After running seven delegations and facilitating 49 individual events as part of the Youth Entrepreneurs and Leaders Speaker Series, funded and supported by the Australian Government’s largest public diplomacy program, Australia now, I have become increasingly aware of the need to capture the impact of these programs. Beyond simplistic statistics and Twitter impressions, the “business case” for these programs is still in its infancy. Clearly, the question remains: is investment in youth engagement in foreign affairs worth it? Or is it just the next cool project that has come into vogue, funded this year and not the next?

I am a firm believer in that investment. I believe that the core value of youth diplomacy programs lies in their audience reach, their depth of engagement, the strategic investment they represent, and  their value for money. Further, I believe that young peoples’ engagement is integral to the future success of Australia’s foreign policy, national interest, and sovereignty.

Please click here to read the full “Youth-led diplomacy: Big opportunity for big impact” article published at The Interpreter, written by Griffith School of Government and International Relations PhD candidate, Elise Stephenson.