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Young Diplomats Program 2014

​Mrs Saskia Vollema-Creek, Hayden Menso, Alix Leckenby, Lachlan Giarusso, David Ballin
On Friday, 22 August, four courageous young year 10 students travelled to Townsville with Mrs Vollema-Creek to compete in the Young Diplomats Program, 2014. This event was hosted by James Cook University, and focused on educating students on rules of diplomacy and how to apply them in day-to-day life. Four volunteers from Ayr High’s Year 10 cohort including myself, Alix Leckenby, Hayden Menso and Lachlan Giarusso were nominated to negotiate and discuss issues with other high schools in North Queensland. As diplomats, we were selected to represent the country, India, and our topic of negotiation was “Global Food Security”.  To prepare for the day, we spent many after-school hours with Mrs Vollema-Creek researching our topics and writing an eight minute speech which was to be presented on the day. With our brains rich with the knowledge of Indian culture and our tongues tied with the preparation of the speech, we can say we confidently drove to Townsville in hopes of success at the program.
When we entered the venue, we couldn’t help but feel a tad nervous as we walked into a formally prepared room with tables set alphabetically with our country’s flag on our sector of table. We were addressed formally by the judges, chairperson and even a real-life diplomat. Then each country delivered their expertly prepared speeches and expressed the views their country has on the achievement of food security. We delivered our speech confidently and fluently which gave us a boost of confidence for the day ahead. After the seemingly lengthy speeches, we were treated to afternoon tea and then brought into the negotiation rounds, where we, as our country, had to negotiate what we could do in order to benefit the food security in other countries and how they could assist us. Then finally, as the day came to an end, one person from each country was nominated to give a concluding speech presenting their final views on food security. We were very proud of our involvement in the program as Alix Leckenby provided a truly remarkable and moving speech to conclude the day.
Although we did not quite come out as the victorious country in the end, with Atherton State High taking out first prize and St Margaret Marys’ winning best individual speaker, we arrived back home to Ayr proud in the knowledge that we gave it our all, and achieved a victory of our own – competing in the Young Diplomats program 2014.