Your Voice: Survey Results Revealed

30 11 2011

We asked and you told us! Here’s what you had to say when we asked you about your voices and how you use them.

• 65.2% of young people surveyed believe that they) have a voice in society today.
• However, 78.3% of young people surveyed believe that society does not listen youth voices
• 75.6% of the young people surveyed feel empowered to use their voice and make a difference.
• When others share their voices within society, 89.7% of young people surveyed feel empowered to use their own voices.
• The top three places that young people use their voices are:
o Home (70.3%)
o School (67.6%)
o Community Groups (51.4%)
• The top reason why young people use their voices is to generate support for issues they feel passionate about (81.3%).

Do you agree? Let us know by commenting!


Day 3 at APEC, Voices of the Future

13 11 2011

Apec Voices of the Future delegates meet Ambassador Kim Beazley

Another early start took us into the heart of what APEC is all about with a role observing a 7.30 am meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council’s Regional Economic Integration working group.

The working group is one of many business-oriented groups which seeks to make doing business in the Asia-Pacific region more straightforward. It seeks to assist trade and investment “at the border”, enhancing supply chain connectivity “across the border” and improving the business environment “behind the border”.

Before continuing it’s important to mention that APEC isn’t a compliance body, rather its 21 member economies have the option of being part of the regimes and programs established. Obviously the more economies involved in a particular reform, the more likely it is to deliver its intended change (particularly if the bigger economies sign up).

Two main themes came out of the working group’s discussions. Firstly their desire to break down chokes in the system. Those are blockages which, if removed, aid businesses to freely and successfully do business across the region, and secondly the evidence which shows that the Asia-Pacific’s service sectors require significant policy attention.

The first issue, chokes in the system, was based on a study by the Marshall School of Business out of the University of Southern California. The school have studied the challenges of doing business in the Asia-Pacific region and identified where chokes can be broken down. The need to eradicate red-tape; streamline labour and employment portability across the region; develop appropriate strategic infrastructure and develop more flexible finance options were among the key elements identified. It was interesting to observe these incredibly high level discussions and feel that we were witnessing decision making in action – decisions about how these things can be overcome.

The second notable issue was the need for sustained attention to be paid to the Asia Pacific’s service sector. There was a clear sentiment that service sectors have long been ignored by regional policy makers in favour of the heavy and primary industries. However, the working group’s members argued that with service sectors now the main employers in many developed countries, we need to look at how we can drive reforms in this area as well as the traditional foci on heavy industries. Interestingly evidence shows that investment in and development of an economy’s service sector brings more women into employment and helps economies out of poverty.

In the afternoon we had the privilege of meeting with Australian Ambassador to the USA, Hon Kim Beazley, more famous to Australians as long term Labor Opposition Leader. Our time with Ambassador Beazley was extended from 20 to 40 minutes, quite a coup for us. We spent time talking to the Ambassador about Australia’s role in APEC and defence in the region, but then as we got more relaxed we chatted about US and Australian politics and the current state of play in both countries. He was frank, down-to-earth and friendly – our time with him was definitely a highlight of the week thus far.

Inside Info from APEC delegates

10 11 2011

Aloha from the Australian APEC Voices of the Future delegation. It’s Day 2 and we now know the deeper meaning of that synonymous Hawai’an greeting. Aloha is made up of a compound of Hawai’ian words ‘face’ and ‘breath of life’, emphasising the deep connections the islanders wish to make with those they meet.

This fits the Hawai’ian people well. They exude authenticity. Always smiling, welcoming us to events and keen to share about the colourful history of the archipelago and its indigenous people.

Today an early start saw up have breakfast at 6.00 am and in the bus by 6.45 am to travel to the outskirts of Honolulu where the opening ceremony was held at Kamehameha International School. We were greeted by traditional singers chanting a welcome to us and placing grass necklaces around or nets, and we saw the school’s Glee club (yes just like the TV show!) perform. Later the state government, congresswoman and Honolulu’s mayor welcomed us and officially declared APEC Voice of Youth 2011 open.

