Budding leader Jessica Kitch has returned from an international youth summit in Johannesburg, where she debated and formulated solutions for global issues with the likes of Kofi Annan and Richard Branson.

This year’s One Young World summit brought together more than 1000 up-and-coming leaders from around the world to discuss a wide range of global issues – including leadership, government, human rights and social business – with high-profile individuals such as Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, Bob Geldof and Jamie Oliver.

A first-year Arts/Law student, Jessica was one of only three PCYC volunteers selected to attend the four-day conference in recognition of her contributions to her local PCYC in their vacation care programs as well as her role as a youth representative to the PCYC board.

NSW PCYC CEO Chris Gardiner congratulated Jessica on her selection and said she embodied PCYC’s core values of “commitment, citizenship, resilience, respect and integrity”.

For Jessica, the summit was an opportunity to bring Indigenous issues to the delegates’ attention. As a Wiradjuri woman from Wellington in NSW, Jessica says she is interested in learning how to engage more Indigenous and rural Australians in politics.

“I know in my area, many people post donkey votes because they don’t even want to hear about politics, even though it affects them,” she says.

The standout speaker for Jessica was founder of Virgin Group and business magnate Sir Richard Branson.

“He has shown the world that you can do anything and that nothing should get in the way of your ambitions. He was truly inspiring.”

It is a message Jessica has brought back to Australia with her, as she reflects on her future plans to complete her law degree and give back to her community in Wellington.

“I never imagined that helping out with children at my local PCYC would lead to travelling to Johannesburg. If you want to do something positive for your community then do it,” she says.  

“Seek out organisations, make suggestions and get involved. It is rewarding in so many ways.”

Read Nura Gili’s interview with Jessica here.

Media contact: Cassie Chorn, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8107

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Jessica Kitch, left, was one of only three young Australians selected to attend an international youth summit in Johannesburg.