Griffith begins a series of critical conversations to answer pressing questions in a COVID-19-impacted world


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Griffith University is taking a big picture view of a post-pandemic world and firmly placing it under the microscope through a new conversation series held in conjunction with HOTA, Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast.

The first instalment, featuring Qantas CEO Alan Joyce in conversation with legendary interviewer Kerry O’Brien, set the tone of thought leadership the series is expected to drive.

“Kerry gave me a workout as I was expecting,” Mr Joyce said. “He’s a great conversationalist and great at challenging ideas, so I found it very stimulating.”

Mr Joyce was broadly optimistic that domestic visitors would be the key driver supporting the Gold Coast tourism market in the near future, arguing that the shortfall of inbound tourists will be more than compensated by the number of Australians who will opt for a holiday at home.

The conversation drew on the experience of Mr O’Brien to delve into the targeted perspectives of community leaders asking ‘big picture’ questions now freely asked about how the pandemic will change the world.

“There are big questions about how we respond to new challenges and how we find a way of doing things differently, and I think Alan showed a way on some of those questions,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The great strength of these conversations is going to be the pursuit of big ideas, big thinking, and people talking from experience, talking because they have been thinking of the big challenges of the world they move in for a long time.”

Vice Chancellor & President Professor Carolyn Evans opens the ‘A Better Future for All’ series

Mr O’Brien said the timing of the series was critical in light of heightened community anxiety from the ongoing fallout of the pandemic.

“There is an awful lot of Australians who feel terribly rudderless in their own lives, in trying to direct their children to a better life. There are so many ‘what ifs’, there is so much instability and so much anxiety. There is no greater time than now to be having this kind of discourse.”

Griffith University Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans described the first in the conversation series as insightful and entertaining.

“We had two extraordinary people in Kerry O’Brien, one of the nation’s leading interviewers, talking to one of the most serious, thoughtful, successful business leaders and really challenging him,” Professor Evans said.

“Alan Joyce was able to respond really effectively and I felt that I learned a lot. You really can’t judge the quality of a person and their ideas unless you have that more in-depth conversation.

“Alan Joyce, of course, is brilliant, but he is only one voice and we don’t want to hear just one voice. We want to hear lots of voices with lots of different experiences from a variety of backgrounds. That’s how we will have the most thoughtful approach to creating a better future for all.”

(L-R) Professor Rebecca Ford, Professor Sheena Reilly, Professor Cindy Shannon and Professor Sarah Todd at HOTA

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