Young people from around New Zealand and the Pacific have gathered at Unitec for the NXT15 Youth Leaders Conference. It’s the second year the conference has been held, with the support of Auckland Pride Festival Inc and the US Embassy. This year’s theme is ‘Strength in Numbers’ and participants arrived at Unitec’s marae for a warm and welcoming powhiri this afternoon. Pasifika delegates with EquAsian's Pema Wu, NXT15 coordinator Robbie van Dijk and Pride co-chair Megan Cunningham-Adams at Unitec today. Unitec’s Equity and Diversity Manager Matt Farry told the delegates “you are going to be the people who solve the problems of the future.” He said while some people think the world is a completely accepting place now, he sees every day the work that still needs to be done, and believes we need to move from “indifferent coexistence” to “meaningful engagement”. Auckland Pride Festival co-chair Megan Cunningham-Adams said NXT15 was part of expanding Pride from a celebration of diversity to an event which also drives social change. She said she doesn’t know what the country would look like in the future, “but I do know that it’s in really good hands.” Participants of NXT15 will hear a range of speakers and take part in a variety of workshops from today till Saturday. The keynote speaker will be American gay rights advocate David Kilmnick, who has campaigned for rainbow communities for more than 25 years and founded three support centres in the US. He says he is honoured to be speaking. “Lgbtiq youth lives depend on and need strong organisations and support all across the globe,” he says. “By sharing best practices and strategies we can accomplish this and make sure the great resiliency, talent and strength of our LGBTIQ youth shines from progressive communities to the most conservative ones.” Filmmaker Welby Ings, and RainbowYOUTH advocates Duncan Mathews and Aych McArdle will also be among the speakers and panellists. Participants will march in the Auckland Pride Parade on Saturday night.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Thursday, 19th February 2015 - 2:12pm
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