APEC 2019 Voices of the Future – Dukeofed

APEC 2019 Voices of the Future

Meet Your Australian Representatives at APEC 2019

Ashleigh Mansfield – Group Educator


Ashleigh has been selected as Educator of the Australian delegation to APEC 2019. She lives in Brisbane and has a Bachelor of Business Management (Economics and Human Resource Management) from The University of Queensland. Ashleigh works for Brisbane City Council and has recently moved into a new role looking after the governance of Council, Committees and Civic Cabinet. In her previous role as an International Relations Officer in the Lord Mayor’s Administration and Engagement office she delivered the 2019 Asia Pacific Cities Summit and Mayors’ Forum and led the Young Professionals' Forum. Ashleigh believes it is deeply important to promote in-depth cultural exchanges to encourage mutual understanding and cooperation, and has a great understanding of the value of youth forums and the great impact these discussions can have.


What do you hope to achieve and learn from participating in the APEC Voices of the Future 2019 in Santiago, Chile?

  • I hope to further develop my knowledge of international relations, specifically relating to the 21 APEC member economies, strength in thought leadership and ability to connect with a diverse range of people.
  • In my role as an International Relations Officer at Brisbane City Council, the largest local government in Australia, I contributed to delivering the 2019 Asia Pacific Cities Summit (2019APCS) and Mayors’ Forum, the region’s premier Summit that brings together business, industry and cities to enable them to build relationships and contribute to the success and sustainability of our cities into the future.
  • Having witnessed city-to-city dialogue identifying common challenges, I am looking forward to learning how forums such as APEC 2019 assist country-to-country relations and the formation of urban policies to move our governing institutions forward.
  • Attending the APEC Voices of the Future 2019 in Santiago, Chile will be an incredible opportunity. As Educator I look forward to actively participating by leveraging my experience to support discussion, enriching my networks and contributing to a forum of great significance.


As a young person, what is your perspective of the theme: “Connecting People, Building the Future”. How can you contribute in your home economy?

  • As someone in their early-career, I believe that ‘Connecting People, Building the Future’ is a critical task that can be achieved, though perhaps in reverse. In ‘building the future’ we must encourage open-minded conversations and the sharing of perspectives by ‘connecting people’ and facilitating platforms for collaboration between current and future leaders. APEC Voices of the Future is a special platform offering the opportunity for young people to learn from, and influence, the leaders of today.
  • Beyond dialogues with leadership, it is especially important for young people to forge connections with peers both domestically and internationally. Young people today are highly engaged in economic and political issues concerning APEC member countries and the related policies shaping the Asia Pacific region. Therefore, in today’s physical and political environment, forming international networks lays strong foundations for young people to achieve widespread, future change.
  • As Educator, my experience in local government and the 2019APCS Young Professionals’ Forum will assist in framing discussions to enable the delegates to make considered, balanced and exciting contributions. I will encourage and empower all delegates to challenge the questions posed, consider all points of view and create valuable and lasting contributions in what might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
  • In my home economy of Brisbane, Australia, I will contribute before and after APEC Voices of the Future 2019 in many ways. I have strong networks with APEC Voices of the Future alumni, young professional associations and networks, and university engagement faculties.
Jeanette Chan - Delegate


Jeanette Chan is a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awardee and is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Economics and Management at the University of Melbourne. She currently leads the Melbourne Microfinance Initiative, a student-led organisation that provides pro-bono consulting services to underserved not-for-profits globally, and is the Chief Marketing Officer at Robogals Global, an international not-for-profit that empowers young women to pursue careers in STEM through educational initiatives. She has previously worked at World Vision researching gender-sensitive programming, at EY in human services consulting, and at the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions in inclusive economic assessment. Jeanette also currently works at Giant Leap Fund, Australia’s first venture capital fund that is 100% dedicated to investing in impact startups. She is interested in the application of economics to development, health and human services and broader social policy, and aspires to continue building the capacities of individuals and organisations to drive positive social change.


What do you hope to achieve and learn from participating in the APEC Voices of the Future 2019 in Santiago, Chile? 

