WTO Forum Welcomes JCU Student

JCU student Molly Mahlouzarides will attend the World Trade Organisation Public Forum in Switzerland from September 22-30, taking her diplomacy skills worldwide. 

RUBBING SHOULDERS: Molly Mahlouzarides (third from right) with Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and other Australian delegates

By Molly Mahlouzarides and Stine Pjaaten

Not only will the journey be 20-year-old Molly Mahlouzarides’ first taste of real international diplomacy, but it will also be her first chance to travel overseas.

Ms Mahlouzarides was chosen from over 100 applicants to be a part of the Global Voices World Trade Organisation (WTO) Australian Youth Delegation.

Selected as the JCU representative, she was flown to Canberra to meet Australia’s leaders on August 23-24.

The experience, sponsored by non-profit organisation Global Voices, allows young Australians to participate in international diplomacy.

The delegation members will undertake a research fellowship before travelling to the WTO Public Forum in Geneva with six students from different Australian universities.

Fascination for international politics

Ms Mahlouzarides is a third-year Bachelor of Law/Bachelor of Arts student majoring in Politics and International Relations.

She said her politics lecturers at JCU encouraged her to go for the Global Voices opportunity.

“I was also inspired by my close friend Alice Baldwin, an alumnus of Global Voices, who attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Hawaii last year,” Ms Mahlouzarides said.

“Having heard about her own exciting experiences firsthand, I couldn’t resist applying myself.”

Ms Mahlouzarides has been fascinated by international politics from a young age.

“My interest in international politics actually began at JCU back when I was a high school student at St Margaret Mary’s College, after participating in the university’s Young Diplomats Program in 2007,” she said.

I can’t believe that I now have the chance to see this kind of diplomacy, and I have no doubt the delegation will foster my continuing passion for politics,” she said.

Meeting ministers in Canberra

The first step of being part of the delegation involved travelling to Canberra in August for a two-day pre-departure briefing, where Ms Mahlouzarides had the chance to meet with ministers and diplomatic representatives.

MEETING MINISTERS: Molly Mahlouzarides with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott

“Over a couple of days, I got to discuss significant issues in sessions with Trade Minister Craig Emerson, Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, former Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd, Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr, our local member for Herbert, Ewen Jones, Swiss Ambassador Marcel Stutz and leading policy advisers from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT),” she said.

“It was incredible to meet each of these impressive people, to shake their hand and have them engage in such a meaningful dialogue about the issues we all share a passion for.

“Their time and support was absolutely invaluable.”

An amazing opportunity

The next phase of the experience for Ms Mahlouzarides will be to produce a research paper under the guidance ofGlobal Voices and JCU before travelling to the WTO Public Forum in Geneva, Switzerland.

The WTO is the only global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations and is run by WTO’s member governments. Its goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters and importers conduct their business.

Ms Mahlouzarides said once in Geneva she will benefit from the expertise of governmental figures, non-government organisations, academics and businesses participating in the forum.

“Needless to say, I am very excited about being a part of this delegation, which is an amazing opportunity for any Australian student, let alone for someone from a small regional university,” she said.

“I can only imagine what prospects the delegation will hold for my own career, and for those like me who are fortunate enough to participate in the future.

“I would hope that my involvement in the delegation convinces my peers that such global opportunities are within reach, even for geographically isolated North Queensland students.”

GENEVA BOUND: Molly Mahlouzarides (third from right) with Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and other Australian Delegates