So you want to make the world a better place – how will you do it?

Make the world a better place


The world is brimming with people who want to change it for the better. You’re probably one of them. The great thing is, no matter what your passion or profession, you can make a difference.


Global Ideas is all about facilitating interdisciplinary networks – and at our forum this weekend, we want you to find your niche. So, we’ve designed a range of smaller workshops based around five personas.


We spoke with some of the workshop hosts to find out how their skillsets & interests help them make a difference to global health.


Persona: Policy Poh

Workshop hosts: daniel webbAmy Frew  Human Rights Law Centre


Daniel Webb and Amy Frew of Human Rights Law Centre


The ‘Policy Poh’ persona looks towards politics and legislation governed by large organisations like the United Nations and the World Health Organisation as major levers for change. Why do you think bodies like this play such an important role in improving about global health?


“Organisations like the UN recognise that states share responsibility for many global challenges and in dealing with those challenges there are minimum standards of treatment which states must observe.


“At a time when there are more forcibly displaced people in the world than ever before, strong international leadership is required. Organisations like the UN are ideally placed to lead multilateral efforts to share responsibility for refugee protection and to hold states accountable for unilateral measures to shift responsibility elsewhere.


How does this relate to your work with the Human Rights Law Centre’?


“Instead of respecting basic human rights principles and sharing responsibility for refugee protection, Australia is breaching those principles in order to shift responsibility elsewhere. At a time of acute need, Australia is setting an alarming global precedent which should be – and indeed has been – condemned on the world stage. International accountability is crucial to achieving the change needed to ensure Australia stops being part of the problem and instead becomes part of the solution.”


Which health issues do you feel personally passionate about?


“Amy and I have sat face to face with refugee women who have been sexually assaulted on Nauru who are so terrified of being sent back there that they can’t sleep. We’ve listened to parents tearfully describe the deterioration in their child’s mental health in offshore detention. We’ve seen the exhaustion on the faces of the innocent men detained on Manus Island for the last three years.


“Successive governments have harmed people who are fleeing harm. They have denied them the chance to begin rebuilding their lives. And they have forgotten that all people – no matter who they are, where they come from or how they come here – deserve to be treated with basic decency and respect. So the way we treat people innocent people seeking asylum is an issue we are both deeply passionate about.”


What will your workshop at Global Ideas Forum focus on?


“When confronted with systemic and seemingly intractable injustice, one of the greatest mistakes we can make is to underestimate our own power to achieve change.


Professions – teachers, doctors, lawyers – can all play a lead role in the change that is so desperately needed. We plan to discuss how.”


Persona: Carlos the Campaigner

Workshop host: tal fitzpatrick  craftivist & International Women’s Development Agency


Talk Fitzpatrick, Craftivist


The ‘Carlos the Campaigner’ persona  is inspired by people who want to influence opinions on a large scale and bring about change through mass movement. Why is it that campaigners like this play such a vital role in improving about global health?


“I firmly believe that sustainable change comes about as a result of large scale grassroots movements. These movements are brought about by a change in consciousness amongst everyday citizens – they come about when people say “enough is enough” or “we must do better than this”. Addressing issues of global health is no different – governments will not act until there is sufficient grassroots pressure on them to do so.”


How does this relate to your work as a craftivist?


“My background is in community development and community resilience building and time and time again, particularly in disaster affected communities, I witnessed the power of the arts to bring communities together. Through my work as an artist/researcher and as a craftivism (craft-activist) I am exploring how to engage people who may not otherwise get involved in more traditional forms activism (which is sometimes understood as adversarial/destructive) in complex conversations about social change.”


Which health issues do you feel personally passionate about?


“While I am not a health professional, I am a passionate advocate for gender equality and human rights. I feel that art has an important role to play in highlighting and advocating for social and political issues. In my own practice I’m predominantly focused on issues of women’s rights, with one of my most recent craftivism projects involving raising funds and awareness for the International Women’s Development Agency.”


What will your workshop at Global Ideas Forum focus on?


“How art can be used as an effective strategy for activism and advocacy. Myself and fellow artist/academic Margaret Mayhew will share how we use creative practices to tackle tough issues, including the indefinite detention of asylum seekers and women’s rights in the Asia Pacific Region. We’ll give participants useful strategies for thinking about how they can incorporate creativity into their activist activities.”


Persona: Enterprising Erin

Workshop host: Victor Sojo  Centre for Ethical Leadership


Victor Sojo, Centre for Ethical Leadership


The ‘Enterprising Erin’ persona advocates for people to join a global social movement that bridges private wealth and social entrepreneurship to create a sustainable future. Why do you think this plays an important role in improving about global health?


“Global health in a complex issue, one that requires an environmental conceptualisation and hard work from multiple fronts. While government and international agencies might play a critical role to guarantee humanity’s wellbeing, there is also plenty of work that social pioneers can do to attract private wealth and facilitate the improvement of individuals’ health conditions worldwide. In fact, in many developing nations, and in many developed nations within specific sectors of society, governments do not have the necessary infrastructure to deliver necessary health services. In such circumstances, social pioneers might be a key asset to guarantee improved health outcomes.”


