Jolenna Deo is one of 22 students from throughout the country to be selected for the United Nations Youth New Zealand Global Development Tour for 2019.  The St Dominic’s Catholic College year 13 student dreams of one day working with United Nations’ delegates on important issues, such as gender equality.

But for now the 17-year-old is just hoping to show other West Auckland students, especially girls, what they are capable of achieving.

“Gender equality is really important. Providing education for young girls and focusing on women in power will have a positive effect for our world,” she said. “We are all capable of achieving the same things and I want to inspire other students here to achieve their goals.”

The month-long study tour will take the New Zealand students to the cities at the forefront of sustainable development around the world.

Jolenna is a youth ambassador at school.

She attended the youth delegation meetings, the New Zealand Youth Parliament and took part in the New Zealand Model United Nations.

“Getting a spot on this tour has been four years in the making for me,” Jolenna said.

“I’ve always dreamed of travelling but I never imagined being able to go to Europe. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

Jolenna plans to study law and arts conjointly, with a double major in international relations and cultural anthropology, at either Victoria University of Wellington or the University of Auckland next year.

“The tour will offer an opportunity to understand how nations work together to achieve common goals and I will experience real world learning,” she said.

“I’ve always been interested in how the world works and politics.”

The global development tour will visit cities chosen for their relation to or significance to one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) — New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Rome and Hong Kong.

Its purpose is to showcase the need for multi-dimensional, global efforts to achieve the United Nations’ 17 SDGs, by meeting with a range of individuals and organisations working to achieve these.

Some of the issues they will look into include waste management in London, food and agriculture in Rome and urban innovation in Vienna.

The tour is self-funded. Jolenna needs to raise $8000 to go on the month long tour. She leaves on January 12 next year.

To make a donation, visit and search for the page — Jolenna Deo — Global Development Tour. Jolenna is also looking for sponsorships.

She was also recently awarded a Caring Award by Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn at the Catholic Caring Foundation’s Caring Mass. The award was for Jolenna’s commitment
to caring for others in the community.