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Local student off to global forum on politics

A JCU student is one of six young Australian students selected to attend the World Trade Organization Public Forum in Switzerland next month.

First published 3 September 2012

A James Cook University student is one of six young Australian students selected to attend the World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum in Switzerland next month.

Molly Mahlouzarides, a third year JCU Bachelor of Law/Bachelor of Arts student (majoring in Politics and International Relations) will attend the Global Voices WTO Australian Youth Delegation in Geneva from September 22 to 30.

Ms Mahlouzarides was chosen from hundreds of young people who applied for a spot on the delegation, and will receive a fully sponsored package to attend.

The WTO Public Forum involves governments, non-government organisations, academics, businesses and students, who come together to discuss the latest issues regarding the multilateral trading system.

Past speakers have included the Presidents of Costa Rica and Niger, the Director General of The World Wildlife Fund and the Executive Director of The Economist publication.

Ms Mahlouzarides, who is also the Vice President of the JCU Law Students’ Society and a mentor in the Young Diplomats Program, said it would be an opportunity of a lifetime.

“Attending this forum will allow me to put my skills and knowledge of international politics and diplomacy into practice,” she said.

Born and raised in Townsville, Ms Mahlouzarides attended St Margaret Mary’s College.

She said she chose JCU for her tertiary study mainly because of the convenience of being able to live at home.

“Since then, I’ve realised how lucky I am that I decided to stay here rather than move away to the ‘sandstone’ universities down south,” she said.

“I think that going to a smaller university has really made a difference when it comes to amount of support I have received from my lecturers and peers and the sense of community on campus.”

She said she chose Arts/Law as a field of study after attending a JCU high school program for aspiring ‘Young Diplomats’.

“My interest in international politics, which inspired me to study it at university and then go for this opportunity, began at JCU when I was a high school student, after participating in the university’s Young Diplomats Program,” she said.

“I became interested in international diplomacy and policy development and decided that studying law and politics would be a good versatile degree.  It has opened up so many possibilities and career pathways.”

Ms Mahlouzarides said she hadn’t had time to let the news of the trip sink in.

“The whole process was so quick. One week the applications closed, the next week I was being flown down to Canberra.”

She said she was very excited at the opportunity that awaited in Geneva.

“It will be such a unique experience to get to see international diplomacy first hand after studying it for so long.  I hope to leave the forum having put my existing knowledge into practice, but also having gained a better understanding of economics and trade issues.”

Ms Mahlouzarides is also completing a Research Fellowship with Global Voices as part of her experience. This will include the production of a paper on an aspect related to multilateral trade to be published by Global Voices.

Established in 2011, Global Voices aims to promote an understanding of, and participation in international diplomacy by young Australians.

Ms Mahlouzarides recently returned from Canberra, where she was involved in pre-departure briefings to discuss trade issues with relevant ministers, diplomats and policy advisers in preparation for the research fellowship and for the forum.

She met with former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Foreign Minister Bob Carr, Trade Minister Craig Emerson, Shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and the Ambassador of Switzerland, His Excellency Marcel Stutz.

“It was also a good chance to get to know our fellow delegates before we travel abroad with each other.  They were an incredibly impressive group of like-minded young people and I am proud to be part of such a delegation.”

For interviews or photos, contact:  Molly Mahlouzarides, 0413 855 908 or email molly.mahlouzarides@my.jcu.edu.au

Global Voices contact: info@globalvoices.org.au

JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175