Amy Duong COP27

Global Voices scholarship recipient shares her experience

15 February 2023
From International Relations to representing Australia on the global stage
We caught up with the 2022 Global Voices scholarship recipient, Amy Duong, who recently returned from her trip to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) and Bachelor of Laws student, Amy Duong, reflects on how representing Australia at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, allowed her to apply the knowledge and skills gained from her degree in real-world situations.

Amy Duong representing Australia

Amy Duong at the Australia Booth at COP27.

How has this scholarship experience helped your study?

I have had the immense fortune of being taught by professors who were passionate and knowledgeable in their specialties. Despite this, the idea of ever attending an international conference in person seemed impossible to my younger mind. Every time I told my friends and family that I was majoring in International Relations, a common question I’d receive was if I ever wanted to work for the United Nations. My common answer was along the lines of, “Of course I’d love to, but how on Earth would I even get there?”

International Relations is one of the most popular majors for a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney and it is easy to see why. The major is a fantastic way to explore the interactions of the international arena.
Amy Duong (2022 Global Voices scholarship recipient)

Why did you apply for a 2022 Global Voices Scholarship?

My wishful thinking transformed to personal initiative during the unprecedented bushfires of the 2021 Australian Summer, when I felt the urge to take some form of initiative to educate myself and explore whether I could utilise my major to contribute to solving this issue. As a result, I spent the year participating in competitions, policy dialogues and an internship to be a competitive applicant for the Global Voices Scholarship. It was through this combination of thoughtful learning material, guidance from professors and university opportunities that I developed the confidence to aspire entering the international arena myself.

The existential threat of climate change is everyone’s concern. In an age where we cannot wait for change, it is imperative that we endow ourselves with the skills to be the change ourselves.

What was your highlight of the United Nations Climate Change Conference?

Undoubtedly, the substantive highlight of my experience at COP27 was visiting the conference pavilions. These are small showcase rooms where countries and other associated organisations host panels and events throughout the conference. I cannot emphasise enough how steep the learning trajectory was. Particularly, I found myself enraptured by the following thematic concerns:

  • The tension between the emission intensive nature of agricultural intensification and the need to retain climate resilience in the environmental landscape;
  • The increasing urgency to preserve biodiversity;
  • The unfolding existential crisis where Island countries are just years away from sinking;
  • The need to meaningfully embody Indigenous and First Nations voices; and,
  • Australia’s vision to collaborate with the Pacific Islands to bid for COP31.

Where has this experience led you to now?

I am currently interning at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to further my learning in Australia’s decarbonisation journey. I look forward to accumulating a bank of knowledge that will enable me to make a worthwhile contribution that is meaningful to our global pursuit to net-zero.

I am so thankful that the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences provided me this opportunity to transform my studies into a practical reality.

Who should apply for future Global Voices Scholarships?

I wish to emphasise that anyone with an interest in this subject matter should apply for a Global Voices Scholarship in 2023. Accessibility to an international conference is not limited to just world leaders, we need as many people as possible contributing to the dialogue to obtain a net-zero future.

Amy Duong and Delegates

Amy (second right) and COP27 Delegates, including Hon Chris Bowen MP (fourth left).

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences continued to support and fund the Global Voices Scholarships in 2022. The Global Voices Scholarships are ideal for students interested in and passionate about making meaningful change in global climate policy, gender equality, social and economic policy, human rights, and international development.

Study the Bachelor of Arts with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences where the Global Voices Scholarships are just one of the bachelors and honours scholarships open for domestic and international arts and social sciences students.

Banner image: Photo by Amy Duong

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

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