The role of Young Ambassador has been incredibly rewarding and given me a new appreciation for the world and also given me some cherished and incredible memories. As a massive history nut it was incredible to be able to put visuals to what I had read in books and been taught in class. it was moving and touching to be able to visit these places and see things for myself. The research I did surrounding the trip made it doubly significant. For me to be able to visit the boys I had researched, to see Julian’s grave and to see Percy’s name on the wall at Tyne Cot was at once very special and sad. I didn’t know these men and they are not y family but in researching and learning about them and their lives it felt like visiting the grave of people I knew. The way history allows us to connect with others in our life is something I will hold dear from this trip.
In fact the whole project has enabled me and the other ambassadors to connect with people from all walks of life. Whether it has been all of us growing close over our time together, to staying with host families in Arras- and being welcomed into their community, to connecting with memories of those who went through WW1 and those who help remember and work to commemorate. What struck me is that we all came from different backgrounds, politics and viewpoints and yet people can be connected through something as terrible and horrific as WW1.
The interest I have received or noticed through school visits and simply talking to others is encouraging. The world and New Zealand are in increasingly difficult situations regarding international conflict, conflict which makes remembering the horror and difficulties of WW1 evermore necessary. The centenary is incredibly important, and if used correctly and important lesson. I believe the work of organisations like SharedHistories will help to further the education of people and allow for a sharing of knowledge between young people.
I want to thank everyone who made my journey possible, especially Glenda, Ruth and Pascale, you were the best fun. Everyone who supported me you also get my biggest thanks.
The coming year (and years) promise to be just as exciting. I am leaving Wellington to go to Auckland University after being accepted into Elam School of Fine Arts. whilst here I will be doing a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts conjoint degree. It will be really exciting, living in Halls and sharing this experience with two other YA’s - Harriet and Theo Lyster.
I like Harriet look forward to a reunion sometime in the future and cant wait to see where SharedHistories goes.