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Youth voices at APEC


New Zealand will host the international Voices of the Future youth conference as part of APEC this year.

APEC Voices New Zealand and Auckland University of Technology (AUT), with support from APEC New Zealand (part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade), will run the event online for young people from all 21 APEC economies during APEC Leaders Week in November.

“The Voices of the Future conference is an established part of the APEC calendar,” APEC Voices NZ chair David Ward says.

“It allows young people from across the region to discuss issues related to APEC’s agenda and to draft a Declaration which is delivered to APEC leaders.

“It’s fantastic that New Zealand will keep the event going this year, despite Covid restrictions, by hosting online.

“New Zealand last hosted the Voices of the Future conference in 1999.  Since then, over 100 young New Zealanders have had the opportunity to be part of APEC Leaders week and the APEC CEO Summit," Mr Ward says.

AUT Pro-Vice Chancellor International Guy Littlefair says hosting Voices of the Future aligns with the University’s commitment to put students at the centre of all endeavours.

“This event provides a unique opportunity for young people around the APEC region to explore the big issues of our time,” Mr Littlefair says.

“As New Zealand’s top-ranked university for International Outlook, AUT is delighted to support online and in-person opportunities for students to come together and engage with their international peers.”

APEC New Zealand Deputy Secretary Andrea Smith expresses government support for the event.

“Young people have a major stake in the decisions APEC takes today," she said.

“Voices of the Future allows young people to be part of APEC discussions that affect their future.

“This event, along with the APEC CEO Summit we are also hosting, demonstrates how APEC engages across our community and brings long-term benefits.”

- AUT