University of New England students attending the National Student Leadership Forum in Canberra in September were lucky enough to have their visit coincide with the national change of leadership.
Students were present to receive an address from the new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull on a visit to Parliament House.
UNE Modern History major Jessica Lewis and Science student Bryce Clarke labelled the experience as one of the most gratifying events of their life.
“In addition to being addressed by Malcolm Turnbull, we also heard from the Leader of the Opposition and the Governor-General,” Ms Lewis said.
One of the most moving speakers to address the students was Cecelia Flores-Oebanda, a freedom fighter from the Philippines who, as a human rights activist, has rescued over 12,000 victims of human trafficking and slavery.
“All of these remarkably successful people shared their experiences of making mistakes, or of doubting their ability to lead, which is something that resonated deeply with me and many of the other student delegates,” Ms Lewis said.
“The forum was an inspiring experience that provided me with new skills and ideas to bring back and apply to my own day to day experiences, and I am extremely grateful to UNE for having provided me with such a fantastic opportunity.”
Both Ms Lewis and Mr Clarke have been recognised for their exceptional academic achievement and have been Vice-Chancellor’s Scholars for the last three years.
They attended the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar Leadership Development Workshop as part of the program and the opportunity to attend the National Student Leadership forum enabled them to consolidate and further develop their ideas on leadership.
“I believe some of the key outcomes for me were the lessons and skills about leadership that I can take back and put into practice in my own community, and through leadership roles such as Senior Academic Mentor at Mary White College,” Mr Clarke said.
“In addition to that, I have made connections and friendships with many amazing and inspiring people that I will draw ideas and motivation from for life.”