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Game of Thrones, Inspiring leader + Reconciliation in Recovery

9 April 2019

Game of Thrones

I’m not actually a Game of Thrones fan, but that show can be very hard to escape.

So I was intrigued to learn that a group of our dedicated volunteers in International Humanitarian Law spent weeks watching every single episode, armed with popcorn and the Geneva Conventions. We’re sharing their research this week, uncovering the show’s worst war criminals as well as unlikely acts of compliance with the laws of war. And there is a lot of interest. You can find the analysis and video that's on ABC here.

Why did we do this? Because every day, around the world, Red Cross helps people understand that even wars have laws and we wanted to use one of the world’s most popular shows to demonstrate International Humanitarian Law in action.

The eighth season starts on Monday 15 April. If you’re a fan, join our discussion on social media.

Thank you so much to the volunteers who conducted the research (Shireen Daft, Catherine Gleeson, Monique Cormier, Keilin Anderson, Sharon Edington, Sarah Ireland, Rebecca Dodd, Lori Vullings, Mia Tam, Rachel Routley, Thamilini Guna, Maanpreet Kaur), many of whom are members of our new IHL Advisory Committees. It’s fantastic to see the committees coming together as a network from all around the country to do great work together. NSW Chair Nicole Urban managed the project; Hollie Johnston from the IHL team brought it to life; and our MarComms team turned it into engaging content to be shared with Australia and the rest of the Movement.

Building community

A couple of weeks ago I shared my plans to bake cookies for National Neighbour Day. Rebecca Kruger (Coordinator, HIPPY program) wrote to me about how she had organised a meet and greet for the local community of Mungar, Queensland, which went through significant disasters over the past year.

Rebecca worked with Sarah Kelly and Gerry Donohue to have some volunteers support the meet during Neighbour Day. She also gained support from the Fraser Coast Regional Council who generously donated storm-ready kits which included batteries, notebooks, cooler bags, torches and safe keep document folders.

“I personally believe that as our area is rural and we all live on large acreage properties the need to be connected is even more so needed.”  

Rebecca Kruger, Coordinator, HIPPY program

What a great outcome!

A great day in Alice Springs

Cara and Luke at the Cross Sector Orientation Day Workshop.

On 28 March Cara Ceriani (Project Officer) and Luke Kalaf (Youth Engagement Officer) participated in the annual Cross Sector Orientation Workshop in Alice Springs. The workshop brings together child and family community service professionals to connect and learn more about the range of services in Alice Springs and how they can work together to support the community. 

Laurencia Grant (Senior Community Development Officer) who presented that day said:

“I think that organisations in the community sector in Central Australia have a better chance of collaborating in Alice Springs due to the ease of access to face-to-face meetings. Inclusion of remote community workers requires forward planning and good technology. There are opportunities to catch up with colleagues in the field at the local cafe. There are also some good examples of collaborative work such as the Child Friendly Alice initiative. In my experience, people are generous with their knowledge”.

There were also discussions on domestic violence and children’s services, cultural safety and awareness, youth services and housing. If you’d like to know more about community services in NT, you can reach out to Laurencia

Inspiring leader - Gop Gai

In celebration of International Women’s Day (8 March), the International Federation of the Red Cross held a competition in search of female leaders (staff or volunteer) in two categories: the most inspiring and courageous female leaders; and innovative leaders addressing humanitarian challenges around the world.

The team in Canberra put forth a nomination for Gop Gai for the category of Inspiring Leader.  Gop has received a commendation award and was also the only Australian Red Cross nomination to be selected nationally. There were four winners and 14 commendation award mentions from over 300 nominations and 12,000 participants. You can read more about the awards here. Congratulations Gop!

Reconciliation in Recovery

Lastly, I want to share with you these photos of Uncle Alfred Smallwood, a Townsville Elder who performed a smoking ceremony for healing and safe travels home for the volunteers who helped with the Townsville floods recovery.

Uncle Alfred is also a Lifeline representative working alongside Australian Red Cross, providing psychological first aid. He is heavily involved with helping children and adults to stay out of the justice system and voluntarily runs his own Men's Group every Tuesday evening, where he encourages "lost warriors" to think about the path they have walked down so far and the consequences bad decisions have caused. The Men's Group is highly popular and successful, with Uncle Alfred single-handedly helping men to stay out of jail through his spiritual teachings. 

Uncle Alfred also gave all of the outreach team a small thank-you gift (a brooch you might see people wearing in pictures).

After the very moving smoking ceremony Red Cross volunteer Aruna snapped this special moment of Red Cross volunteer Dennis giving Uncle Albert a gift from his tribe. 

That’s all for this week.