International Youth Day: Hope Courage and Action.

Julia Hansen Holme from the Victorian University Network shares the action from the 2018 Hope, Courage, Action Human Rights Conference.

On 12 August, the Victorian University Network proudly presented the Hope, Courage, Action Human Rights Conference 2018, celebrating International Youth Day and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Featuring three one-hour sessions and nine amazing guest speakers, the conference engaged young people from across Victoria in thought-provoking conversations about key human rights issues. This is the third time this type of conference has been hosted by the Victorian University Network, but the first time for its current coordinators.

Refugee Rights Panel Discussion @AmnestyInternational

Session 1: Be Brave

The day kicked off with session focused on an introduction to human rights and Amnesty International. A beautiful Welcome to Country from Aunty Georgina Nicholson, an Elder from the Wurundjeri Council was first, before Amnesty’s own Susanna Ritchie spoke about the importance of human rights, showcasing both key human rights issues and some of Amnesty’s success stories. Spoken word poet Abe Nouk finished off the session by moving us all with his poetry.

Session 2: Supporting Refugee Rights

The panel featured four human rights activists with a refugee background who have made invaluable contributions to the human rights movement. The panellists shared their perspectives and experiences on the refugee crisis through images, experience and stories. Within seconds, questions started coming in from the audience. For the Q&A session, we used the online tool Sli.Do that allows people to anonymously ask questions via their phone. The audience could then “like” the questions they wanted answered, and the top questions were asked to the panel. At the end of the session, the audience went outside to take a photo showing their support of refugee rights.

Session 3: Community is Everything

Charles Williams @AmnestyInternational

The last session was focused on the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The first speaker was Jessica Cantari from the Community is Everything Network who spoke about the different campaigns Amnesty International is running. Following this, Charles Williams from the City of Melbourne joined us to talk about issues and experiences of the local communities in Melbourne. He also showed a powerful documentary about Aboriginal communities in Fitzroy. Charles finished his presentation with a Q&A session a really wonderful Q&A session and a discussion about how we can get involved with the work of the City of Melbourne.