20 April 2006

University of Queensland students of world politics and foreign affairs will be part of a brainstorm with young thinkers from leading international universities in Hong Kong this July.

The Universitas 21 (U21) Summer School, hosted by the University of Hong Kong, will bring together students from the 18 U21 universities to debate and learn about Asia’s role in our world’s future.

UQ’s Schools of Political Science and International Studies and Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies are inviting high-performing undergraduates to express their interest in joining the forum, from July 3-23.

Head of the School of Political Science and International Studies, Associate Professor Stephen Bell, said the school would sponsor a student to represent UQ at the Summer School.

“The sponsorship will cover airfares from Brisbane to Hong Kong, transfers, the application fee (US$50) and the 3 week program fee (US$2500) including accommodation in Hong Kong, Macau and Beijing,” Dr Bell said.

“It will also fund study tours to Macau and Beijing and field trips in Hong Kong, Macau and Beijing.

“Aside from being a wonderful opportunity to represent UQ and to study at a foreign institution, the program will give two credit points towards a UQ degree,” he said.

The Summer School is open to undergraduates who have completed at least one year of study at a U21 institution and are proficient in English and computing.

If the high standard set by UQ students at last year’s U21 Summer School in Lund, Sweden, is anything to judge by, this year’s UQ team will shine at the summer forum.

Head of the School of Social Science Professor Geoff Lawrence and Professor of Environmental Management Tor Hundloe, who accompanied eight UQ students to Lund, said the team made stand-out contributions to the theme of Sustainable Development of Global Society.

“UQ students’ superior grasp of the issues highlighted that we have the most comprehensive environmental management program in Australia,” said Professor Hundloe.

“They were among the most enthusiastic, making many valuable and insightful contributions to the discussions. Their high quality input reflected UQ’s international reputation as one of Australia’s finest higher education institutions,” Professor Lawrence said.

The students were from the School of Social Science and the School of Geography, Planning and Architecture. They gained credit towards their UQ courses, plus official recognition of their participation from the host university, Lund University.

Ms Kiah Smith, who is now a PhD student in the School of Social Science, said the Lund experience made her more optimistic about people’s ability to improve the world.

“Perhaps the most rewarding aspect was being witness to the process of healthy debate, discussion, sharing, compassion and intelligence of such a diverse group of young people,” said Ms Smith.

“Climate change may be the largest problem for the future, but the discussions at Lund showed me how intimately connected it is with the broader issues of poverty, social justice, human rights, environmental ethics, global political systems, and consumption patterns.”

Professor Lawrence said the Lund experience gave UQ students the opportunity to develop professional networks and to benefit from cross-cultural experiences.

They also learned new skills or honed their abilities in Geographic Information Science, cross-cultural communication, oral presentation, group work, critical thinking and problem solving.

Students from the School of Political Science and International Studies who are interested in attending can contact Cara Herington, the school’s Academic and Student Support Officer, on 3365 2637, c.herington@uq.edu.au, by April 26. Students from the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies may contact Louise Kennett, School Manager, on 3365 6336, l.kennett@uq.edu.au.

Other students may contact Bronwyn Webb, Student Exchange Advisor in the International Education Directorate, on 3365 9075, b.webb@uq.edu.au.

Detailed information on the 2006 Summer School can be found at www.hku.hk/socsc/si/2006. For more information on U21: www.universitas21.com