By Mara Hosoda, Public Affairs U.S. Consulate, Auckland.
The United States and New Zealand share a distinguished place on the world stage in producing inspiring female icons, from Rosa Parks and Kate Shepard to Beyonce and Helen Clark. This October we were proud to cohost an inspiration in her own right: Dr Terry Babcock-Lumish, an American entrepreneur, academic and policymaker. While visiting New Zealand she has continued the trend of empowering young kiwi women to follow in the footsteps of history’s greats and tackle the new challenges facing society.
On October 19, Dr. Babcock-Lumish spoke to Year 13 girls at Epsom Girls Grammar with a presentation entitled “Who Runs the World? Women’s Empowerment in the US, NZ and Beyond”. The presentation elaborated upon contemporary American Women empowerment, discussing contributions by American female role models including Eleanor Roosevelt, Frances Perkins, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earheart, Margaret Sanger, Rachel Carson, Renee Richards, Madeline Albright, and Hillary Clinton. The presentation was part of the “American Insights” Speaker’s Program, which aims to add value and a personal connection to New Zealand school subjects with a U.S. element.
She was kept very busy while here in New Zealand with further talks to various institutions around Auckland.
Later that day she was joined by Craig Halbmaier, a U.S. Political and Economics Officer, for a guest presentation to Unitec students. The lecture on Obama’s green tech initiative was for students in an International Communications class, who are learning about global warming, climate change and energy.
Mr. Halbmaier described various U.S. initiatives including subsidies for wind and power, Tesla motorcars, and batteries that can power an entire house. Dr. Babcock-Lumish then spoke on how the American presidential elections impact climate change, often times dichotomizing the issues into environmental versus economical impact as a campaign tactic.
On October 20, 2015, Dr. Babcock-Lumish met with Akina Foundation staff in Auckland and teleconferenced with Akina braches in Wellington and Christchurch. Akina Foundation is a charity that grows social enterprise. Topics of the conversation included how to define “social enterprise”, how to develop career pathways for social entrepreneurs through mentorship and how to use resilience bonds.
On October 21, 2015, Dr. Babcock-Lumish presented a guest lecture to 50 members of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs and American Club. Her topic was “All Politics is Local? The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election and its Implications for the International Community.” Dr. Babcock-Lumish explored the political process, focusing on the roles of social media, money and rhetoric. She skillfully answered a wide-range of audience questions on the effect of Donald Trump running, representation by minority communities, voter turn out, the effect of local states and the impact of domestic issues for international communities.