In August, the Deakin Business School funded four students to attend the 11th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) held in Bangkok, Thailand at the United Nations Centre.
The University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) symposium is an important event, providing young people with the skills, confidence and inspiration to envisage a future leading sustainable development projects. We’d like to congratulate Mirna Arivalagan (Master of Business Analytics), Vanessa White (Bachelor of Commerce), Ibrahim Doruk (Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws) and Kai Crosby (Bachelor of Commerce) who were selected to attend this valuable event. The four attendees were selected via a competitive EOI process facilitated by the Peer Support and Transition team. Ibrahim Doruk was additionally selected by USLS to be a group leader after being chosen from the 650+ delegates attending – an impressive achievement.
The symposium enabled the students to network and collaborate with like-minded people with the notion that ‘diverse voices unite for a better world.’ The students heard from inspirational speakers, participated in community projects and attended workshops and networking opportunities.
One event was ‘Kindness Day,’ which involved painting a school. Kai Crosby said: ‘It was an amazing day, getting the opportunity to give back to a small school community and interact with young students.’ Mirna said the day ‘left an enduring smile on the children's faces and imprinted a sense of fulfillment within me.’
Ibrahim Doruk enjoyed learning about Sustainable Development Goals. ‘(It) has truly expanded my understanding of the challenges that lie ahead as we strive to achieve these importance objectives,’ he says. ‘(It) further highlighted the importance of global collaboration to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.’
The students heard from speaker Sam Cawthorn, whose story of resilience and leadership in the face of adversity resonated deeply. The key takeaway for Kai Crosby was that change does not have to be on a large scale. ‘There is importance in making a positive difference amongst friends, family and the community you are in,’ Kai said. Mirna Arivalaganfelt that Cawthorn’s resilience in the face of adversity served as a reminder that determination and unwavering commitment can overcome any obstacle. ‘His insights on influential leadership provided practical tips for effective communication and self-presentation, skills that will undoubtedly shape my future endeavours,’ Mirna said.
For Vanessa White, hearing from speakers who had found a sense of purpose was impactful. ‘It was a great reminder that no matter what stage of life we are in, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, there is the possibility to create positive change, to find our purpose and live to be the greatest versions of ourselves, she said. ‘I will be going forth from this conference with the ideology that small changes equal big impacts and I will be constantly reminding myself that although I cannot solve world hunger today, nor can I provide world peace by the weekend, I can make constant small changes in my daily life now and see that impact the world in the future.’
Mirna provided a closing summary of the experience, saying: ‘Attending this symposium has not only broadened our horizons but also expanded our network. The connections we've forged with like-minded individuals committed to addressing global challenges are invaluable. These connections will be instrumental in overcoming future obstacles and embarking on initiatives that have the potential to make a profound difference in the world. As future leaders, we now have a supportive network to lean on and the collective power to drive positive change.
In conclusion, the United Nations University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Bangkok was a transformative experience that has empowered us to be the change-makers the world needs. The knowledge gained, the inspiring speakers heard, and the connections made will undoubtedly shape our future endeavours as we embark on our journey to make a lasting impact on the world.’
Pre-departure meeting Dr Wendy Webber, Mirna Arivalagan, Vanessa White, Kai Crosby, Ibrahim Doruk, A/Prof Christine Contessotto, Alison Cossey