Roma Poletti

Firstly, I would like to thank the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation for sponsoring this scholarship and giving people, like myself, the opportunity to attend such a prestigious conference.

As a younger person listening to the speakers, I really resonated with the young New Zealanders who spoke. All four of the speakers were inspiring and captivating to listen to. It was very interesting to get the different perspectives of each speaker and how they felt about their respective topics. Sarah Ather spoke so strongly about the pre and post March 15th terror attacks. She provided a new perspective of a Muslim woman which was incredible to listen to as being a kiwi woman I have not had the opportunity to understand the feelings of a Muslim woman in that dept.

Fili Fepulea’i-Tapua’I who spoke about climate change was also very powerful and persuasive but yet so calm. I was in awe of the way she spoke from the heart and it made me realise how much still needs to be done and the urgency of this. Hearing from her perspective about her homeland and the threat it is under made me feel incredibly sad that we letting slip such a beauty and special place.

Another speaker who I particularly enjoyed listening to and learning from was Prof. Mary Robinson who spoke about women and climate change. I thought it was very interesting her ideas about the gender injustice and climate change. She discussed that women have different roles in society, with less power and access to capital but yet they are often the ones who are expected to put the food on the table. So in many countries they are the ones who have to go further each day to find food and water, they are the ones that are expected to do more but don’t have the voice to make changes on the world stage. This is something I had not thought about and was a very powerful message for why women need to be given the opportunity to have their voices heard.

The conference was a please to attend virtually, I learnt a lot more than I have just expressed in this report and I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to open my mind and be a part of very important conversations.

Roma Poletti