Whitney Eadon has been selected as a delegate to the University Scholars Leadership Symposium to be held in Thailand in August this year. The USLS is designed to give next-generation leaders an understanding of the world’s sustainable development challenges and to equip them with the knowledge and skills to kickstart meaningful initiatives.

“I will hear world-renowned speakers, have the chance to network with UN agencies, and spend a day actually doing something positive on a project in Bangkok,” Whitney explained. “We also have to dress in our national costume and give a short talk at a dinner. Because we do not have a national dress, I need to think carefully about who I am representing and what I will speak about.”

Getting there is part of the challenge.

“With airfares and registration, I need to find around $2000. I’d love some sponsorship if anyone would like to contribute.”

Usually the Symposium is only open to university students—Whitney’s sister attended as a uni student last year.

“That’s how I heard about it,” Whitney said, “and because I’m interested in humanitarian aid and international studies, I thought ‘why not apply?’ They can only say no. But they said yes!”

This year’s theme is: Inspire Confidence – Inspire Change.

Asked about where her interest in international issues might have come from, Whitney talked with great passion about a foreign aid trip she took with her Dad to the Solomon Islands in 2014.

“Dad had lived in the Solomons as a child, so it was a bit like going home for him. While there, I helped set up a kinder—which is still going—and I realised how much satisfaction such projects bring.

“I see this experience as a kind of work experience, to help me to decide if this is really the direction I want my life to take. And because it’s with the United Nations, it’s big. Over 1000 students are coming from 70 countries this year.”

Whitney believes the experience will help to increase her confidence as a public speaker and leader, and expand her world view.

“I hope to return better equipped to drive projects and inspire other students on Student Council. And, of course, I hope to make some new friends. It’s pretty cool to have friends all over the world.”

Given that Whitney may be one of the youngest people at the Symposium, it’s not surprising that her message to others is “Don’t be scared to go and try something new.”

If you would like to contribute financially to this experience, please contact Whitney: whit1453@icloud.com