Kamehameha School is an amazing place. It was left a legacy of land and finance by Hawai’i’s last queen which has now grown to a value of over $7 billion dollars! Only native Hawai’ian’s can attend the school and most do on generous scholarships. The students were proud of their school and spoke to us about their preservation of traditional practices, including the Hawai’ian language.

In the afternoon we have the privilege of attending a forum at the Asia-Pacific Centre of Security Studies. The guest speaker was Admiral Patrick Walsh, Commander of the Pacific Fleet. Admiral Walsh is one of the USA’s most highly credentialed military operators, with a history as a naval aviator flying for the navy’s elite Blue Angels.

Admiral Walsh spoke on security in the Asia Pacific zone and the (obviously difficult) task of ensuring the right balance of security between the major powers in the region. The Asia Pacific is a phenomenal trading block with the largest ports in the world and has been one of the great success stories of globalisation. One statement he made which we thought was particularly insightful was:

We don’t want to see the prosperity that brought us wealth now become the prosperity which brings fear and conflict to the region.

The Admiral saw his role as one where leadership blends high level management and diplomacy and from observing him in action we would have to say that intellect and courage figured heavily in the mix as well.

When asked the ‘how did you get where you are?’ question, he emphasised the importance of lifelong learning, imploring the young delegates to keep up with the ever-changing world. He said that over time we develop ‘blinders’ so have to stay in touch with what’s happening through education whether formal or self-taught. He said he rarely goes anywhere without books and added that understanding history was important to him.

Afterwards David had the opportunity to ask the Admiral’s views on the role smaller countries such as Australia play in the security of the region, when they may not have the financial capacity to invest in significant defence capability to the extent the USA, China and Russia might be able.

Admiral Walsh replied that in some ways their role was more important because they have the ability to specialise in certain areas and play important diplomatic. He believed Australia’s relationship with the USA was strong.

Commander, James Soh (pictured left) and David Speirs (right)

Aloha from APEC!

8 11 2011

Aloha from Oahu, the most populous of the Hawaiian isles and where you will find Honolulu, capital of the Aloha State.

Oahu is a balmy, lush, multicultural island, filled with the buzz of Honolulu, Hawaii’s largest and capital city. The epicentre of Honolulu is most definitely Waikiki Beach, the Bondi of Hawaii, now famed for its wealthy shopping strips as much as its low, slow wave breaks that disperse throughout the bay.

Waikiki was chosen by President Obama as the site for the 2011 gathering of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (known more commonly as APEC), a 21-member association of economics from the Asia-Pacific region, established at the behest of Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, in 1989. The forum works to advance regional economic integration and prosperity and has developed into one of the world’s most significant information exchange, structural reform and business diplomacy bodies.

Many people think that APEC is an annual event but it is actually an ongoing process with hundreds of government and business meetings taking place throughout the year. However, it is Leaders’ Week when the eyes of the world fall on the host city.

Alongside the CEO and Leaders summits, a special youth conference is held. APEC Voices of the Future is an annual program organised by the APEC Voices Leadership Council. It provides a platform for youth leaders and educators from the 21 APEC Member Economies to engage with APEC leaders, Ministers, Senior Government Officials and business leaders on a myriad of relevant APEC policies and issues.

Australia’s 2011 youth delegation is made up of five young people:

• David Speirs, from South Australia (Group Leader)
• Paul Chessell, New South Wales
• James Gorman, Victoria
• Anna Lee, New South Wales.
• Stephanie Moncur. Victoria.

We arrived in Honolulu in dribs and drabs over the last few days. James first and David and Stephanie last. Some of us got to do a of exploring of Oahu’s sites, with Paul able to visit historic Pearl Harbor and James taking a driving tour of the island with some Americans who knew how to drive on the right hand side of the road!