  • As a curious and purpose-driven individual, I am particularly interested in building and fostering relationships with other youth delegates at APEC Voices of the Future 2019.
  • Having grown up across both Singapore and Australia, I understand first-hand how cultural context and the local political and socio-economic climate can drastically shape our individual perspectives. And in an increasingly polarised world, I believe it is more important than ever to listen to our counterparts and truly seek to understand their perspectives instead of making assumptions.
  • I am fascinated by APEC’s approach to intergovernmental dialogue, especially its non-binding nature. My understanding is that it can ease pressure on leaders to commit to binding agreements, and can foster a more collaborative and open dialogue alongside any sensitive matters that may otherwise be in play. I am excited by the prospect of seeing this in action, and of learning more about how this relatively unorthodox approach may be applied in other organisations to navigate what can be polarising issues - such as social and economic inclusion, an area I care deeply about and work through my numerous endeavours to address.

As a young person, what is your perspective of the theme: “Connecting People, Building the Future”. How can you contribute in your home economy?

  • The theme “Connecting People, Building the Future” excites me, because this directly aligns with my vision that by fostering inclusive and impactful communities, that we are able to tackle wicked problems and realise a more sustainable and equitable future for all.
  • I believe it highlights the need to be open-minded and embrace perspectives different from our own. Instead of focusing on our differences, we should celebrate our common ground to work together towards a brighter future. It is my hope that this approach will help us to overcome systemic and deep-rooted issues like gender and income equality, climate change and an increasingly digital society.
  •  I lead a number of different organisations addressing this very theme, including promoting gender equality in STEM through my role as Chief Marketing Officer at Robogals Global, an international not-for-profit.
  •  I am also the President of the Melbourne Microfinance Initiative, Australia’s first and largest student-led microfinance organisation that provides pro-bono consulting services to underserved microfinance institutions and not-for-profits globally, and equips university students with the skills to create a positive social impact in their personal and professional endeavours. Over the last 9 years, we have completed 30 projects in 12 countries, primarily in the Asia Pacific. Our focus countries this year include the Philippines, Indonesia, Peru and Australia - all APEC economies.
  • I seek to leverage newfound perspectives developed at Voices of the Future to not only inform that work we do as an organisation to maximise outcomes for the communities that we serve, but I am also excited about starting conversations with these organisations about how they can more actively drive positive change.
  • As I graduate university in 2020, I am keen to pursue a socially-impactful career, likely in state government, where I hope to continue building the capacities of individuals and organisations to drive positive social change. It is my hope that by bringing people together in an impact community, we can amplify our collective impact for the brighter future.
Katerina Chen - Delegate


Katerina is a Gold Duke of Edinburgh awardee, and is currently studying a Bachelors of Laws/International studies. Last year, she exchanged at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, being sponsored by the Australian government through the New Colombo Plan. She was also the sole receipt to the 2018 Lee Lau Shiu Hing Accounting scholarship. She is involved in her local council’s Youth Advisory Committee, and just recently went to represent them at the NSW Youth Council Conference, winning the annual social change initiative pitching competition. She had previously been involved in her university’s United Nations society, acting as a mentor and facilitator to their ‘Discover Model United Nations’ program. Later this year she will be interning at KPMG. She is passionate about social change, international relations and economics, and aspires to create genuine change in society.

What do you hope to achieve and learn from participating in the APEC Voices of the Future 2019 in Santiago, Chile?

  • I am particularly interested in APEC Voices of the Future as it provides its participants the opportunity to explore a new environment with a specific focus on business, leadership and international relations. I am deeply passionate about these areas
  • Through this event, I hope to develop my abilities in communication, especially with those from differing backgrounds, and forge strong international relationships for years to come.

As a young person, what is your perspective of the theme: “Connecting People, Building the Future”. How can you contribute in your home economy?

