Parramatta Marist Students Make Change at the World Vision Youth Conference


Students from Parramatta Marist

By Nathan K, Year 9, Parramatta Marist High School

A group of 20 students from Parramatta Marist High School in Westmead, along with students from various other schools around Australia, attended an immersive one-day experience run by World Vision, targeting the youth and aspiring young leaders of Australia.

This World Vision Youth Conference took place on Tuesday 28th May at Luna Park in Milsons Point.

The aim of the event was to give students a taste of what it feels like to be a leader and how we all can generate an idea, put it into perspective and start a local, state, national or even worldwide phenomenon for change.

The annual conference was held to encourage students to use their voices as a gift from God to promote change and express their beliefs to help create a better future for everyone and to empower current and emerging student leaders to become active global citizens for justice in the world.

World Vision Chief Executive, Claire Rogers, giving an address on the day
World Vision Chief Executive, Claire Rogers, giving an address on the day


Through this event, students understood what it was like to be a leader of the modern world, going through an interactive experience on how making different decisions can alter people’s views and significantly impact what occurs in the world. Using the very common scenario of the refugee crisis, students explored options to relocate refugees whilst finding a solution to the hypothetical war in Malaysia. Students were also given the opportunity to meet three guests, 22 year-old Asma Mirzae, an Afghani refugee currently studying at Monash University; Simon Shahin, 25, a Syrian refugee; and Kevin Kardirgamar, 29, Northern Territory Young Australian of the Year.

We were very fortunate to have listened to each person’s story. For example, Simon fled Syria at age 22 to find a better life here in Sydney, Australia. He was rejected for visas into various countries and had nowhere to go. Passionate about education, he was finally accepted into Australia to start a new life. He began studying at the University of Technology Sydney as an Electrical Engineering/Medical Science Student and now has the goal of advocating with the United Nations while he continues his studies. Currently, Simon is a Youth representative with several community organisations to pursue his passion of youth engagement and refugee rights.

We also were given an insight into the 2018 40 Hour Famine - Backpack Challenge, focusing on the relevant topic of refugees.

“The conference provided an eye opening experience for students to understand the political factors that lead to inequality around the world. It also gave them a real solution to stand in solidarity with those impacted by this inequality. The students enjoyed meeting others who are passionate about making a change in the world.”
-Miss Grazia Milazzo, Marist Solidarity Coordinator

“It was a great opportunity for our boys to mingle with other like-minded youth, who are passionate about making a real difference in our world. Hearing the stories of local refugees was a real-eye opener for both staff and students, and was probably the most cherished and valued part of the day.”
-Miss Habibi Rizk, Student Representative Council Coordinator

“The World Vision Youth Conference was a great experience. Being able to be YOU whilst expressing your own ideas to people you’ve never met really encouraged leadership in the group. Listening to other people’s stories was truly inspiring and taught us that we should never give up and underestimate people as one day they, and we, could change the world.”
-Nathan K, Year 9

“The 2018 World Vision Conference opened the doors for social justice awareness in Australian youth, most particularly within my own school community. More importantly, the day was an opportunity for like-minded students and teachers with passion for change in the world to unite in one space and develop a vision that aims for greater visibility and global support towards those who need it most. It truly was an experience that shone light on the pressing issues of our world that the youth need to know about. I’m very excited for what is to come out of the inspiration of this Conference, and how the passion of my school community can drive World Vision into our own action.”
-Marco M, Marist Solidarity Leader, Year 12

Posted By CathEd Parra at 21/06/2018 11:41:56 AM

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