Monash South Africa (MSA) students honoured an invite by Humanitarian Affairs Asia to attend the 6th University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Hong Kong during the Month of August. The symposium, hosted by Humanitarian Affairs Asia took place from 1 to 7 August 2015 and attracted 867 delegates from 67 countries. Students were given the opportunity to garner insights from knowledgeable and illustrious speakers across various industries worldwide. The purpose of the symposium was centred on educating, enriching and enlightening young student leaders on global socio-economic issues such as peace, security, human development and human well-being.

MSA identified the University Scholars Leadership Symposium as the ideal platform for our International Studies students from the School of Social Science to acquire the practical knowledge of their studies, which complements one of MSA’s strategic intents for informing curriculum transformation. Earlier this year, MSA hosted a colloquium for our academics, emphasising on the importance of curriculum transformation. This seminar placed significance on how merging theory and practice can assist higher education institutions build the appropriate foundation in providing quality education for students, and thereby contribute to their ultimate growth in preparation for the world of work.

Representing MSA at the symposium was Honours student Lisa Sidambe, along with two third year students, Daucas Henriques and Shannalee Doran. Accompanying them on their trip was MSA international studies senior lecturer Dr. Victoria Graham from the School of Social Science, who assumed the role of Faculty Observer throughout the symposium. According to Dr. Graham, this was a motivational experience for students; where they spent the bulk of their days listening to talks by various speakers like The Honourable Matthew Cheung Kin-Chung, Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Government of Hong Kong; with the hope of inspiring a sense of corporate citizenship and an urge to promote human development in everyday life.
The talks and activities offered throughout the days helped students understand the harsh realities that fellow global citizens are susceptible to; get out of their comfort zones; network and engage with people; and gain helpful tips on starting an NGO or getting involved in projects that foster a spirit of giving back. In addition to this, students who attend the symposium are considere possible interns for future career opportunities within Humanitarian Affairs.

“Young people are so eager to learn, so the more they are given experiences where they are forced to be outside of their own zone, the better it is for them because they become rounded people who will hopefully contribute to society”, said Dr. Graham.

MSA will continue with its commitment to nurture young and aspiring leaders by providing students with more of these opportunities.