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June 3, 2013 | by  | in News |
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‘Fix Us, Rory!’ U.S. Begs McCourt

VUWSA President Rory McCourt has been chosen to attend a diplomatic youth exchange programme in the United States.

The prestigious Empowering Youth as Change Agents programme will run for two weeks in early June, and involves stays in New York, Washington and Cleveland. The programme, which is organised and funded by the State Department’s Office of Global Youth Issues, includes 12 young people chosen from around the world.

During the programme, McCourt will be meeting with experts from the private sector, government and academia. McCourt will be representing New Zealand, with other young delegates representing countries from Bangladesh to Swaziland.

McCourt was nominated by US Ambassador to New Zealand David Huebner, who invited his student advisors to answer what change they would make in the world if they could. Huebner believes exchanges like the Empowering Youth as Change Agents programme to be a “powerful mechanism for connecting and empowering future leaders”.

Huebner stated that although the responses he received were impressive, McCourt’s statement “did stand out” among the other responses.

“[Rory will] make excellent use of the opportunity and will return to New Zealand with fresh perspectives, new networks, a better sense of best practices in different countries, and even more confidence and enthusiasm,” Huebner said.

McCourt is excited to be part of the programme, stating that the experience will help him in his day job. As part of the programme, he will hear from Phillip Robinson, former President of the George Washington University Black Student Union and the wider student association, GWUSA.

“I’ll have the chance to see first-hand how youth movements, social enterprises and nonprofits grow and develop, and what lessons we can learn here in New Zealand, particularly for student associations,” he said.

“I’m keen to explore how student associations can broaden their appeal, embrace a diverse student body and respond to a globalised world.”

McCourt will take time after the junket to travel around the States, visiting students’ associations along the way.

In McCourt’s five-week absence, Vice-President (Academic) Sonya Clark will be acting VUWSA President.

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