Summit 2015 – Refugee Policy
On the 18th of July, 2015, Feel.Think.Flow successfully ran its first summit on Refugee Policy in Australia. With over 100 participants, we explored the various strands of cultural and historical background that had led to Australia’s complex political climate at the time, and gave everyone the chance to partake in the decision-making processes of our lawmakers.
We had a range of guest speakers, such as Hugh De Kretser (HRLC), Adam Fletcher (UoM) and Michael Gordon (The Age), take us through the key issues and developments surrounding asylum seeker history, such as the establishment of temporary and detention centres, as well as the prevailing links between refugees and mental health issues, all of which are essential to producing well-informed Australian citizens. Students then had the opportunity to engage with each of our speakers in a panel discussion, before jumping into the shoes of lawmakers for an Interactive Political Simulation.
The situation presented in our IPS were the events occurring on and around Nauru Island. Each participant was assigned to one of the four major stakeholders of the situation; those being the Australian Government, the Refugees, the Opposition, and a health-focused NGO. The teams then worked on achieving their team’s specific goals, all the while interacting with the media and the general population’s opinions, much as the four groups would in real life.
We wrapped up the day with a charity engagement session, where we invited organisations such as The Welcome Group or the Community Based Health Project to share with us the impact of their dedication and work, giving students an idea of how they, too, could make a change.
Summit 2016 – The Modern Middle East
Our second summit, run on the 23rd of July 2016, delved into the culturally and historically rich world that is The Modern Middle East. This year, with 120 participants, we addressed the complex political landscape of the region, focussing on the rise of Islamism and sectarian conflict.
Feel.Think.Flow was honoured to have guest speakers such as Iman Farrar (Singer/Songwriter), Sherene Hassan (Founder of the Islamic Museum of Australia), and Mohamud Hersi (Islamophobia Watch) join us to discuss the relationships between the Middle East and western societies, the roles and representation of women in Islam, as well as the geopolitical climate within the Middle East itself. Our aim in 2016 was to create as much understanding of how the politics of the Middle East impacted global politics, thus strengthening our participant’s understanding of politics at a global, as well as a domestic, level.
To that end, we once again engaged in an Interactive Political Simulation, with a central focus on the political tensions occurring in Iraq. We assigned all 120 participants to one of four key stakeholders in the situation; The Iraqi Government, the Kurds, the Sunnis, and a US Led Coalition. Each team worked and negotiated to attempt to achieve each of their team’s specific objectives, whilst simultaneously interacting with a subjective and manipulative media, as well as backlash at an international scale, much as each stakeholder would in real life. Through the simulation, all of our participants were given a hands on and highly representative perspective on how politics functions in an international setting, all the while learning more about the enriching cultural and historical background of the Middle East.
The day was brought to a conclusion with a charity engagement session attended by high profile organisations such as Islamophobia Watch.