27 November 2017

Meaningful global change

A discussion with one of Western Australia's most influential global citizens:

On Friday afternoon, the Year 11 IBDP CAS class was extremely fortunate to spend an hour with Michael Sheldrick, Global Director of Policy and Advocacy at Global Citizen, formally the Global Poverty Project.

Global Citizen is an organisation that takes on various causes such as polio eradication and girls education, and since 2012 has put on the Global Citizen Concert with artists as diverse as Metallica, Kendrick Lamar, Alicia Keys and Pearl Jam. You can read more about the Global Citizen Project here.

Below is an excerpt from Michael's bio on the UWA Alumni website. Further to some of the awards mentioned, in 2017 he was named as a finalist for Young Commonwealth Person of the Year by Baroness Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General.

Serving as the organisation's main representative to the United Nations, and intimately involved in the production of the renowned Global Citizen Festival, Michael has worked with world leaders, musicians and philanthropists from around the world including Ban Ki-moon, Beyonce, Usher, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He was instrumental in mobilising political and public support for the UN's new Global Goals for Sustainable Development - a blueprint that seeks to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Michael's writing on these topics has been published by The Guardian, Huffington Post, The Diplomatic Courier, The Diplomat Magazine, The South China Morning Post, The West Australian, Fairfax Media and he has been interviewed by Sky News, Forbes Magazine, ABC among others. In 2013 he became the Young Western Australian of the Year, a state finalist for 2014 Australian of the Year and has previously been listed by The Sunday Times as one of WA's 50 Best and Brightest.

Michael is the recipient of a Rotary Club of Crawley scholarship and in 2012 a Paul Harris Fellowship in recognition of his efforts to place polio eradication on the agenda of the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting held in Perth. You can read more about Michael here.

The group's discussion focused on critical thinking when it comes to extreme poverty. Michael was able to explain to the students how his work goes beyond good intentions and explained the sorts of tangible things that make a difference.

The students were able to identify with Michael's explanations of how many of the issues facing the world are misdiagnosed and how this leads to poor solutions that do not create lasting benefits. As an example, the current NGO model was discussed and the large duplication problem in this space. The students were able to identify that while good intentions are a good starting point, they are the wrong end point and Michael explained what true global change will look like in the future. The students displayed immense understanding and critical thinking in their discussion and we can be really proud of our students efforts to engage with such important issues. They certainly are the sorts of global stewards we want in the future!

A huge thank you to Scholar in Residence, Akram Azimi who was able to organise Michael's visit at short notice.

Michael was recently interviewed by Geoff Hutchinson on ABC Radio, which is available here.

This year's Global Citizen Festival will take place at Central Park's Great Lawn in New York City on Saturday, September 23, and be headlined by Stevie Wonder, Green Day, The Killers, The Lumineers and The Chainsmokers.

Community Yarn @ Scotch

Following on from the successful Yira Yarkiny concert last week and the inspiring and insightful talk from Chance Bateman, the College community is reminded that ICEA are hosting a Community Yarn in the Bunning Resource Centre on the evening of Tuesday, 22 August. All are welcome but please rsvp at the link below.

You will receive an email with further details. RSVP here.

'Yarn is a safe space to have courageous conversations about race, racism and reconciliation. Through open discussion and interactive learning, Yarn works to eliminate ignorance and challenge some of the inherited attitudes and biases that prevent reconciliation from moving forward. Yarn makes our schools and communities more inclusive by building respect for Aboriginal cultures and peoples and fostering young leaders who are culturally responsive.'

The programme is supported by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's Indigenous Advancement Strategy and has been rolled out across schools and businesses around Western Australia.

For more information, feel free to email me or yarn@iceafoundation.com.au. Below is the testimonial of one Scotch boy who recently took part on the programme.

I definitely didn't know much when I got involved in the programme. I was lacking in an understanding of the subject matter and now I feel like I do have a grasp. I've learnt about culture like the Noongar seasons and about the racism that occurs in Western society now and in the 20th century. Now I have the knowledge of what's going, what people have said, what microaggressions are, how Indigenous people can be impacted and offended by that kind of stuff. It's been really relaxed though… just by talking and getting a grasp on different peoples' opinions about things you can kind of come together and make a whole better conclusion. I think I am a lot more aware now. At the start, I was like, "It's not that bad, there's obviously an issue but it's not that bad." Now I'm starting to notice situations where racism is being displayed - like microaggressions. I saw an example on the train and in the past I wouldn't have noticed what was going on. And there was a part of me that wanted to stand up and do something, but the guy was pretty scary. I think the biggest change is the noticing of that. That's the most significant thing for me because if you have an understanding, you often notice it and if you often notice it you can kind of go to that final step and step in and really just kind of inform that person what it's like and about reconciliation. The goal is to fully reconcile and have Indigenous culture immersed in Western Australia. I feel more empowered to be a part of that now that I have knowledge.

Mr David Kyle
Director of Community and Service