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8th August 2019

by Aliyah Ali, University of Otago 

Tubingen’s passion towards a sustainable environment, Uppsala’s progressive ideas about student taught classes, and Queen’s innovative concept on experiential learning, all adhered towards the theme of empowered learners at the 2019 Matariki Global Citizenship forum. The presentations were only a short snapshot of how our partner universities had been carrying out global citizenship. However, the discussions that unfolded during breaks and over immense cups of coffee, uncovered the enthusiasm and energy students and other faculty members had towards their programs.

My conversations with Brandon from Darthmouth about his Design thinking project, helped me understand learning from a new perspective. While talking to Elizabeth from Durham University about their college food share groups, on how students started a Facebook group to diminish food waste within their student community. This showed me that sustainability can be developed through student led initiatives, and implementing such changes can bring a university wide change. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know how volunteering was being encouraged in other student communities.

It was interesting to reflect on universities that didn’t have the same structure as our university, but were displaying empowerment. I am grateful for the University of Otago for providing me with the opportunity to meet such motivated individuals. I plan on applying concepts and ideas I have learnt over the past four days, at our university. This all would not have been possible without our gracious hosts. Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude and say a large thank you to Durham University for their hospitality. It has been a truly empowering experience, and I wish the other universities all the very best for the future and look forward to collaborating on joint ventures.