Global Enterprise Experience Award Ceremony


E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e rau rangatira ma. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou kātoa.

A pleasant evening to all.

Firstly, I would like to thank Global Enterprise Experience Director Deb Gilbertson, Victoria University of Wellington, and Te Kaihau for the opportunity to be part of this important event.

I would also like to acknowledge the other guests, parliamentary colleagues, the deputy police commissioner, our honorary ambassadors, and the students who we are here to celebrate today.

As the Associate Education Minister, responsible for the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, there’s no better place for me tonight than to be here with the participants and winners of this year’s Global Enterprise Experience Awards.

UNESCO has a mandate to lead all United Nations agencies to promote international cooperation in education, sciences, and culture to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals

Central to its work in Aotearoa New Zealand is enabling learners to gain the knowledge and skills needed to support - and in this case, create and lead initiatives – that contribute to sustainable development, equality, cultural diversity, and global citizenship.

Previously, UNESCO focused on global citizenship education initiatives in Aotearoa, aimed at connecting local work with the Sustainable Development Goals and encouraging initiatives to support them.

Now, UNESCO has adopted more holistic approach to enable communities to implement their own sustainable development solutions for all. This approach aims to recognise the unique Aotearoa New Zealand context, grounded in Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles, including the use of mātauranga Māori.

As a relatively small island nation in the Pacific, we believe in the importance of strong reciprocal education relationships with nations across the world. Education opens the door for global connections and enables a safe space for constructive and respectful dialogues on issues that affect all of us.

It’s great to see initiatives like Global Enterprise Experience allowing learners from around the world to work together and create solutions to address social and environmental issues.

Our learners at home also benefit from this as it exposes them to different cultures and perspectives, contributing to our global citizenship skills and helping to establish reciprocal relationships internationally.

A critical factor determining the success of our education system is whether all New Zealanders have the skills and knowledge to participate and thrive in an interconnected world.

It is important that they are prepared for a world where the jobs that are in demand today will be different in the future.

Along with our work to develop an educational system that meets the needs of 21st century learners from early learning to tertiary education and beyond, we are also maintaining our focus on delivering the goals that were set on our New Zealand International Education Strategy. 

In this strategy, we are aiming for an international education system that delivers for international students and benefits all of Aotearoa New Zealand. Global citizenship is one of its focus areas.

We want Aotearoa New Zealand to be a nation that provides opportunities for global exchange of cultures, ideas, and innovation so students gain the knowledge, skills, and capabilities they need to live, work, and learn globally. The Global Enterprise Experience is a fantastic example of enabling this opportunity.

At the same time, we also provide opportunities for international students in developing countries to study in New Zealand. One of them is the Manaaki New Zealand Scholarships which some of you will already be familiar with. They help build sustainable development in partner countries and provide a lifetime connection with New Zealand. I know there are several Manaaki Scholars here with us today.

I’m sure this competition has been a unique work experience for all of you. It mirrors the reality of working in a highly globalised world where geographical lines are not a barrier anymore to interact and work with anyone in the world – anywhere and anytime.

In this digital age, creative ideas are now limitless. Technologies are increasingly playing a role in how we live and work.

As our world continues to evolve and open more opportunities for us, it also faces societal and environmental challenges that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Sustainability is not just a buzzword, it’s a priority for all of us if we want this world to be a liveable and thriving place for our future generations.

Our actions today affect others in the future. We need to be conscious of the impact of what we do, of what we consume – and create solutions to prevent the worst from happening.

To the participants and winners – congratulations. I understand that there’s broad range of social enterprise projects involved in this competition, including an education-related initiative, a fashion social enterprise that provides meaningful employment for women, and a project that helps landfill workers by providing them protective gear to safely do their work.

These projects are proof that game-changing ideas come when people from various backgrounds, cultures, expertise, and life experience come and work together towards a shared goal.

Global issues need global solutions. And it does not have to be something big, as even the smallest solutions can have a positive impact on our communities.

I strongly believe the solutions you have developed will help make lives better today, tomorrow and in the future.

I’m also pleased to see several Manaaki scholars among this year’s participants, I hope taking part in this has enriched your learning experience here in Aotearoa and further inspired you to succeed in your chosen endeavours.

To all of you, this competition is just a start of your journey for something better. Every day there is a problem that needs solving, something that can be improved, and ideas to explore.

Use your knowledge and this experience to make the most of opportunities out there to innovate, problem-solve and try things that have not been tried before.

You are the change leaders of this generation and I look forward to hearing your achievements in the coming years.

Thank you again for this opportunity and hope you have a wonderful time this evening.

Tēnā koutou, tena koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou kātoa