Report prepared by Office of Global Engagement, The University of Sydney
From 9-19 July 2018, the University of Sydney had the pleasure of hosting 48 exceptional participants from 18 APRU member institutions for the APRU Undergraduate Leaders’ Program (ULP).
Students from diverse backgrounds and cultures undertook a 10-day program to enhance their leadership skills and cross-cultural competency through a series of workshops, discussions, field trips and cultural activities.
Participants learned critical problem-solving skills through design thinking, a concept developed at the University of Sydney to solve complex problems across many disciplines. The program also included sessions on the new area of Planetary Health, focusing on sustainable and ethical food systems, as well as interactive sessions on ethical leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. Participants worked in groups to present posters as their final assessment. These projects allowed students to work together to deepen their understanding of the 17 UN sustainable development goals and to propose solutions to real world problems currently affecting the Asia Pacific region.
The students particularly enjoyed the workshop on Cultural Competence and what it means to become a culturally competent leader. For many of the participants, this was a first opportunity to learn about Australia’s Indigenous peoples and also look more closely at how their own cultural understandings have a direct effect on being a competent leader. Through numerous interactive activities, students were able to discuss and be exposed to a range of different perspectives into issues such as family, society, gender, values and current events. As part of this workshop, the students also had the opportunity to tour the Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden to learn about the way of life of Aboriginal people in that area and the effect of the arrival of the First Fleet and white settlement.
“It was a great pleasure for the University and our students to connect with their APRU peers. I was inspired by the student’s enthusiasm, energy and ideas and impressed by the quality of their work and posters. I have no doubt our future is in good hands and I look forward to seeing their individual careers flourish.” – Professor Kathy Belov, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement), University of Sydney
– I have learnt a lot in general and I hope to take away all that I have learnt and to make sure that I can apply them for good. The 17 SDG are something which I look forward to in the coming future and will try contributing in achieving them with my engineering background.
– I will make a commitment to continue actively learning about various cultures, especially First Nations cultures. I was truly fascinated to learn about the various histories and cultural contexts – whether that be from the educational content or from my fellow participants. It humbled me, and also instilled a deep respect in me for the struggles of various peoples that I may not have previously understood. I hope to forever keep my eyes open and learn as much as I can about what this world has to offer.
– I feel really excited about the future and what all these amazing young people will achieve! I’m committed to being part of positive social and environmental change.
– I learnt how to communicate with people from different countries (sometimes tried to ask them teach me about their languages) and also the way to cooperate with each other in order to finish our group project, especially the workshop on innovation through design can inspire me on how to integrate our ideas to foster our thinking progress.
– As leaders in an increasingly diverse society, it is imperative for us to be culturally sensitive and consider contemporary issues from multiple perspectives. Multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams are important in order to find sustainable and effective solutions to complex problems, which may have several facets that are obvious from some perspectives, but not others. Climate change is one of the major issues of our generation, and it is critical for us to lead more sustainable lives in order to preserve the health of our world.
– This experience has taught me the importance and value in working with a diverse group of people and how different ways of thinking and different experiences can help solve problems.
“The 2018 APRU University of Sydney program surpassed all of my expectations and was a fantastic experience all-round. Also a big thank you to the students at the University of Sydney – they did a great job of welcoming us and making us feel at home. From our accommodation in eclectic Newtown, to the interesting and varied workshops, to all the effort you made to make us feel comfortable – I was truly grateful. I learned far more than I imagined – both from the workshops and the people I met. I hope to keep these friendships I made, from all around the world, for a long time. Even now whilst talking to some friends from the program, I am itching to go back! This was truly one of the highlights of my university experience.”
“Thank you so much for organising such an amazing program, which provided so many unique experiences and opportunities to learn about leadership and all the different cultures in the Pacific Rim region. I am grateful to have had this opportunity.”
“This is a very informative and interactive program that is beneficial to all. How people solve or approach a problem is majorly influenced by their culture and background and that has reflected in this program. I am very honored to be part of this program and hope to apply what I have learnt in the coming future.”