  • The foundation of connections and genuine development within our society derives from our ability to effectively collaborate and communicate. I believe that the first step to achieving this is creating a sense of community, on both local and international level.
  • This year, I had the privilege of being selected by my local council (Georges River Council) to be a member of their Youth Advisory Committee. This group consists of young passionate individuals who meet to discuss a range of topics, and monitor and evaluate polices and legislation affecting children and young people. Specifically, our youth council is hoping to tackle problem areas such as identity, sustainable growth and inclusive diversity – areas that align with APEC’s interests. In September, I will be attending the New South Wales Youth Council Conference as a representative of my council, and be taking part in discussing the progression of various community youth-led initiatives within our state! Through this commitment, I hope to bring genuine development to my city.
  • To create an economic contribution to Australia, I believe areas of globalization and international relations between nations are viable areas of pursuit. In fact, as student studying a combined degree of Law/International Studies, I hope to engage in this area for my professional career in the future.
  • Last year I was privileged to be sponsored by the Australian government by receiving a financial grant ‘New Colombo Plan’. This grant is given specifically to nurture Asia-pacific relations between Australian students. This was given to me as I was one of the ten students selected UNSW to embark on the ‘Antai Global Summer Program’, an international business immersion program to Shanghai last year. This trip entailed company visits to business such as Volkswagen Ag and Ctrip, and international business classes at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of the most reputable universities in Asia.
  • This exchange taught me the value of initiating wider connections on an international basis, and the economical understanding of sustainability and growth.


Lily Kennedy - Delegate


I'm a Bachelor of Business - International student with a major in Public Relations at QUT in Brisbane. My passions are social enterprise, economic development, distribution of aid, international relations and communication.

What do you hope to achieve and learn from participating in the APEC Voices of the Future 2019 in Santiago, Chile?

  • Participating in APEC Voices of the Future 2019 will be a phenomenal opportunity for me to represent fellow Australian youth and hear, at a regional level, about the challenges and opportunities facing our region. Achieving a true understanding of these challenges and opportunities from the perspective of 21 other countries will be an unrivalled opportunity to gain insight into the perspectives of other cultures and witness the difficult decisions world leaders must make.
  • In addition, as an aspiring diplomat for Australia, APEC VOF 2019 would provide me with an opportunity to see my planned career in action, network with future contacts, and build relevant skills. The exposure to negotiation and deal-making of world leaders and youth alike would be an incredible opportunity and would provide real-world experience I couldn’t otherwise gain.
  • The host country of Chile also provides a unique opportunity to visit and learn about South America. While Asian relations are often emphasised, there are few opportunities to learn about South America and after learning Spanish at school I am particularly interested in this host location.
  • While all three of Chile’s priorities interest me, I feel ‘Women, SMEs and Inclusive Growth’ is an area I feel I can offer particular insight into from the Australian perspective. My work at the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies has allowed me to delve into the research of social outcomes and achieving meaningful impact. I mentor young people in a variety of settings from entrepreneurship programs to one-on-one sessions and would have the opportunity to share and implement my learnings.
  • As President of Enactus QUT, I support student-run social enterprises in the areas of STEM skills, indigenous pride, mental health, and refugee settlement.
  • I am also the Vice President of Women in Business, a group that aims to empower, equip and excite female students from all faculties to connect with their career ambitions and achieve success. One goal I hope to achieve from participating in APEC VOF 2019 is to learn how other countries are addressing the area of ‘Women, SMEs and Inclusive Growth’ and gain inspiration from other young leaders.


As a young person, what is your perspective of the theme: “Connecting People, Building the Future”. How can you contribute in your home economy?

  • I believe this theme encapsulates the way forward for the region. To me, it promotes mutual understanding, inclusivity and opportunity through personal connection yet allows digital innovation a place in achieving this.
  • The term ‘building’ would mean different things for different economies - whether they are developing or looking to accelerate growth - but the shared and collaborative vision remains: promoting cooperation.
  • In my home economy, I can contribute by using the stories from my participation to share perspectives and knowledge; promoting an interest in ‘building the regional future’ among Australians.
Matthew Russell - Delegate


Matthew is a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awardee, and is currently studying a Bachelor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Hons), and a Bachelor of Project Management at the University of Sydney. He has been involved with the global Scouting Movement for over a decade, and has recently returned from a semester interning in industry. Moving forward, Matthew is keen to work with the diverse range of international delegates to understand different contexts, and how their dynamics affect global relationships and project implementation.

What do you hope to achieve and learn from participating in the APEC Voices of the Future 2019 in Santiago, Chile?

