For the second year in a row, the Amnesty International (ACT/SNSW) Schools Network Outreach Team held the Asylum Seekers Questions (A.S.Q) Schools Conference. This event was an opportunity for students to engage in Q&A with a special guest panel discussion and engage in interactive workshops. Our goal for this event was for students to walk away with the knowledge and practical skills to become advocates for refugees and asylum seekers in their local communities. For the first time, the event was held at the A.C.T Legislative Assembly.
Over 50 students from across the ACT and Southern NSW heard presentations from Minister Yvette Berry, A.C.T Deputy Chief Minister, Shankar Kasynathan, Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Campaign Coordinator, John Gunn, Director of Multicultural Youth Employment Services and Benita Bittner, General Manager of ACT Netball. Students also heard from Pema Tenzin from the Canberra Tibetan Community who shared her experiences and journey of coming to Australia.
Participating students got the latest on Amnesty’s My New Neighbour campaign and participated in several workshops to develop their understanding of community sponsorship and map their communities to create change. All students were presented with ASQ Certificates at the conclusion of the day.
Students from the Canberra Girls Grammar School Amnesty Student Group were presented with Student Amnesty International Leadership (SAIL) Certificates in recognition of their amazing work through out the year. Overall the conference received terrific feedback from teachers, students and presenters. Students left feeling engaged and keen to continue to work on My New Neighbour at their schools, and bring more schools on board.