Local hero off to UAE to study

SEAMUS BOYER AND SOPHIE SPEER
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2013
brittany trilford
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ

GLOBAL WARRIOR: Brittany Trilford is heading to the United Arab Emirates to further her studies.

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She has spoken in front of audiences in Brazil, the United States and France. Now the young Wellingtonian has set her sights on the Middle East.

Brittany Trilford, 18, stood before world leaders and called for an end to broken environmental promises at the Earth Summit 2012 in Rio de Janeiro last June.

The former Queen Margaret College pupil has since been whisked around the world to take part in conferences in New York and Washington DC, and to speak at a Planet Workshop meeting in Evian, France.

Now she's off to the United Arab Emirates after receiving a full scholarship to study environmental science at the University of New York's Abu Dhabi campus.

She is looking forward to learning more about global relationships, particularly in the Middle East.

"There are many misconceptions [about the area] in dealing with different challenges, beliefs and ideas, and being able to work together," she says.

"I'll be putting myself in an environment where I'm learning from others and they can learn from me."

Looking back on what she has achieved in the past year, the Carterton teenager says it has been "crazy".

"I took it upon my own bat to make something of the year, but I didn't expect all this."

In her Rio speech she called on leaders to come together for a common good, rather than stock market gains. She ended her speech: "As I stand here to face you today I wonder, are you here to hedge your bets and see what happens? To save face or to save us?"

Miss Trilford was selected for Rio after an impassioned video that impressed a jury, including Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Don Cheadle.

Accolades soon followed. She was named Young Wellingtonian of the Year and awarded a Local Hero prize as part of the New Zealander of the Year awards.

"I'm really, really touched and flattered by it, but it's more exciting because people are starting to respond to what I'm saying ... so the more and more things that are coming through the more I'm able to get that across."

Miss Trilford plans to work in an organic vineyard in the Marlborough Sounds and teach English in India before heading to Abu Dhabi in August to begin her studies.

"I'm trying to make the most of having no commitments.

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