  • On an overall level, I would hope that together we would be able to collectively learn and discuss challenges faced by different groups to create a roadmap for how upcoming issues can be faced, and transformed into opportunities. Providing a youth perspective on the concepts that are sure to impact us all, is my key aim.
  • On a personal level, I am to greatly develop my understanding of culture, and skills of leadership. From a long history of involvement within Scouts, Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, and studying management at university, I have been fortunate with many great opportunities to learn and practice leadership.
  • Being a part of this forum provides an incredible opportunity to experience leadership on a scale that I have yet to be a part of, but passionately seek to be.

As a young person, what is your perspective of the theme: “Connecting People, Building the Future”, and how can you contribute in your home economy?

  • As technology has progressed, many of the barriers which once formed immense challenges, have been removed, or negated through the advent of modern transportation, and more recently, digital innovations. Because of this, the last barrier in connecting people is no longer from an absence of technological ability, but rather ideological or emotional barriers that people set up for themselves.
  • This theme perfectly targets this idea, and it is important that the youth of the future can work together to challenge many of the existing assumptions and ideals, to bring people closer together, and remove barriers to future success. While connecting people at high level events performs a great service, we must do more to encourage people to work together, and bring the world closer, for everyone.
  • Part of the main barrier to connecting the world, I believe, is existing processes. Relying on procedures formed over many years may have established records of success, yet with the great communication opportunities and technologies afforded to us, are they really the most effective?
  • I believe that we as the youth, and future leaders of the world, have a key responsibility to make use of the skills and environment that we grew up with, and transform existing processes, into those ready for the future. Whether at home or abroad, we can always seek to promote and share ways to get more people involved, because the more diverse the backgrounds and ideas that form the solution, the more encompassing that solution can be.


Sophie Condon - Delegate


I am a third year student at the University of Sydney undertaking a Bachelor of International and Global Studies. I lived in Houston, Texas for the past year on exchange. Currently I am also interning at Human Rights Watch. I am very interested in international relations, the global economy and diplomacy. I have always loved things like model UN and am very excited to attend APEC 2019.

What do you hope to achieve and learn from participating in the APEC Voices of the Future 2019 in Santiago, Chile?

  • In today’s extremely interconnected and collaborative world, the ability to discuss, learn about and negotiate highly important issues with fellow enthusiastic global citizens can allow significant progress to be made to better society.
  • Being able to represent Australia at the APEC Voice for the Future 2019 will allow me to use my current knowledge and enthusiasm to: educate others, expand my horizons and gain a deeper understanding on the work of other countries as well as APEC in creating positive change.
  •  I hope to gain a much greater understanding of policies of smaller APEC countries on these topics. I also want to learn specifically how leaders and businesses are collaborating toward the objectives set at the summit. In doing so, this can assist the future leaders in understanding what the next steps should be.
  • I have previously undertaken a sustainability advocacy project in Houston, Texas which involved meeting with and providing recommendations to both the city government and major local businesses, which allowed me to firmly understand the importance of cooperation and inclusive between these sectors to accomplish goals, such as those set out for the APEC 2019 summit.
  • I would also be very interested to learn about the views and ideas of youth delegates from other APEC countries, as well as fellow delegates from Australia. Many of the issues currently impacting the world, such as the rise of digital society and climate sustainability have significantly transformed in recent years, becoming more transnational in nature.
  • While the current leaders and businesspeople have taken significant steps in these areas, having the opportunity to learn about the amazing life experiences of young people from fellow APEC countries in an very globalised and connected world will provide an enriched understanding of global society and will ensure mutual understanding and cooperation in the creation of a youth declaration.
  • My participation in the University of Sydney Global Citizenship Award, Human Rights Watch, the Doerr Institute for New Leaders, Bronze, Silver and Gold levels of the Duke of Edinburgh award as well as my volunteering experiences in Tanzania and Australia have allowed me to gain strong communication, leadership, cultural understanding and deal-making skills which will ensure I am able to learn and achieve the most out of this amazing and unique opportunity.


As a young person, what is your perspective of the theme: “Connecting People, Building the Future”. How can you contribute in your home economy?

