New Zealand Young Professional Leaders Strengthening Latin American Connections

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Last month, the Latin America New Zealand Business Council (LANZBC) Young Professionals Network celebrated its official launch at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland.

The newly established LANZBC Young Professionals Network is the first and only network dedicated to deepening young professionals’ cultural ties to Latin America and, in doing so, equipping and empowering the next generation of New Zealand Leaders to engage with the region.

The LANZBC, in partnership with the Latin America Centre for Asia Pacific Excellence (Latin America CAPE), recognised a need to support and develop young New Zealand professionals to contribute to New Zealand’s steadily strengthening trade, commercial, cultural, and human connections with Latin America.

Launch Event

The launch event on 22 October was the organisation’s first opportunity to bring together new members, partnering agencies and key public and private actors in the field of Latin American business and international relations in New Zealand. 

Guests heard from distinguished and influential members of the New Zealand-Latin America community, including: 

  • Her Excellency Lucy Duncan, New Zealand’s first resident Ambassador to Colombia, accredited to Ecuador
  • Matthew O’ Meagher, Director of the Latin America Centre for Asia-Pacific Excellence
  • Ana Cecilia Lara, Founder and Director of Besos Latinos Restaurante, New Zealand’s first authentic Latin American Gourmet Restaurant
  • Geoff Marsland, Founder of Havana Coffee Works and Havana Midnight Express
  • Ambassador to the Republic of Cuba, His Excellency Mr Edgardo Valdés
  • Consul-General of the Republic of Colombia, Juliana Pungiluppi.

These speakers shared experiences, aspirations and achievements in the strengthening of relations between New Zealand and this rapidly-developing region, which is becoming of increasing importance for New Zealand’s diversifying trade and commercial portfolio. 

“We are looking forward to tackling the challenge of forging connections between New Zealand and Latin America in an era of low international mobility and unprecedented change to the way we do business,” said Laetitia Laubscher, LANZBC Young Professionals Network President.

“Covid-19 is set to have long lasting, significant impacts on these two regions for years to come, but we can collaborate together to rebuild. Going forward, we aim to enable young professionals and students to connect to the Latin American region, and develop the knowledge and skills needed to achieve success as the next generation of New Zealand leaders working in or with Latin America.”

The LANZBC Young Professionals Network (YPN) is an associate membership group of the Latin America New Zealand Business Council, supported by the Latin America Centre of Asia Pacific Excellence. The YPN aims to deepen young professionals’ business and cultural ties to Latin America and equip and empower the next generation of New Zealand leaders to engage with the region. 

Source: Chelsea Heywood, 

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