Reflections from Future Leaders on Attending Inspiring Stories' Festival For the Future

Marike Ras

Kia Ora, My name is Marike Ras, I’m currently 17 years old living in Whangarei Northland. My family immigrated from the Netherlands 15 years ago in 2006. Growing up in the beautiful Northland I was surrounded by two marvellous cultures, which meant as a young child that I could experience a New Zealand primary school and then come home to be in a Dutch household. As a Student in my final year of High School, I dream to eventually move to a city where I will experience all the things I see in movies and in books. I hope to go to University to study a mix of Science and the Arts which are both of my passions. I’ve always been a creative child and this hobby continued and grew into a big passion of mine. I undertake all kinds of arts, like painting, drawing, sewing, sculpting, movie making, baking etc. I wish to do as many different kinds of arts. But I also appreciate the sciences, mainly calculus and Physics being my favourite. This is what I hope to do in University.

1.       How long have you been part of the Future Leaders programme?

I joined at the beginning of 2021.

2.       Why did you join the Future Leaders programme?

Three of my friends did the program last year, and they recommended the program to me. They inspired me to join.

3.       Part of the Future Leaders experience is attending Festival for the Future. What was the highlight of FFTF21 for you and why?

This was my first future leaders trip, so I got the opportunity to meet with future leaders from all around New Zealand. This was a great experience as there are not many other opportunities to meet people from such places like Greymouth. Another highlight was the content in the festival, this was my first experience with such a social innovation summit. To hear influential people talk about their career and the social innovation that they have done enormously inspired me.

4.       What are some of the things you learned at FFTF that you feel will help you in your future?

To listen to successful women talk about their careers and the impacts they have made has seriously changed my course in the future. To know the power and changes I can do as inspired to become the activist that I dream to be. Speakers like Anjum Rahman and Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan talking about their careers and personal experiences have prompted me to consider different paths that I wouldn’t have thought of. The fight against global warming,and for feminism and diversity are all issues that have interested me before FFTF, however FFTF has inspired me to make changes and become an activist.

5.       Thinking about what you learnt and what you heard from speakers/panels/workshops. Have you been motivated to make any changes, or get involved in any other projects or learn something new?

After listening to the speakers talk about issues like global warming and feminism I've decided to add courses and perhaps a major about Politics and Feminism. So that in the future I can pursue such paths. In university I also wish to take on projects and get involved in making some of the changes I fantasize about.

6.       Robert Walters provided sponsorship which contributed to the funding required to bring our Future Leaders to the Festival. They are a world-leading specialist recruitment consultancy, and would be keen to hear about your career plans and aspirations. What are your career plans? Were these plans or ideas changed or influenced in any way from attending the Festival?

My future plans are currently very ambiguous. I wish to attend university where I will major in Mathematics, but I also wish to take courses in Politics. At the moment I’m planning on going to the University of Victoria Wellington. FFTF has inspired me to take more of a social science approach to my future.

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