Having your views presented to leaders of the world’s largest economies is not something every 23-year-old can claim.
But UNSW Engineering Co-op scholar Laura Sacks will have that chance as a delegate at the Y20 Youth Summit – the official youth engagement platform of the G20 – in Istanbul, Turkey this week.
Laura is one of five Australian students selected to attend the summit, which aims to bring young people together to discuss issues closely related to the topics of the G20 Leaders' Summit.
“It is an invaluable opportunity to network with young people around the world and collaborate to find strategic solutions to global challenges affecting youth today,” says Laura, whose research focuses on innovation in the energy sector.
“The Summit will also provide the opportunity to learn more about the negotiation process as well as gain a deeper understanding of the culture and political views of other G20 youth delegates,” she says.
Laura is the recipient of the inaugural Co-op Global Policy Scholarship and is completing a Research Fellowship with Global Voices, the not-for-profit organisation that organised the Y20 Summit trip.
As part of the program, Laura attended a pre-briefing in Canberra with fellow Y20 delegates, which included a series of meetings with ministers and shadow ministers, senators and heads of government departments.
Kay Carey, Manager of the Co-op Program says the Global Policy Scholarship puts Co-op Program scholars in the middle of some of the world’s key global forums, providing the opportunity to contribute and share their experience.
“For future industry leaders, a global perspective and an appreciation of world issues and policy development will be fundamental skills,” says Carey.
The Co-op Program also works with Australia’s leading companies to build the professional soft skills of high achieving students, so they “hit the ground running’ when they graduate.
Laura has completed placements at Resmed, Snowy Hydro Ltd and James Hardie as part of her Co-op Program. She has also worked as a Strategy and Operations Analyst at Deloitte, and is the President of the Mechanical Engineering Society at UNSW.
Along with industry experience, the Program also incorporates leadership training and professional development opportunities.
“I hope that the diversity of my Engineering background and the experience I’ve gained through my Co-op internships will ensure that I can make a significant contribution at the G20 Youth Summit in Istanbul,” Laura says.
The major result of the Summit will be adoption of the Final Communique, which will be presented to the G20 leaders in November 2015.
“The fact that our views will be presented for discussion to the G20 leaders obviously adds substantial value to the contribution that youth delegates can make to address these challenges,” Laura says.