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From kangaroos to collaboration: UK MP visits Deakin

Recently, prominent British MP Alex Sobel visited Australia so he could meet with Deakin Business School academics and take an extensive tour of the university.

The visit was an opportunity for the distinguished MP and Deakin scholars to connect, share insights and foster innovation in the area of business and society, with a particular focus on sustainability and social enterprise. 

Mr Sobel is the Labour and Cooperative MP for Leeds North West and the Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The son of Israeli migrants, he has been a vocal advocate for radical and transformative politics, and has a strong personal interest in environmentalism, employment and higher education. Before entering politics, Sobel ran the Social Enterprise Network for the Yorkshire and the Humber region.

Alex meets with DBS Dean Prof Amanda Pyman

During his stay in Australia, Mr Sobel generously recorded teaching materials for Deakin’s Leadership Futures Hub, met with members of the Centre for Disaster Resilience and Recovery and the Consumer Behaviour Lab, and toured Deakin’s state-of-the-art Aquaculture and ManuFutures innovation hubs in Queenscliff and Waurn Ponds, accompanied by Associate Dean Prof Bernard Rolfe.

“It was wonderful to spend time at Deakin’s campuses at Burwood and Waurn Ponds understanding the applied research you do and undertaking seminars with students," Mr Sobel said.

“The quality of education and research at Deakin is world-class and I was hugely impressed.”

Alex meets with Deputy Theme Director Dr Anne Kershaw, also a member of the Arts and Cultural industries Research Engagement unit (ACiRE)

Associate Prof Jo Ingold from the Faculty of Business and Law said Mr Sobel’s visit was a powerful example of how Deakin themes can be transformed into real-life opportunities for collaboration.

“It was really wonderful to host Alex Sobel MP as an international visitor to Deakin.

During his visit, Mr Sobel helped us to build new partnerships with external stakeholders under the Business School’s Business and Society Theme and we look forward to capitalising on these over the coming months. Mr Sobel also recorded content for teaching and learning in the areas of entrepreneurship and leadership, drawing on his experiences both working in social entrepreneurship and as a UK Parliamentarian.

Mr Sobel’s busy schedule also included a tour of Melbourne Museum’s Indigenous History exhibits alongside Pro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Innovation) Prof Mark Rose, a meeting with the Victorian Skills Authority and a visit to Deakin’s Centre for Refugee Employment, Advocacy, Training and Education (CREATE) with Josh Burns MP, the member for the federal seat of Macnamara and a vocal advocate for refugee rights."

With a particular interest in the issue of self-determination for West Papua, Mr Sobel also made time to meet with West Papuan advocates in Melbourne.

Meeting with the Federal Republic of West Papua, based in Docklands.

But it was not all work and no play for Mr Sobel. As a first-time visitor to Australia, he also managed to enjoy Australia’s great natural landscapes, even seeing koalas, dingos and kangaroos in the wild.

And as the Co-Rapporteur for the Inter Parliamentary Union at COP-26, he had the pleasure of visiting Australian Parliament as the landmark Climate Change Bill 2022 was being debated and passed.