GOING GLOBAL: Edgecumbe College head girl Samantha Burr will travel to the United States for an annual leadership conference with other young leaders around the world. Photo Troy Baker D8215-15

AN Edgecumbe College head student will join other young leaders from around the globe for an extraordinary opportunity later this year.

Head girl Samantha Burr has been invited to attend the Global Young Leaders Conference (GYLC), being held in the United States in July.

The conference, dubbed as world experiences for 21st century leaders, is an opportunity for Samantha to gain a global perspective, along with 55 other young leaders.

She will spend 10 days at Washington DC and New York where she will visit international embassies, participate in workshops on global issues, and hone the communication, decision making and negotiation skills needed for a 21st century leader.

Edgecumbe College principal Louw Olivier nominated Samantha for the conference.
Samantha said her nomination and application was one of six from New Zealand schools.

As a result, she is the only student from New Zealand attending.

“My acceptance letter says I’m the only one from New Zealand going. I literally had to read that part twice,” she said.

While in Washington DC, Samantha will visit the Lincoln, Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans and World War II memorials, Smithsonian Institute and the Holocaust Museum.

In New York City, Samantha will taste the culture of Chinatown, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), experience bustling Times Square, and take a dinner cruise on the New York Harbour, where she will catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.

In the past, students have received a briefing on diplomacy from subject matter experts at the United States Department of State in Washington DC and been able to witness diplomacy at work, first hand at the international embassies.

Students have also been able to step into the world’s home of international peacekeeping at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

Samantha knows the conference is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Ever since year 9, I have always been given leadership opportunities and been to different courses to build leadership skills,” she said.

“When I first started college, I was too scared to even talk. Now I am the head girl at school.”

Samantha is looking forward to the different site visits, interacting with leaders and the opportunity to experience real world simulations, such as debates.

“I am nervous about the debates. In groups we will debate with other groups on world issues.”

The students will act as diplomats representing various countries on international commissions.

Samantha said they would draft policy proposals, debate how to mobilise efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, pass resolutions and adopt plans of action.

The conference is self-funded, and Samantha will fundraise close to $10,000 for the trip.