Ben Selected For United Nations Youth Tour

August 05, 2019 at 3:09 PM

As captain of the College Premier Debating team, Year 13 student, Ben Fraser is well skilled in the art of persuasive oratory, leading the charge on convincing others to his point of view. This is a skill that has served him well in his other area of great interest, social issues and local politics – for Ben is as articulate as many members of Parliament!

We are proud to hear that Ben has recently been selected as one of 22 young New Zealanders to participate in the United Nations Youth New Zealand Global Development Tour in January/February 2020. The tour will take in six countries to learn about different approaches that will help him serve the community more effectively. The delegation will visit the New Zealand permanent mission to the UN, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise as well as the OECD, UNESCO and UN headquarters while visiting New York, London, Paris, Rome, Vienna and Berlin!

Ben said he developed an interest in social issues during the course of Year 10. Back then, he thought he may pursue a career in communication and the media but through his interest in national news, he came to realise that he would rather ‘influence the news rather than report it.’

Since then he has become the Deputy Chair of the Howick Youth Council, a member of the Youth Board for ‘I am Hope’ – Mike King’s mental health organisation - and holds several roles in the Labour Party. He’s chair of its ‘southern hub,’ sit on its local government committee for Auckland, is secretary of the Pakuranga electorate committee and is a member of the party’s Auckland northern regional council.

Ben is most excited about how the tour will allow him to more effectively serve his community. He said, ‘I’m looking forward to learning how some of the largest organisations in the world are tackling pressing issues from climate change to urbanisation’

He is currently working across a wide variety of issues in East Auckland and New Zealand.

He has led a campaign to improve student representation in education through a petition to place a student on the board of NZQA. Earlier this year he presented to the Howick Local Board supporting the implementation of a T2 Lane on Pakuranga Road. Through his association with the Mike King project, he’s currently in the process of starting a mental health initiative aimed at friends of young people going through a hard time, suggesting how to create strong support networks for them.

Ben say his motivation stems from a self-awareness of his own privilege and a sense that he should utilise his own opportunities to try to give back and empower others. He says he identifies ‘smaller’ challenges where he recognises that he can focus on achievable goals.

Ben said, ‘For me, serving my community is massively important. Instead of seeking a part time job, I’ve dedicated my time to variety of causes including better mental health services, youth empowerment, improved public transport and a more effective education system.’

And as for the future? He plans to study Law and the Arts at The University of Auckland next year.  He recognises that a career in politics is not necessarily an easy one to break into, yet he definitely sees his future focussed on social issues for the betterment of all.

Congratulations on your selection, Ben! We’ll look forward to hearing back from Ben about his trip!

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