UTM student Estelle Ah-Kiow has been selected to represent Canada at this year’s Girls 20 Summit in Australia.

Ah-Kiow, a first-year student who plans to study French literature and either international relations or political science, will join 23 other delegates from around the world when the summit is held this August.

“I’m very humbled to have been chosen to represent Canada at the summit,” says Ah-Kiow, adding that she’s excited to visit Australia for the first time. “I can’t wait to meet my co-delegates, amazing young women who are as passionate as I am about making a difference.”

The summit provides girls aged 18 to 20 with the opportunity to represent a country or region in a discussion of the challenges women and girls encounter around the globe. The delegates will also propose solutions to these problems, which will be presented to global leaders at the G20 Leaders Summit also happening in Australia this fall.

“Something that I find extremely problematic is that women’s voices aren’t being equally heard when the decisions that most impact our world are made,” says Ah-Kiow. “I believe that [the summit] will give me an incredible window into the specific challenges and obstacles that girls and women face in different parts of the world.”

Ah-Kiow, originally from Mauritius, has had her eye set on the summit since it was first organized in 2010 in Toronto.

“I didn’t think I stood much of a chance [because] every year hundreds of incredibly accomplished young women from every G20 country apply to be a delegate,” said Ah-Kiow.

She was persuaded to apply to be a delegate by her colleague at Strength Within Girls Group. Swiggtalk is a non-profit organization that promotes female leadership among youth, and is one of many female empowerment organizations Ah-Kiow is involved with.

Ah-Kiow’s role as Canada’s delegate extends beyond the summit itself. She will also be required to implement what she learns during her time in Australia when she returns to Canada.

Ai-Kiow says that she aspires to establish a mentorship program for young girls upon her return.