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Political pursuit

July 6, 2017

LIHUE — Emma Schneck had a passion for politics and international relations long before she was accepted into Islands Society’s “Future Hawaiian Diplomats” program.

“I used to watch a lot of news when I was younger and a lot pertained to wars going on or things going on in the world, and I was just really interested,” she said.

Sitting in front of her family’s TV as a child, Schneck knew a career in international relations was her true calling. Later, her interest in politics and international affairs led Schneck to participate in Model United Nations while she attended Island School, where she graduated last year.

When opportunity knocked, Schneck blew the door wide open.

Michael Edward Walsh, chief executive officer of Islands Society, assigned Schneck with her first task: Interviewing Trade and Economic Counsellor at the Embassy of New Zealand in the United States, Philip Houlding.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” Schneck said. “I had gone over the questions about a billion times. It was just thinking that this is going to be actually used for think tanks and sent to different embassies or whatever. This was a legitimate interview, so it was kind of scary.”

Schneck had to come up with a topic that dealt with the relationship with Hawaii and New Zealand, so she decided on Trans-Pacific Partnerships.

“I just knew that I had to refine all of my questions… talking to actual diplomats was a great experience and very humbling, just knowing that this giant thing for you is this small thing for them,” she said.

Because of the “Future Hawaiian Diplomats” program, Schneck has formed relationships with Islands Society that she said will allow her to write for them again and conduct more interviews. In the meantime, she continues her work with Model U.N. and Embassy International clubs.

“Talking about world issues is very important, it’s something that I want to do,” she said.

Currently enrolled at Trinity College in Connecticut, Schneck makes sure she doesn’t stray too far from her home on Kauai. She hopes that through this program, she will be able to make a difference not just locally but on an international level.

“I’d definitely like to work for a National NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) or something one day to just go out and have a mission to do something to help people in other countries,” she said.

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