Reflections on the Festival for the Future

Reflections on the Festival for the Future

Wellington Plus Programme and Wellington International Leadership Programme (WILP) participants Fern Stuart and James Keane, Olga Mugisho, and Elliot Cina were recently sponsored to attend the inspirational Festival for the Future—a three-day social innovation summit. In the second myView blog post of a two-part series, myView asks them to share the highlights from this awesome opportunity.

Te Herenga Waka student Olga Mugisho (right), enjoys a break with friends at the recent Festival for the Future, held at the TSB Arena in Wellington from 30 July–August.

What did you gain from going to the Festival for the Future

The Festival provided opportunities to inspire, stretch my ambitions, and expand my horizons. I found myself speaking to world-renowned political consultants, inspiring social enterprise entrepreneurs, and aspirational young people. 

The panel of social enterprise leaders was an amazing insight into how entrepreneurs can enrich the economy while uplifting their communities. I was excited to see the power of social good. It empowered me to better my society. 

The speakers continually emphasised that innovation can be found in the unlikeliest of places. Big tech and finance may attract a lot of headlines, but there’s space to find your voice and capture a market in a variety of things, from coconut yogurt to beekeeping.  

The climate panel discuss their topic ‘Climate solutions – leading the charge to zero emissions and a more resilient future‘ at Festival for the Future.

The event was one of the best I’ve ever been to. It was so enlightening, and I’d recommend it to anyone. Mary Moeono-Kolio’s korero opened my eyes to the harsh realities of climate change and made me want to play my part in helping with crisis as a New Zealander and a global citizen. 

Every speaker reinforced that before wedo something we should know our ‘why’. Without the ‘why’, there wouldn’t be much meaning to our actions. A quote from the event that I valued was “my strength is not that of an individual but that of a collective”. The support of those around me makes me as strong as I am right now. We all need people in our lives encouraging us to be the best versions of ourselves.  

The Festival was an amazing opportunity to gain knowledge and awareness of the people, companies, and projects that are making beneficial change happen in New Zealand and in the world. So much so, that I am still in the process of reflecting on everything I learnt.  
Throughout the weekend there was a warranted push for indigenous empowerment. Attending the festival and hearing speakers share their stories using Te Reo, it made me realise that I need to have more agency about this concern. I have decided to learn Te Reo and start doing more to support Māori communities however I can.  

During the festival, lots of lived experiences were shared and it highlighted inequality in our society. My favourite panel was about how diversity and inclusion are critical for our most vulnerable communities. It was presented by an empowering group of women who had a lot to share.  

Kurdish-Iranian journalist, human rights defender, writer, and film producer Behroz Boochani addresses the audience at the Festival.

I really enjoyed the Festival. It was great to hear a wide range of voices and different perspectives about current issues—I’m still thinking about them myself.    
Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani delivered a rousing talk about our need for solidarity in diverse communities. Having published numerous works about refugees and brought international attention to the conditions in Australia’s Manus Island, I found his points about bringing minority communities together truly relevant to New Zealand, especially in our recent history.  

I also enjoyed speaker Brylee Mills’ presentation. As an amputee, her dedication to pursuing her dance passions was nothing short of inspiring. A key point she made is to look for the “van lifters” in one’s life, analogous to those who saved her from an accident. It is also important to understand how we react to obstacles in life, rather than letting them define our experiences.  

Join the Leadership Programmes WILP and Wellington Plus to broaden your own learning.  

Fern Stuart is studying for a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Japanese and Asian Studies, Elliot Cina is studying for a BA in Psychology and Music, James Keane is a Biomedical Science student majoring in Molecular Pathology, Olga Mugisho is studying towards a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in International Relations and Sociology.

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