowan University and develop formal understandings of legal and international policies regarding green technology and climate change, and held vigorous debates in model UNs on the topics of stolen artefacts in museums (including the likes of the Benin Bronzes, Rosetta Stone and Parthenon Marbles), the use of digital pollution with misinformation and propaganda, foreign direct investment, the chronology of capitalism and how to assist post-colonial countries in establishing autonomous and fair economic relationships. 

To our joy, we were able to meet and discuss these topics with Anne Aly, National Minister for Early Childhood Education and Youth, U.S Consulate Representatives, young leaders of Oaktree (a non-government organization focusing on international youth development), Australian Youth Representatives Lucy Stronach (2021) and Imogen Kane (2023) and received a personal digital address from Foreign Minister Penny Wong. Their declarative support for us and young Australians everywhere really gave me a sense of hope and excitement for the future recognition of young people and their contributions to the global and national stage. 

I was designated to represent Ukraine during the program, which entailed a lot of research and, frankly, gave me an opportunity to deepen my understanding not only of Ukrainian perspectives but of the intricate relationships across Europe and the Global North within the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Isabella representing Ukraine during the UN Youth Conference

The program alternated between the residence at Ern Halliday Camp and several CBD venues in Perth – for our smaller debates in the Develop Committee, Human Rights Councils and Economic and Social Council, we presided in the Western Australian Parliament House and held our General Assemblies (with all 64 countries) in a local hall. With a real emphasis on transparency and connection, all delegates had time to form incredible friendships and were welcomed to Wajuk country in a smoking ceremony. As well as practising my public speaking, research, and diplomatic skillsets, I really enjoyed sharing and learning from the experiences of the amazing young people around me. 

Ivanhoe Girls' is an incredible school, but I’m absolutely privileged to have the means to attend it – the National Conference meant I could meet people from all walks of life from every state; rural, regional, or metro like myself. It was inspiring to find common ground and delve into different ways of life from immigration, political and cultural perspectives – to take a listening position rather than purely speaking for myself. It’s something I find incredibly important that enhanced my experience with the camp – acknowledging areas to learn from others and their lives rather than secondary sources. 

As an eye-opening and empowering experience, I feel truly special to have been able to attend the conference and wish for others to witness the passions and wisdom of their peers as I’ve been able to do. I cannot overstate my gratitude to the UN Youth Australia Program, and to praise Ivanhoe Girls' for their provision of opportunities for students to get involved in UN Youth Victoria events – just a few months ago hosting the Crisis Point event at the School and soon to send teams off to the Evatt Diplomacy Competition. 

Events like these equip young women with the means to articulate their beliefs, stand up for themselves, form new friendships and instil confidence in their own capabilities as leaders and advocates for their passions. 

Year 12, Captain of Ashby