In August 2018, I was selected and sponsored by QUT to attend the 9th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) in Bangkok, Thailand. Overall, this was a thoroughly enriching experience – a personal highlight was the Community Service Day. I was given the opportunity to partner with the Sikkha Asia Foundation and act as a “big sister” by spending time with youth from the slum community. On this day we visited Bangkok’s oldest animal kingdom – Dusit Zoo. Together, we laughed and connected – providing hope for the youth that is living amidst poverty.
At USLS 2018 I was able to meet many inspiring young students from around the world and I was able to learn about the projects of social change they are implementing in their home countries. Upon check-in at the hotel, I was greeted by my roommate – a chemical engineering student from China. Sharing a room with someone who lives and studies in a different country was a culturally enriching experience. USLS allowed us the opportunity to connect and facilitated a unique global interactive environment, as our paths would not have otherwise crossed. USLS provided a platform which enabled students to speak freely and openly about worldwide issues within the political, governmental and societal spheres.
World-renowned speakers motivated delegates and shared their experiences within the not-for-profit sector. I was able to hear a keynote address from David Begbie (Co-founder of Crossroads Foundation). David empowered delegates to take action and concluded with the words:
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming to this conference. Thank you for the heart that burns and yearns in you to see this world changed. But above all, thank you for rising and walking out these doors at the end of this and onto the plane. Because it is in not one small room in Bangkok the world must be changed. It is in the 87 different countries that you represent. That is where this change must occur.”
Geraldine Cox (Founder of Sunrise Cambodia) presented and spoke about her experiences in helping children in need. Her life tale was one which inspired all delegates, and as a result, brought a tear to many eyes.
Overall, USLS 2018 provided a platform to which I was able to foster inter-cultural and disciplinary networks. I have been inspired to act as a catalyst for change and a conduit for justice within the community.
If you are still curious to know more, watch the video of the symposium created by Humanitarian Affairs Asia.
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