Networking with global leaders at APEC summit

When world leaders meet for international summits, most people only get to see a glimpse of the proceedings on television. But at this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Hawaii, one Macquarie student found herself right in the thick of the action.

Currently studying a double degree combining Law and Psychology, Merryn Cavenagh was representing Macquarie University as a member of Global Voices delegation – an organisation that aims to provide opportunities for young Australians to contribute to foreign policy both in Australia and abroad.

Merryn was selected through a competitive process and awarded a full scholarship to attend the summit by the Global Leadership Program (GLP).

Fellow Macquarie student Christ Wright was also selected by GLP and Global Voices to join Global Voices delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in South Africa.

The Global Voices delegation meet with Craig Emerson, Australian Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs.

Merryn says she has always been interested in foreign affairs and relished the opportunity to hear from some of the world’s most powerful and influential people at the Summit, including US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

It was Clinton’s speech on rights and economic potential of women that resonated most with Merryn.

“16 years later, it is no longer just a basic human rights issue; it is now just good economics”, she notes.

“It was such a great honour to meet the Secretary and shake her hand after such an inspirational speech.”

Merryn says the summit opened her eyes up to the amount of global opportunities available.

“It highlighted how global our world is now”, she says. “The global ‘village’ will only get smaller, as communication becomes easier and national boundaries to studying, living and working overseas become less obstructive”.

Download Merryn’s research report on the APEC Summit from the Global Voices website.