From the 6 – 12th of July, a group of QACI students attended the IB World Student Conference in Brisbane. It was a fantastic experience where we met and formed friendships with IB students from across the world.
The topic of the IB Conference Brisbane 2014 was Empowering Diversity. We were told at the beginning to let go of all our prejudice and pre-dispositions surrounding diversity. Throughout the duration of the week we came to understand this topic in detail. Diversity is a way of life and we need to accept and challenge our communities current understanding of it.
Each day we heard from a keynote speaker, On the first day Dr Eric Vanman shared how everyone is racist from a scientific/ neurological perspective. Keeping this in mind he further explained that it is then what you do with your behaviour towards others that actually demonstrates the extent of your racism or not.
The Six key points from his presentation were:
- Our default way of seeing the world as ‘we’ and ‘they;
- We are biased to prefer ‘we’ and ‘they;
- These biases guide our behaviour towards others
- Modern society, tries to teach us not to discriminate and to rectify the ‘sins’ of our parents.
- The problem of reducing prejudice: Do we ignore diversity or embrace it?
- A possible solution: The common in-group identity model
He ended his speech with The Pale Blue dot (Carl Sagan). This video just reminded me of how insignificant we actually are in comparison to the universe. I Highly recommend watching the clip on youtube!
Other speakers throughout the week included:
Mr Bobby Whitfield – Dr Aparna Hebbani – Ms Sonia Caton formed anAsylum Seeker analyst panel that was chaired by Jillian Whiting. The main thing I took from this was NO human being is illegal and no one wakes in the morning and wants to be a refugee. It further enabled me to be colour blind.
Mr Jaharal Yowyeh – Former Rugby player – Cultural Identity (Being of Indigenous decent) – Re invented himself
Mr Alex McDonald, Executive Director, Wise Foundation (Social Entrepreneur). He talked about:
- ASSUMPTIONS OF WHO WE THINK ARE – POVERTY – INDIVIDUALS DON’T HAVE POVERTY OF IDEAS
- Intelligence doesn’t relate – inequality of opportunity
- Change poverty of opportunity
- Give people rivers to fish in – not give them fish
- Providing opportunity allows them to change their own world
- Homeless people care about their future and their active participants and not passive participants of welfare…
- The Stigma of welfare – Change the stigma through demonstration
He believed to get rid of help – relates to helpless – patronising – their purpose ie: The Big Issue: Allowing homeless people in Australia empowers homeless people to depend on themselves. wwwThe Big Issue.org.au
Karni Lidell – Former Para-Olymipian, talked about empowering diversity through disability. Born with muscular dystrophy Karni was told she would never walk and exercise would make it worse. Karni defied doctors and became a Para-Olympian swimmer. She believes that the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything! She said the best thing you can do to empower an individual with a disability is they must first have the right equipment to help them have an easier life living with their disability, and secondly treat them the as you would anyone else. I personally found this the most enjoyable as I am passionate about empowering diversity through disability.
All of the attending delegates were broken up into Global Action Teams (aka: GAT) Being in these groups we were able to work with kids around the world to create a campaign aimed at empowering diversity around the world. Being the first conference of the year we utilised a new database tracking system to upload our GAT projects. Each one had a business plan that people can read online. The great thing about these projects is that they can be carried on by others around the world for CAS!
If you are struggling to find something to do for your CAS – take a look here and see if you can help out with someone’s from the other side of the world! The projects other QACI students were in include:
- Here2Hear Project
- All the People Shake4
- Save The Animals
- Youth for Youth
- The Mixing Bowl
- Pow’D Youniquism
- Animals Need Help Foundation (ANH)
You can find more details about these at the www.YouthMovements.org website
The main thing that I have learned from attending the IB Conference was how kind hearted and open minded everyone was. We are all doing the IB and at different stages and this just goes to show how open minded and well rounded IB students are/ become. This conference focusing on Empowering Diversity has now enabled me and the other students who attended to take it one step further with sharing what I’ve learnt amongst my local communities – to challenge the status quo and make a difference to our world.
“We are the future, as as the the next generation it is up to us to make a change.”
There are two other Conferences this year – I highly recommend the experience to any IB student who wants to work with internationally/ open minded students from around the world.
Reviewed by Bonnie Kirkpatrick, Yr 12