Strengthening NZ's relationship with Asia

13 June 2018

Engineering student Shalini Guleria.

University of Waikato engineering student Shalini Guleria has just been selected as a member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network. Chosen from a pool of more than 200 applicants from around the world, she’s excited to use her unique perspective to strengthen New Zealand’s relationship with Asia.

Originally from India, Shalini has always felt strongly connected to both Asia and New Zealand, so she saw the network as the perfect opportunity to join the two. Her role as a network member is to facilitate a positive relationship with Asia, through conferences held both in New Zealand and overseas.

“New Zealand is a multicultural nation; we study, work and associate with people from various ethnicities on our day-to-day life,” says Shalini. “Strengthening New Zealand’s relationship with Asia will provide our little country with the skills and knowledge to create a more innovative future for generations to come.”

The purpose of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network is to provide professional development and leadership opportunities to its members. Shalini has just returned from her two-day induction to the network in Wellington.

“The best part of the induction was meeting so many talented, young Kiwis who are passionate about bringing change in this world. It was amazing to connect with people who have a similar mindset to mine.”

This isn’t the first time Shalini has undertaken an active leadership role in a cultural setting. In 2015, she was involved with the launch of the Waikato International Students’ Association (WISA), and she is now president. The club aims to integrate international students into life on campus and encourage them to showcase their cultures.

Shalini credits her achievements largely to the experiences and support she has had at the university.

“The opportunities I’ve received at the University of Waikato have truly shaped me as a person, making me more confident and developing my leadership qualities,” she says. “I have had incredible support from my lecturers, allowing me to believe in myself and always keep trying.”

Shalini first came to the University of Waikato to study a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2013. “I loved it so much, I decided to come back and do my Master of Science!”

Shalini plans to study for a PhD and one day work in a cancer research institute. Keen to make a difference in other people’s lives, Shalini also wants to develop a social enterprise that will help younger children to become leaders.