The University of Newcastle, Australia

Leading the Way in International Development

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Second-year Bachelor of Development Studies student Lisa Butson has returned from a trip to Hong Kong, China after taking part in the University Scholars Leadership Symposium.

UON students from the Faculty of Science and IT at the Leadership Symposium in Hong Kong

The program, run by Humanitarian Affairs (UK), saw almost 900 students from 57 countries attend this year's event, which is centred on themes of leadership, development and how individuals can make a positive difference in our world.

To apply, Lisa took part in a selection process based on her academic achievement, participation in the iLEAD program and an outline she wrote on what she hoped to achieve from attending the conference.

"I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of twenty students from the University to receive a scholarship," she said.

Each of the delegates who attended the symposium also participated in a 'learning journey' activity, designed to promote a better understanding of the quality of life for those less fortunate.  A range of activities were on offer, from working with disabled children and victims of domestic violence to farming programs.

For her activity, Lisa chose to participate in a 'sweat shop simulation', organised by the 852 Freedom Campaign. She was shown a documentary about the extent of human slavery in the modern world, before being put into an environment where she had to work in the 'sweat shop' conditions to gain further understanding.

"The task was to tighten and loosen twenty nuts and bolts for ten hours straight. We were not allowed to have food, water or rest for those ten hours," she said.

Now back in Australia, Lisa says the trip has solidified her passion for her degree in Development Studies and, in the long term, reaffirmed her desire to work in international development.

"The trip has taught me that no person is too small to make a positive difference in this world. Any action, big or small, can create a wonderful effect for another person."


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