Pacific Australian Emerging Leaders Summit

Micah Australia, partnering with its member agencies, the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) and the National Council of Churches Australia created the 2022 Pacific-Australian Young Leaders Summit (PAELS). This summit brought hopes to strengthen relations between young Pacific and Australian leaders with one another, politicians, public servants, diplomats, and civil society representatives.

It’s focus was on training and building the capacity of the young delegates to further develop their skills in civic participation, policy engagement, governance, and leadership. The summit also provided the chance to learn more about technical areas of development assistance and foreign policy, namely: climate change, self-determination, disaster response, economic recovery, disability inclusivity, gender equality, youth engagement, human rights, democratic norms and the building of
strong institutions

This was a significant opportunity for young Pacific leaders to interact and exchange views with Australian counterparts made up of Indigenous, Pacific diaspora and other Australian delegates, on key regional development issues.

The program was run over 4 days, from November 26 to November 29 2022.

Day 1 & 2 was at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture and focused on building relationship between the delegates through welcome ceremony, dialogue, presentations, cultural events and training.

Day 2 & 3 was spent in political engagement at the Australian Parliament House. Delegates were split into groups of 4 to undertake between 2-5 direct meetings with Australian MPs.

This summit engaged with young leaders to co-design the program, ensuring that it had a focus on issues that mattered most. It was also a great blessing to listen and learn to the wisdom especially from the Indigenous delegates.

Young leaders, throughout these 4 days, were given the opportunity to build their skills, knowledge and leadership and were also able to expose political and policy decision makers to views and voices of young leaders in the region.

Most importantly, the relationships and community built was a significant takeaway from this summit. There is great hope going forward among the delegates who we a part of this first Pacific Australian Emerging Leaders Summit and it is greatly encouraged to other young leaders across the church and our communities to take the opportunity to participate in future summits.

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Ofa Foiakau is the Youth/High School Ministry Lead and Field Officer (Central/West) within the PULSE team.

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