Four young people from New Zealand will be among the 300 emerging young leaders from across the globe meeting in Sydney this week for the Oxfam International Youth Parliament 2004 (OIYP2004).
An initiative of Oxfam International, OIYP2004 will bring together the world's dynamic leaders from 113 countries - aged between 18 and 25 - to develop practical solutions for global issues of poverty, conflict and violence, which they will then put into action in their own countries and communities.
The young leaders will focus on a range of issues from promoting Indigenous rights to combating substance abuse and youth unemployment. The four New Zealanders will be among the 300 delegates attending the eight-day programme kicking off in the Sydney Town Hall.
OIYP2004 will bring together young leaders from countries as diverse as China, Jamaica, Sudan, Brazil, Iraq and the Solomon Islands as well as many from unrepresented nations, Indigenous communities and ethnic minorities.
The delegates will discuss and develop action plans for nine key areas: HIV/AIDS, education, peace-building, labour and employment, Indigenous rights, health, human rights, sustainable development and agriculture, and global youth culture.
"While the daily lives for young people in Shanghai, Suva and Sydney are worlds apart, these remarkable young leaders each share an ability to find positive ways of tackling major local and global challenges," said Barry Coates, Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand.
Mona Abdellatif, 22 years old, has travelled from her war-torn country of Sudan where she works for the Child Rights Institute. "Millions of my people continue to lose their lives because of ethnic conflict and civil war. By participating in OIYP2004, I will be better placed to disseminate peace-culture, provide human rights education, and work to unite my nation from ethnic rivalry."
"Young people are the most precious resource we have. I welcome the opportunity that OIYP gives youth to learn from each other, to make their voices heard, and to agree on common action," said Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations.