Acclaimed Sydney musician and advocate, Ros Dunlop.

CITY of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson, opened the Ballarat Young Global Ambassador Forum last Friday at Mount Clear College.

The Forum is an annual event presented in partnership by the City of Ballarat and the school. It is youth-led and aims to give Ballarat secondary students insights into issues here and abroad, and encourage them to make a difference as global citizens. The theme for this year’s day-long Forum is ‘Let’s talk FREEDOM’.

Lucy Stoel and Scott Walker, Mt. Clear Student Leadership Team
Lucy Stoel and Scott Walker, Mt. Clear Student Leadership

The 2016 Forum falls on the same day as Timor Leste’s (East Timor’s) Restoration of Independence Day, and so the Forum highlighted the small nation’s story of freedom. The Ballarat East Timor Association will participate in the Forum. The City of Ballarat also has close links with East Timor. Guest speakers at the Forum will bring diverse perspectives on FREEDOM, including: Ros Dunlop – acclaimed Sydney musician and advocate to sustain traditional East Timorese music and culture; Sissy Austin – Gunditjmara woman and Youth Senior Program Officer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s Program, Oxfam Australia; Fablice aka FLYBZ – thriving young Hip Hop artist and former child soldier from Burundi; Brett Goodes – the Western Bulldogs; ABC Heywire Program.

During lunch the students were able to explore local and global volunteering opportunities at information stalls, followed by interactive workshops to help them build their skills as future change makers within their community and world.

This is the third Young Global Ambassador Forum the City of Ballarat has supported. The Forum was established in 2014 following the formation of the Ballarat Young Global Ambassadors in 2013.

The City of Ballarat helped establish the Ballarat Young Global Ambassadors program in partnership with the Global Poverty Project, Plan Australia, Deakin Worldly and the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth.

The Young Global Ambassadors aim to engage secondary students in the Ballarat region and work with them to become ‘activators’ of change.

The City of Ballarat established a sister relationship with the Ainaro District of East Timor 1999 and in 2005 the Council formally established the Ballarat Friends of Ainaro Community Committee under Section 86 as a Special Committee of Council.

The City of Ballarat and the Community Committee work to support the people of Ainaro through the Ballarat-Ainaro Community Action Plan, 2012 2017.