Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Finding your global voice

For some reason a looming election has the ability to highlight issues that many of us might otherwise glaze over at any other time.

Like always this election will focus on typical issues like cost of living, taxes, infrastructure, education and health. Regardless of what side of the political fence you sit on, the fact that these are key issues really makes me think about just how lucky we are to call Australia home. In general there will always be policy and reforms that we disagree with but overall, I think most of us would agree, that compared to some parts of the world we have it pretty good here.

I believe that this election will capture the Nation’s attention more so than any other in recent history. Not because of continuing pressures on family budgets or for the recent turbulence in the political landscape but because for the first time in decades, this election will also focus on some big issues that have both local and global consequence.

Obviously there is the ongoing debate over asylum seekers, which is not only an immigration issue for Australia but also a global human rights issue. Also in line with human rights is Australia’s stance on marriage equality and of course ‘Closing the Gap’ in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

I have no doubt that these issues will continue to remain on our radar for years to come and be the subject of debate for our current and future politicians. What’s more, going forward new topics will continue to arise and challenge us and our leaders. That’s why it is so important to nurture our leaders of tomorrow.

One initiative that is doing just that is Global Voices which was established in 2011. Global Voices connects young Australians with the world while promoting understanding and participation in diplomacy. It delivers a platform for young Australians to really make a difference and engage with their peers from other nations, discussing and researching issues of both local and global significance. What an exciting opportunity to engage?

Recently two of our students, Sherry-Kaye Savage and Megan Star had the chance and privilege to join international delegations in New York City and Nairobi, respectively. Both agreed it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to contribute, engage and expand their knowledge. I know I would have jumped at the chance to be a part of something like this 30 years ago (at least I like to think I would have!).

What’s more CQUniversity’s partnership with the Global Voices initiative in Australia means successful applicants will also have their trips fully funded.

So if you’re interested in having a global voice and seeing the world, I encourage you to have a look at the opportunities available in future delegations. In fact applications are now open to be part of Global Voices overseas delegations to Washington DC and Warsaw in October and the UNFCC in November. For details on this and the Global Voices initiative go to www.globalvoices.org.au.

For more on Sherry-Kaye and Megan’s life changing journey’s click here

Sherry-Kaye with former NZ PM Helen Clark and other Global Voices delegates at the UN in New York City

Megan Star in Nairobi

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