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A summary of the main themes from the Youth Panel discussion at the Step up to the World | Tū maia ki te Ao forum 2023.

On day 3 of the forum, Angela Davis, Director of Strategy at the Centres of Asia Pacific Excellence, led a discussion on global citizenship education from a youth panel perspective.

Panel members Kate Falloon, Lupesina Koro, Sophie Handford and Caeden Tipler spoke from the heart about a range of issues that young people face in relation to global citizenship. A summary of their main points follows.

Local and Global Connection

Lupesina emphasised the idea that an understanding of global citizenship starts at the small and focussed local level. Knowing one's place in the world and recognizing the potential impact one can have is crucial. This global identity strengthens young people’s sense of self and belonging within their local and global communities. 

Community Service and Responsibility

Lupesina also spoke about the privilege of serving one's community. In her view, caring for something larger than yourself and realising the positive impact you can have are fundamental aspects of being a global citizen. This includes the importance of education in understanding different perspectives and kaupapa and developing empathy.

In an Instagram post, Caeden Tipler talks about the importance of supporting the Make it 16 petition to lower the voting age in Aotearoa New Zealand.

@makeit16nz Instagram account

Youth Empowerment and Voices

Kate advocated for the importance of people with power and authority, particularly in schools, to listen to the voices of young people. She noted that negative perspectives are often taken on global issues in education. Instead, she encouraged taking a positive approach to addressing global issues, acknowledging the risk of developing a "might as well not try" mindset in young people. Kate suggested taking a positive approach to global issues by acknowledging how far society has come and focusing on what contributions can be made. Positive framing and acknowledging progress can help to alleviate feelings of helplessness in the face of global problems.

Environmental Responsibility

Sophie discussed her intrinsic obligation to the whenua. She emphasised the importance of speaking truthfully about global issues, acknowledging complex feelings, and resisting the feelings of being overwhelmed that wealthy and powerful exploiters may use to maintain the status quo. 

Empowerment through Social Media

Lupesina and Caeden talked about digital tools as both a good tool and a great weapon. Caeden highlighted the power of empowering people to vote and the role of social media in connecting individuals. For instance, they were drawn to be involved in the Make it 16 programme through a post they saw on Instagram. Digital tools, including social media, are seen as powerful tools for breaking down silos and engaging with diverse perspectives. Such tools also negate geographical barriers but young people have to make choices about what to spread and what not to share. 

Social media is easily accessbile to millions of people worldwide on a range of platforms


Inclusivity and Acknowledging Complexities

Sophie and Caeden both touched upon the importance of inclusivity. Sophie emphasised the need for everyone across the country to have a voice and Caeden mentioned the negative health outcomes that can occur when individuals feel pressured to be the sole solution to a problem. They both agreed that representation is important for young people and that many more youth have the potential to sit on similar panels and share their voices.


Global problems can’t be ignored. How can you explore potentially overwhelming global issues with young people in a way that highlights successes and opportunities?

What opportunities does your school provide for young people’s voices to be heard by their peers and/or the wider community?

Does your school or kura ban cell phones and/or access to social media? What do young people in your community have to say about this?

Useful links

You can connect with the panel members on LinkedIn: 

View the full panel recording on YouTube: click here to view

Find out more about Make it 16, a campaign to lower the voting age to 16: click here to view

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