October 25, 2012 in Uncategorized
The National Student Leadership Forum is an annual four-day conference held in Canberra every September. The forum brings together over 300 young people aged 18-25 from around Australia, nominated by their communities to discuss what drives us all as potential leaders. By engaging with politicians, community leaders and the broader Canberra community, the forum challenges students to consider the faith and values that define them and their own leadership styles.
A defining characteristic of NSLF is the formation of small groups facilitated by forum alumni and community leaders. These groups of nine formed the basis for much of our interaction over the weekend, and became our family in which to experience the forum. Through these small groups we were able to reflect on our own journeys and how our faith and values guide us into the future in an open and trusting environment.
The NSLF was able to integrate a large number of activities throughout the weekend, including consultations with senior politicians as well as visits to some of Canberra’s most prominent landmarks. A highlight was the “NSLF Pay It Forward Initiative”, which saw small groups disperse into the local suburbs, volunteering time to make a positive change within the community by interacting with locals and being available to serve them. This theme of servant leadership was fundamental to the conference; integrated into our visits to the Australian War Memorial and a key topic for our guest speakers such as General David Hurley, Chief of the Defence Force.
All work and no play makes for a dull conference, so a vital component of the forum was the social aspects. This included an afternoon of team sports which pitted small groups against each other in a round robin. Free time was occupied by meeting those in other groups and relaxing in the comfortable surroundings of the Hyatt. The social events culminated however in the final night Bush Dance held at the Yarralumla Wool Shed. Donning our cowboy boots and flannel shirts, the Bush Dance couldn’t be complete without a live country band and a hoe down. It was perfect way to solidify the new friendships that we had formed.
NSLF was an experience that will not be easily forgotten. Over the four days that were spent with this group of people, we were able to learn so much about what drives not only ourselves, but also those that inspire us. By forming these bonds, we are able to maintain the passion for servant leadership that has been instilled in us by the forum. The most rewarding aspect of NSLF is that it fosters a genuine sense of community amongst all those that participated and contributed to its success.
Written by: Michelle Yii and Oscar Dang
Michelle and Oscar participated in the NSLF after nomination by the Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics, Professor Paul Kofman. The Faculty was delighted to be able to support their participation.