Today marks 100 days since Barack Obama’s landmark address in Brisbane. Commerce student Megan Currey was among the Griffith University contingent to be present. She recalls a day for the ages and a presidential handshake.
I was fortunate enough to be one of the students that attended President Obama’s speech for the G20 Leaders Summit. Only a handful of students from each university were invited and I was very excited to be one of them.
On the day, there was a lot of waiting, and a lot of security. Our bus ended up getting to the venue quite early, which meant that we were almost at the front of the line. We were among the first 100 people to get in so we got really great seats about five rows from the front.
My peers and I were only metres away from some very important people. For example, the CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, was seated two rows in front of me!
It felt surreal when Obama came on stage, and the crowd went absolutely crazy. He began with some Australian slang such as ‘Brisvegas’, and made a reference to XXXX beer, all met with a roar of laughter from the crowd. But soon, the speech moved onto a more serious topic.
Climate change was at the centre of his address and I found his words very inspiring. Obama highlighted the fact that older generations are generally set in their ways, so it is up to younger people to make changes to ensure our future is cleaner and healthier.
He had not visited the Great Barrier Reef yet, he revealed, but he wanted to. He also his daughters to see it and their children.These comments have really stuck with me since.
The President also spoke on the equality of all people which is something very important to me. The whole crowd cheered enthusiastically when he gave his support to gay people and when he encouraged the promotion of women in all fields of life.
After the speech, President Obama came off the stage and as he walked away he shook the hands of a few lucky students. I was one of them! Needless to say, I was very reluctant to wash my hands for days after.
This was a day I will never forget.
- Megan Currey (left) is photographed with Griffith commerce graduate Olivia Conlon.