This evening the event started with a gathering in our hotel. We all introduced ourselves and went through the exciting program which lies ahead. It’s packed with the opportunity to interact with leading business and government figures, listen to their ideas about the world we live in today and answer our questions.
As well as the serious stuff there will be the chance to let our hair down; have surfing lessons, roll our sleeves up and take part in a traditional Hawaiian farming (we’re told we’ll get muddy doing this) and go canoeing.

Over the coming days we’ll blog about the event, share our thoughts and experiences and hopefully show how many different people can come together from many different places to learn and understand the world together!

Using The Duke of Ed to Use Your Voice

18 10 2011

We all have a voice. I know you are probably laughing thinking that is seemingly obvious, but it’s true. Within us all is a voice, YOUR VOICE in fact. This voice has the ability to be used, be heard and make a huge difference within the world and can empower yourself and other young people. How do I know this? Because here, at The Duke of Ed there are a number of young people undertaking the Award who use their voices every day with great success!

To kick start the conversation and to begin to hear your voices, we have put together a guide on ways you can fine tune your voice while you complete your Duke of Ed:

Physical Activity
How does your physical activity section help you use your voice? Ever heard the expression “healthy body, healthy mind”? If that isn’t convincing enough this section of The Duke of Ed allows you to learn a few key things that lead you on the journey to empowerment:

Use and learn to love your voice!

1. How to work as a team and interact with other people
2. Ways to encourage yourself and your team mates with positive feedback
3. Feel passionate about your activity? Use your voice to motivate and encourage your team and others.

Volunteering is all about helping others or a cause you are passionate about. What better way to use your voice than to draw attention to a worthwhile cause?

The Duke of Ed Gold Awardees Ramla and Lucky Giirre migrated to Australia from Somalia in 1994 as refugees. As part of their Duke of Ed Volunteering project, Lucky and Ramla used their voiced to found The Muslim Girls Kollective (MGKollective) to act as a support network for refugee women to decrease feelings of social isolation and have fun in a safe and supportive environment.

Ramla and Lucky have continued to grow the MGKollective and have made their thoughts on the issues experienced by young migrant women heard on a global scale by attending and presenting a paper at the 20th World Health Promotion conference in Geneva in 2009.

Use your own skills and your own knowledge to help use your voice! Organisations such as Toastmasters International allow you to develop your communication and leadership skills to allow you to better use your voice. Alternatively, your skill could help you brush up on a topic you would like to make heard in society, whether it be human rights, the environment or even health and nutrition!

Whether this be a skill for your personal life, professional life or to help you with a cause you feel enthusiastic about, your skill section of The Award is a sure fire way to make your voice heard.

Adventurous Journey
Trekking through bushland helps you use your voice? Fact. Your Duke of Ed Adventurous Journey is often an amazing experience, whether this be a trip to the Blue Mountains, doing an urban city based Adventurous Journey or kayaking for several days, the Adventurous Journey is generally very different to what you usually experience!

Use your voice (and your Adventurous Journey) to share your experiences with others in your school, community or workplace, empower others and prove that anything is possible.

Over the next month, we want to hear your voices and would love you to hear all about the way you use your voice on Facebook, Twitterby using the #dukesvoice hashtag, completing our survey or by sharing your comments with us on this blog!

Revealed: Your Opinions on the Environment

4 10 2011

Is this what Climate Change looks like?

Over the past month, The Duke of Ed team have been searching under every surface and have left no stone unturned for information on the environment including fun facts, ways to help save the environment and, most importantly, your opinions and stories about the environment.

We asked you: Are you worried about Climate Change?
You told us: YES! 75.2% of people that responded are concerned about climate change and the environment. Extreme weather (such as droughts and flooding) is the top reason to be concerned with 50.5% of people telling us that this is what worries you the most. Second to this was the impact that Climate change may have on the future (44.1%) and Global Warming (41.9%).
Of those that weren’t concerned about Climate Change (24.8%), 40% of people said that they didn’t believe in Climate Change.

