Last week, the President of the International Committee of Red Cross, Peter Maurer visited Australia to meet with the Australian Government and speak on a range of humanitarian issues. We worked closely with the ICRC to prepare for and support his visit and participated throughout the three days.
Peter addressed the National Press Club on modern conflicts, highlighting that 68.5 million people were displaced due to violence and conflict with 120 million people worldwide requiring humanitarian assistance.
He stressed the need to work through solutions to some of the world’s pressing humanitarian problems. He also discussed the need for solutions for asylum seekers around the world, and highlighted the impact of climate change as a source of new tensions.
We were delighted to support Peter’s visit to raise these humanitarian issues and highlight the vital work of Red Cross. We look forward to further collaboration with the ICRC in Australia and in the Indo-Pacific region.
Peter’s visit was well covered in the media like SBS News and ABC 1 Sydney. You can also read the speech he gave at National Press Club here.
Situation in Manus Island and Nauru
During his visit Peter confidentially raised concerns with government about the situation for people on Manus Island and Nauru. In media interviews and at the Press Club event on Wednesday afternoon, Peter noted some of the positive things that Australia does for refugees through the humanitarian program, while expressing concern for the physical and mental health of people on Manus and Nauru.
He noted that solutions to such situations should always consider options for safe return, third country re-settlement (such as the US arrangements) and local integration. As always, Australian Red Cross was an active partner to ICRC in its representations and we continue to support ICRC visits to monitor the humanitarian needs of people in both offshore processing facilities.
While Red Cross continues to advocate on these issues directly with government, the situation for families and children on Manus and Nauru has been highlighted strongly in the media, through the public advocacy of a range of groups and in statements by Federal parliamentarians.
Women of Influence
I attended the 100 Women of Influence awards last week. It was a great event. The Women of Influence Awards aim to increase the visibility of women's leadership in Australia and the important contribution women make in creating a bold and diverse Australia.
Congratulations to Megan Davis who is the overall winner of the Women of Influence Awards and winner for the public policy category. Megan is a Cobble Cobble woman from the Barrungam nation in south-west Queensland and is the first Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) at UNSW.
One of her many achievements is in leading regional dialogues with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the lead-up to the signing of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
There were also category winners like Jemma Green, CEO, Power Ledger, a company which imagines a future of clean and affordable energy for all (who won the Innovation category), Naba Alfayadh, an amazing young woman who arrived from Iraq and set up Happy Brain Education (who won the Young Leader award) and Dr Catriona Wallace, CEO, FlamingoAI (who won the Business and Entrepreneur category) who were among many other notable women leaders in the list. What an achievement!
The Problem Solver's Toolkit
The Problem Solver's Toolkit is now available on the Lounge and in a limited run as a deck of printed cards. It’s a nifty kit packed with great resources that you can take with you to workshops and meetings, or use it on your own to help you understand the people you’re designing for and the problems you’re solving for them. We have also made the toolkit available to the public on the Red Cross website. This means that volunteers, members, or any partner agencies we are working with can also have access to it.
If you haven’t already, take some time to go through the toolkit where you’ll find useful methods and a deeper understanding of the problem solving process to work more effectively, design great solutions for and with those we care about.
We are committed to building a culturally competent organisation that acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Nations peoples and is respectful of and sensitive to their cultures and customs. We’ve just released new and updated information sheets that provide guidance to help us all build a cultural competence – something I learn more about every passing week. The information sheets are now available on the Lounge.
Have a chat with your colleagues or if you have any questions, reach out to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Team. You can expand your understanding through the one-day Cultural Competency course and your own independent learning.
Next week, we will be launching our Reconciliation Action Plan at our Villiers Street office. There are also launches being planned for other state offices so do look out for more information from your directors.