  • From my experiences as a young person living in Australia and traveling to various countries, I firmly believe that globalisation and connectedness has been extremely beneficial for global society and that in order to make significant progress for the future, businesses, countries, leaders and individuals must remain connected.
  • I view the theme for the 2019 APEC summit as very relevant and important for young people to engage with.
  • Australia is a very diverse, resource-rich and multicultural country. While some of our successes as a country are the result of domestic policies, resources and businesses, it is undeniable that other countries and forums such as APEC have significantly contributed to the success of Australia. In the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, the Australian government emphasised the importance of maintaining global markets, connecting people and resisting protectionism. Additionally, Australia’s continued involvement in various international institutions and forums on issues such as economics, human rights, climate change, security and trade has shown that Australia is willing to continue working with others and connecting people to address pressing transnational issues to protect the future.
  • Within Australia, I am involved and volunteer with various organisations including university societies, Human Rights Watch, Model United Nations, the Global Citizenship Award and forums on issues such as children’s rights. Additionally, I have been in contact with individuals and organisations in the United States and United Kingdom that engage with international relations and the global economy. Through these connections, I am able to contribute the ideas learnt at the APEC Voices of the Future 2019 to ensure a mutual understanding of pressing issues amongst current and future leaders to work toward effective action.


About APEC Voices of The Future 2019

Theme: “Connecting People, Building the Future”

Dates: 11 NOVEMBER TO 17 NOVEMBER 2019


Official Language: English

Entry Closing Date: CLOSED



APEC 2019 Website Link


Founded in 2007, APEC Voices of the Future is a youth meeting for exchanges among young students from each economy held concurrently with the APEC Summit, aiming to let young students know more about APEC, expand their horizons, stimulate their enthusiasm for taking on the roles of leaders, and promote in-depth cultural exchanges among countries.

The Voices of the Future program brings together young people with potential for leadership and making a difference in society, and exposes them to the real-life deal-making process of world leaders, inspiring them to do the same with their own ideas.

Australia, Through the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, nominates 5 APEC participants (4 youth participants and 1 educator) to represent Australia at APEC Voices of the Future Youth Forum each year.

Open to all Australians aged between the ages of 18 and 25 years old with the 4 x Youth Participants to be aged 18-25 whilst the Educator should be 25+

Over 7 days, delegates attend numerous events and collaborated with other youth, political leaders, and business magnates.


  • Provide a platform for interaction and networking for youth from the APEC 21 Economies to encourage mutual understanding and cooperation;
  • Encourage the active participation of young people on APEC-related issues and policies;
  • Cultivate a deeper appreciation of APEC and its work in the 21 economies;
  • Provide learning opportunities for youth to interact with APEC leaders and business leaders; and
  • Prepare future leaders of APEC economies.


  • Theme: “Connecting People, Building the Future”
  • Participants: 120 delegates from 21 APEC Economies (100 foreign delegates,20 delegates from the Host Economy, Chile)
  • Participating Economies: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States of America and Vietnam. Dates: 11 November to 17 November 2019
  • Venue: Santiago, Chile
  • Official Language: English
  • Organized by: Voices Leadership Council, National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) Council Singapore, and Chile Voices 2019 Working Committee.
    In collaboration with APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), Chile, APEC 2019 CEO Summit Host Committee, Chile, the Government of Chile and Diego Portales University of Chile.

NOTE: APEC Participants will be responsible for covering their own expenses for travel and attending APEC. The Award will not be responsible for funding Participants.


Eligibility of Youth Participants

(i) Between the ages of 18 and 25 years old (17-year-olds may apply but they should obtain permission from their guardian)

(ii) Proficient in English

(iii) Interested in trade, the economy and international relations

(iv) Track record in youth, community or public services


Eligibility of Educators (Team Leader)

(i) Mature adult above 25 years old

(ii) Experienced in coordinating and working with young people

(iii) Must be prepared to lead and facilitate group activities as assigned by organizers

(iv) Interested and have good knowledge of trade, the economy and international relations, especially related to APEC

(v) Serve as contact point/person for the participants

(vi) Must ensure welfare and safety of their participants for the duration of the program


2019 Information

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Applications CLOSED

Thank you to all those who applied.



Previous APEC’s

Click here to read Holstein Wong’s Highlights from 2018 APEC Voices Of The Future

Click here to read Zac Drysdale’s Highlights from 2018 APEC Voices Of The Future