Ali Rae (right) meeting the Sheikh during the opening gala of Festival of Thinkers
Ali Rae (right) meeting the Sheikh during the opening gala of Festival of Thinkers
15 November 2011

Ali Rae, 23, from the School of Journalism and Communication (SJC), is one of three UQ coursework masters students selected to fly to Abu Dhabi in November to take part in the prestigious United Arab Emirates Festival of Thinkers.

This unique event, designed by the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in collaboration with lateral thinking expert Dr Edward de Bono, provides an opportunity for young scholars – as future leaders – to interact formally and informally with, and learn from Nobel Laureates, and the world's leading thinkers in business, science, technology, culture and economics.

Last year, Ms Rae completed a Bachelor of Journalism/Bachelor of Arts (double majoring in peace and conflict analysis). With a passion for pursuing communication, political science and international development issues, she is now undertaking a Masters of Communication (Communication for Social Change).

She is also a familiar face at the SJC, having worked in the School’s Media and Production Support Team since June 2009.

Although this will be the first time she visits the Middle East, Ms Rae has a strong international track record. She studied political science in Mexico as part of an exchange semester for her undergraduate degree, undertook a Pacific journalism placement in Samoa and an AIESEC community development internship in Romania.

"I am really excited to participate in the Festival of Thinkers and have the opportunity to grow academically and professionally, and experience a completely different culture," she said.

"Any opportunity to be exposed to an international workshop where I can absorb information from esteemed Nobel Laureates and collaborate with others about sustainable development, education, technology and global economics, highly interests me because they are all central themes to the principles and practices of communication for social change.

"My hope is to facilitate information exchange and build partnerships between UQ and FOT participants."

In the long term, Ms Rae said she would like to combine her interest in technology and digital media with international development, and help people learn how to sustainable utilise these mediums for positive social change.

Ali will be joined by UQ Masters students Gemma Baxter (Architecture) and Karen Joe (International Public Health).

Festival of Thinkers is a unique forum for students and global leaders and thinkers to use constructive and lateral thinking while discussing possible solutions for the world’s challenges in an interactive format. The underlying philosophy of this biennial event is to energise promising youth to inspire, innovate and invent.

Media: Siena Perry on +61 7 334 63465.