In November 2018, I was very fortunate and honored to participate the Voices of the Future in Papua New Guinea as a member of Japan delegation after a year-long anticipation. After coming back from the trip, still with the dreamy feeling from the wonderful experience I had, I do feel accomplished but even more I’m ignited and empowered to lead and support this world with everyone and to contribute to the inclusive society.
One of my goals of this conference is to learn how world leaders build trust in their relationships, as international relations and diplomacy are essentially all based on individual relations. During the stay, I was assigned to stay in the room with the three girls from Thailand. It was a little awkward in the beginning, but the three Thai girls made my stay a very enjoyable one. One of the girls had suggested in the beginning to only use English in the room. Later, I learned that she suggested it from her experience of staying at a dorm with Chinese roommates when she was studying in Hon Kong. Expanding your imagination and making an effort to understand others is essential in communication, and this thoughtfulness definitely brought us closer. Another story is from the Chinese delegation. On the first day of the program, the Chinese delegation invited to have dinner together. Sitting at the same table and having a delicious meal together was such a nice idea to bring us together. After learning about this idea and the open-hearted attitude from the Chinese delegation, we also started inviting other delegations to have dinner together to build relationship.
Another thing I learned is grit and boldness. During the one-week program, I was inspired by how other delegates are fighting for opportunities with a resilient mind despite some obstacles. They are not afraid of taking initiatives, and many are already taking specific actions to make a difference in the society. “Expect the big is coming to you is impossible. The youth needs to be disruptive” is the words I learned at the CEO summit. I was encouraged to be bold and not afraid of taking risks, and started taking small actions during the program. Especially, the honorable meetings we had to meet Prime Minister Abe, Mrs. Akie Abe and the ABAC leaders in Papua New Guinea gave us an opportunity to explain the vision we shared at VoF. It was meaningful for us to share the mental health issue in Japan and how delegates from other economies feel it is an urgent problem as well. I keenly felt how much the leaders have faith in the youth and made me realize how we are responsible for the future of the world. Getting empowered by everyone I met during the program, now I’m determined to take an initiative to improve the mental health condition for Japanese students.
Last but not least, staying in Papua New Guinea was a valuable experience as well. Thanks to all the people who supported our stay in Papua New Guinea, we had an amazing and comfortable experience in the country despite all the worries we had before. It was meaningful to visit the country on the verge of rapid economic development, and learning about the indigenous people, refugee, and poverty problem from the local people. This first-hand experience and the friendship I built have certainly made Papua New Guinea a special country to me, and I hope all the VoF delegates can keep collaborating with each other to contribute to the peaceful development of the country.
(Written by Kayuki Nakahara, 2nd Year, MPP/IP)