Joining hands with Monash South Africa (MSA), the Honourable Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia, former Minister of Education and Ducere Foundation Chancellor; visited MSA this week to emphasise the importance of strengthening partnerships in delivering the objectives of access to literacy, quality education, and an entrepreneurial perspective in contributing positively to the development of young people as the world’s future leaders.

On Monday, 8 February 2016, Gillard visited one of MSA’s Community Engagement department’s partner organisations, Zandspruit Primary School. The event sought to commemorate the Ducere Foundation’s African Children’s Stories programme; and recognise the ten grade six authors whose short stories have been published and released to thousands of African learners across the continent. The MSA and Ducere collaboration is made possible through the MSA student-led programme “This is Me”, which promotes children’s creative thinking, storytelling and literacy skills to support their academic and personal growth.

Addressing the learners at Zandspruit, Gillard expressed how nation building is largely supported by those who are empowered by education, and that educated children inspired by the fruits of education can transform a nation for the better.

Following her visit to Zandspruit, Gillard attended a panel discussion hosted by MSA on 9 February 2016, where she collaborated with MSA CEO, Ms. Esther Benjamin and prominent panellists from business, NGOs and community sectors. The speakers discussed the challenges facing graduates and young professionals across the world; and how having the right resources to break into the world of work is a significant impetus for their growth as citizens who contribute to the economy and build their lives.

Gillard’s opening remarks highlighted the need for employment opportunities to be made available to graduates, and that their growth and development rests on enabling factors such as access to quality education and being exposed to networks that foster an entrepreneurial spirit.

Benjamin added, “By facilitating important conversations on education’s link to building robust economies and skilled marketplaces, we strive to be a leading change agent in South Africa and beyond.  We pride ourselves on local relevancy as well as a global perspective. We work with an extensive global network of thought leaders to ensure that our graduates are equipped for the global business environment as well as for entrepreneurial initiatives relevant to the marketplace.”

Panellists shared their personal experiences and provided guests with insights that are transferrable in any organisation across multiple industries.