We asked you: Do you consciously do anything to help the environment?
You told us: Definitely. 93.5% of people said that they do by recycling (91.3%), using energy efficient lighting (85.2%) and reducing waste by not using so much packaging (65.2%). The few that don’t consciously help the environment have said that they don’t think about the environment on a daily basis (100%) believe that they can’t make a difference on their own (12.5%) and don’t believe in Climate Change (12.5%).

We asked you: Are you aware of the proposed Carbon Tax?
You told us: That you are – 94.2% of people know about the Carbon Tax with 39.2% believing that there are no guarantees that this tax will reduce carbon emissions. 29.2% of people believe that it is a good thing that will lead to a cleaner Australia with 21.7% worrying about how it will affect our finances with the belief that it is an unnecessary added expense.

What you had to say:
• “I’m worried about all sea life like the Great Barrier Reef and other ecological wonders that will be destroyed by the rising sea levels.”
• “I don’t think the current understanding is enough to call any changes in climate abnormal or blame human activities for it.”
• “Rather than focussing on how to gain money from such issues as the Carbon Tax, we should all instead look at it on a personal level. Rather than enforce fines and regulations, media and celebrities should be brought to frontline the issue. More bins in public places, smarter choices when desalination plants are created, less packaging for more foods and other examples can all be encouraged for the environment.”
• “Moreton Bay Boys College is committed to acting as a steward for biodiversity and the natural environment. Our community undertakes regular tree planting and weeding events, supports a community garden, utilises solar and wind energy at school among other sustainability initiatives.”
• “I think that the people that organise Clean up Australia Day need to be congratulated on the amazing job that they do.”
• “I have started bush walking due to the Duke of Ed and have formed quite an amazing relationship with the environment. I think if people were to follow in these steps, they would understand just how important nature really is, and in saying this, might cause a positive effect on how the environment is effected by negative human impact.”

Thank you for answering questions on the environment, giving us your opinions and sharing your special stories with us. You know that this doesn’t have to end and you can continue to chat to us about the environment (good and bad) on our Facebook and Twitter pages or reply to our blog posts.

We would love to hear from you!

Singing to Save the Environment

21 09 2011

We all have our own skills and are superstars in our own right. We each shine in our own special way and have the opportunity to share our talents with other people as we go about our day to day lives.

One of the cool things that we have noticed at The Duke of Ed, is that there are people willing to take their skills and talents and use them for a worthy cause! Still focussing on our environment theme, there are musicians who have made the effort to put some light onto a serious issue and try to make a difference through song.

It is with great delight, excitement, and a little bit of “jazz hands” that we give you five songs all about the environment.

1.       “Big Yellow Taxi” Counting Crows ft Vanessa Carlton

This song asks us to realise the importance of the environment and not to wait until it’s too late and nature as we know it is gone.

Lyrics We Love: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. They pave paradise and put up a parking lot.”

2.       “Gone” Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson sings to us about the environment and how we, as humans can have a negative effect on nature.

Lyrics We Love: “And what about your mind? Does it shine? Are there things than concern you more than your time?”

3.       “Excuse Me Mr” Ben Harper

Written to all humans about the way we treat nature for business and the ignorance of people towards the environment.

Lyrics We Love: “Excuse me Mr, isn’t that your oil in the sea? And the pollution in the air Mr, whose could it be?

4.       “Wake up America” Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus encourages America to “Wake Up”, notice what they are doing to the environment and work together to take care of the country.

Lyrics We Love: “Leading up to the final destination, oh the Earth is calling out, I wanna learn what it’s all about.”

5.       “Rip Rip Woodchip” John Williamson

A classic Australian song about humans tearing down bushland to make paper. It also discusses the loss of animals and their habitats due to continuing this practice.

Lyrics We Love: “Why shouldn’t I get emotional – the bush is sacred, ancient life will fade away.”

After listening to these top five environmentally friendly songs, we are inspired to go out, save the world and make a difference.

Have you written a song about the environment? Do you have a top tune to add to the list? Share them with us…