How does this relate to your work with CEL’s Gender Equality Program?


“My work at CEL is oriented towards achieving gender equality in leadership across all sectors of Australian society. Pursuing that goal, we understood that we needed to approach the issue of women in leadership from an occupational well-being point of view, and in particular from an environmental health perspective.


“From an environmental point of view, individuals are healthy when they are able to fit, function and grow in the specific environments they inhabit. Those three processes are intimately interrelated, achieving one of them is harder when any of the others is lacking.


“Social pioneers can play many different roles to protect women’s occupational wellbeing. For example, developing their own social enterprises that incorporate a gender lens to guarantee that their service delivery cater for and does not disadvantage girls, women and their children, becoming leaders in the community who are willing to champion gender equality as a central value that will help society prosper, economically, intellectually and health wise, and women themselves becoming social pioneers who are role models and whose work is oriented to achieve gender equality in leadership.”


Which health issues do you feel personally passionate about?


“The intersection of ethnicity, poverty and gender is an issue I feel passionate about. Because of my personal and professional background, I understand how those three elements have a massive impact on individuals’ wellbeing, in particular women. Unfortunately, some of the work on gender equality has left aside the specific struggles of women from ethnic minority background and those who live in poverty. Moving forward we need to make sure that the research in this area and the application in policy-making and specific strategies are conducted from an intersectional point of view.”


What will your workshop at Global Ideas Forum focus on?


“My workshop will be about placing the issue of gender equality in leadership within the framework of an environmental model of occupational health.


“From that lens, I’ll talk about what the factors that predict women’s fit, functioning and growth at work are and some of the strategies that need to be implemented to guarantee women’s occupational well-being, which in turn will enhance women’s opportunities to become leaders.”


Persona: Insha the Inventor

Workshop host: Sally Goldner – Transgender Victoria


Sally Goldner, Transgender Victoria


The ‘Insha the Inventor’ persona is all about collaborating with others to create innovative solutions to global health challenges. Why does innovation play such an important role in improving health in modern society?


“Even in 2016, the trans and gender diverse communities around the world experiences discrimination from almost every aspect of society – media, religion, government, police, the health industry and even their own families. When a person is unfairly treated, rejected, bombarded by bias and demeaned on a regular basis, it has an extreme, adverse effect on their mental and physical health and their willingness to access services. Innovative approaches are essential if we are to change entrenched thinking.”


Which health issues do you feel particularly passionate about?


“Here’s one example: because of the discrimination they face, many trans people feel unsafe using public restroom facilities. There are far too many cases where someone simply can’t use the bathroom between the time they leave home in the morning and when they arrive back in the evening. Imagine not using the bathroom for eight hours! When this is a regular occurrence, it takes an extreme toll on the body.”


What will your workshop at Global Ideas Forum focus on?


“I’d like to generate a strong awareness of issues facing the trans community and look at solutions that will bring about real change. For example, I’d love to see health professionals educated about discrimination against trans and gender diverse people and how to give basic inclusive service. For example, people turn up to get a flu shot and are misgendered – e.g. a trans woman being referred to as “sir” by the doctor. Many others ask invasive, irrelevant personal questions – like “oh, so you’re trans? Tell me about your experience,”. It’s extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant.”


Persona: Grassroots Greg

Workshop host: Dr Jenny Jamieson  australasian college for emergency medicine


Dr Jenny Jamieson, Australasian College for Emergency Medicine


The ‘Grassroots Greg’ persona is based around those who push for sustainable development through global and local community involvement – getting their hands dirty and supporting on-the-ground NGOs. Why do you think this persona plays an important role in improving global health?


“Every project needs a “Grassroots Greg” who is willing to do the on-the-ground work and push for aid to be used in an appropriate, sustainable and humanitarian manner. They are the do-ers and the advocates for local communities, driven by a strong inner conviction of altruism.”


How does this relate to you work – with as an Emergency Registrar with MSF, or any other initiatives you are part of?


“As an emergency doctor or nurse, we are used to doing hands-on work in any acute clinical scenario. This area of medicine lends itself to a philosophy of ‘any patient, any time, any place, in any state.’ It equips you to work with many aid organisations working in disasters, conflict zones or complex humanitarian emergencies.”


What will your workshop at Global Ideas Forum focus on?


“The immensely challenging task of improving health outcomes in conflict areas – areas which are inherently unstable, not just politically, but also from an economic perspective. This leads to an extremely vulnerable population. Building resilience is an essential cornerstone of trying to improve health in such areas.”


Do you want to use your expertise and passion to make the world a better place? You’re in luck – Global Ideas Forum runs from Friday 2–Sunday 4 September. That’s this weekend, so make sure you get over to Eventbrite for tickets and more information!


By lucy godwin, Communications Manager.