I'm writing an early blog this week as I prepare to put on my thermals, beanie, wool gloves (and drink about 16 cups of cocoa to stay warm,) for the 2017 St Vincent De Paul CEO Sleepout. More on this a little later.
This week we had the great honour of hosting some of the world's leading experts, foreign dignitaries and business leaders at our annual Crawford Australian Leadership Forum. The Forum is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the great depth of the University's expertise and impact on public policy, and to lead the public discussion on the big issues facing the world. This year's forum focused on how the world responds to a digitalising, de-globalising and post-truth world.
The list of distinguished guests was quite impressive and included former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, Australia's Foreign Minister The Hon Julie Bishop, Shadow Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong, Singapore former Foreign Minister George Yeo, former US National Security Adviser James Steinberg, former Director of US National Intelligence James Clapper, Baroness Valerie Amos from the UK, and Pascal Lamy, a former head of the World Trade Organization.
This year's forum also hosted Departmental secretaries, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia and leaders of some of Australia's biggest companies, including Business Council of Australia President Grant King and CEO Jennifer Westacott.
The success of the Forum is due to the hard work of Sung Lee and Allan Gyngel - who celebrated his 70th Birthday on Monday. I congratulate them on another wonderful event. Congratulations also to the Chancellor Gareth Evans who is the driving force behind the Forum.
The Crawford Forum reminds us that good policy and politics underpins an effective democratic society. It reminds us that so much of the work we do, we do with to improve the lives of others - be it through research, teaching and learning or through our contribution to public policy.
Every now and then we get a chance to help out in other ways. Tonight I'll be taking part in the 2017 Vinnies CEO Sleepout. I'll join other CEOs to experience what it's like to sleep out as a homeless person. Tonight I'll at least have warm clothes, a beanie, a sleeping bag and a piece of cardboard to keep me warm. It's nothing compared to what those who are homeless experience every night across Australia. I'm keen to help raise as much money as I can for Vinnies and the cause, and if you'd like to donate please via their website.
Finally, if you are an undergraduate or postgraduate full time student established in permanent accommodation, and experiencing unexpected financial hardship, ANU has an emergency accommodation bursary fund which may help cover unexpected costs. Spread the word.
Have a great weekend and stay warm!