Integrity 20 – A World Divided

Mr Darren Lee – Humanities Teacher        

On Friday 26 October a small band of passionate Year 11 and 12 students arose early for a 5.45am departure to Brisbane to listen to big minds debate the great challenges for humanity in a special Griffith University event, Integrity 20 – A World Divided.

We arrived just in time to hear highly acclaimed Australian singer-songwriter, LIOR, perform before attending the first session, Counting for Something, with Marilyn Waring, Professor of Public Policy at the Auckland University of Technology. Marilyn, who was the youngest person to become a Member of New Zealand Parliament in 1975, lead an enticing panel discussion that explored how Australia’s Gross Domestic Product, the key economic indicator of our country, still fails to count unpaid labour as contributing to society and the economy and what this means for equality.

Standing around with our students post discussion, the interest in the commentary was palpable. During the session, the panel suggested that many issues pertaining to equality could be solved simply by men asking women how they feel about equality. With that in mind, Mitch Ford took time to chat with Sophie Osborn and Bridget Hegerty to gain their perspectives. While the tiny little cream doughnuts at morning tea were a highlight, they were overshadowed by the intellectual soul food the students were chewing on in the morning sunshine of Brisbane’s Southbank.

Founding editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine, Julian Baggini, followed morning tea with a wide ranging exposè on the role of reason in a fractious society. Looking at what is truth, what is ‘my truth’ and the negotiation process of working through differing perspective, the panel, chaired by Stan Grant the ABC’s Chief Asia Correspondent, attempted to answer how we can re-learn to listen with an open mind and make contributions with respect, logic and clarity.

Students continued to chat away about how the convenors were right in the sense that these days, more often than not, we argue to win, as opposed to understand or find common ground.

In the afternoon, students were able to listen to one of Australia’s strongest female voices, respected journalist – Leigh Sales. Having recently launched her new book, Any Ordinary Day, Leigh spoke openly about family, work and what to do when the unthinkable happens.

The event concluded with a discussion on how to create a culture of compassion with Hugh Mackay AO, Professor of Social Science at the University of Wollongong.

The day was full of thought and ideas. It provided a glimpse into what some believe will be the key issues this generation of compassionate, driven, intelligent young men and women will face in the years to come.