High school students in Brisbane will join Griffith University students for a series of G20-related discussions and debates this year.
The innovation is the brainchild of Dr Tapan Sarker at the Griffith Business School and feeds into the Y20 element of the G20 Leaders Summit which takes place in Brisbane in November.
Australia will host a Youth 20 Summit as part of its G20 presidency this year. The Y20 is a forum for developing cooperation with the future generation, and provides a platform for young people to voice their needs, opinions and interests on issues relevant to the G20 agenda.
Griffith’s latest community outreach initiative will place Year 11 and Year 12 students alongside undergraduate and postgraduate students for a series of three-hour blended learning sessions.
“Students will come into a university setting and take part in debates about issues important to the future,” Dr Sarker (left) said.
“We aim to improve awareness of the role G20 countries play in energy transition. Our focus will be on the challenges of rising energy demand in Australia, and in emerging economies of G20 nations like Brazil, Russia, India, China and Indonesia.
“It is important that our students become future leaders whose beliefs are backed by informed discussion and debate. They will be exposed to facts, figures and conflicting opinions.”
Professor Heidi Dahles, head of the Department of International Business and Asian Studies, welcomed an “excellent” initiative. “It conveys to our students the urgency of positioning issues of clean energy and environmental security as major items on the G20 agenda,” she said.
“This initiative once again demonstrates the particular efforts that Griffith Business School is making in integrating the theme of sustainability into its educational programs.”
Professor Andrew O’Neil, Director of the Griffith Asia Institute, noted that the initiative reflected Griffith’s broader recognition of the strong relationship between the economic rise of Asia and the increasing influence of the G20, which includes global powerhouses, China and India.
The high school students will take part in a number of lectures during each semester, starting with a graduate level Politics of the Global Economy course in March.
“Covering subjects like migration, globalisation, climate change, international trade, Australia in the global economy, microcredit, foreign aid, urbanisation and climate change, this course has a strong G20 theme,” Dr Sarker said.
An interdisciplinary undergraduate level Energy and Environmental Security course will provide the setting for the second semester.
“We will look at how G20 countries can work towards greener and cleaner forms of energy and ask what the future holds for alternative energy in the Asia Pacific region. Do young people have a vision of what the energy-related future for Australia will be?” Dr Sarker said.
The high school students will exchange views with Griffith students from a range of disciplines including business and government, industrial relations, law, energy systems engineering, environmental management and planning and international management.
“As an academic institution we have a role to play in the community and the G20 Leader Summit in Brisbane represents an ideal opportunity. It is a great platform for Griffith to discuss and debate contemporary topics through interactive learning.”