Ways you can support Ahed Al-Tamini and other Palestinians.

 Source - The National

Source - The National

My lovely friend and activist Sara Saleh has put together this great list of places you can support Ahed Al-Tamini, a young Palestinian child who has, like many others, resisted Israeli occuption and suffered the consequences.

 
 

STEP 1: Sign a global petition (bold + italic = click for link)

 

STEP 2: Consider long-term support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign

For long-term, constructive support and solidarity, please support the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel which works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law

 

STEP 3: Support Volunteer Local Advocacy Groups and their Campaigns

Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) 

Join their most recent campaign supported by ActionAid Australia calling on PayPal to extend its services to Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. 

 

STEP 4: Apply Political Pressure by emailing your local Member of Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister:

Email the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Email Julie Bishop - The Minister for Foreign Affairs

Contact your local MP

 

STAY INFORMED

Electronic Intifada: @intifada

Military Court Watch: @MCourtWatch

B’Tselem: Israeli Info Center for Human Rights in Occupied Territories: @btselem

Adalah: Independent human rights organization and legal center: @AdalahEnglish

Amnest International and Amnest Australia: @Amnesty & @AmnestyOz

 

Whitepaper on Cultural Diversity and Inclusion

I'm so excited to share with you the second part of the whitepaper I've written on cultural diversity and inclusion.

Part 2 is focused on how to create a workplace that is inclusive, and links to a lot of the Diversity Council of Australia's work in this space. 

Want to learn more about cultural diversity and inclusion? Download the whitepaper today!

Part 1 - Diversity Beyond Gender

Part 2 (NEW!) - Re-thinking Diversity

Let me know if you have any thoughts / feedback on the papers. If you're interested in having the paper presented to your organisation, feel free to get in contact and we can organise a time.

Enjoy!

 

Five Alternative News Sources on the Middle East

A quick service announcement...

censorship

Listening to an Economist Podcast the other day, I was disturbed to find myself vehemently disagreeing with a few facts reported.  The way they were presented I felt distorted and misrepresented parts of the situation in Iraq. It was a reminder that no news is perfect! Therefore, I set about ensuring my sources were diversified enough to help me find some semblance of truth within it all...

Here are some suggestions for good (alternative) places to go for news and opinion on the Middle East (in English):

1. Al Jazeera English

Need I say any more?

A trusted news source, although some say it has started showing signs of taking sides since the Egyptian revolution.  Nonetheless, still a solid place to go for news and opinion.

2. Al Arabiya

Dad's second favourite channel, Saudi owned and Dubai based, this is another good source of news straight of the horse's mouth.

So fresh you can smell the grass...

3. Midori House

A podcast I found by absolute accident that does a good daily show. A little light on detail sometimes but they bring good guests in for discussion, and it usually provides a good overview of current global events

4. Informed Comment

Juan Cole is an American Professor (gasp!) but his blog is often thought out and not at all crazy-right-wing.  I find his analysis always rings true and is often fact checked beyond what mainstream media will offer

5. Jadaliyya

More newspaper than news source, this is a mix mash of English and Arabic news, analysis and investigation.  I don't always read it all but find it does set the scene and provide background information you may not find elsewhere.

***

That's where I find my non BBC/Economist/Age/Australian/AFR/Crikey news, where do you get yours?

Three (MEGA) Tips for Creating that AWESOME Personal Network.

"It's not what you know, it's who you know". How many times have you heard that phrase?

How many times have you felt exasperated with that phrase because you didn't feel like you 'knew' anyone?

Fabulous Friday: Five Ways to De-Stress During Exams

For those who have clicked on this because you're avoiding looking at your study material... this is for you :)

It is that time of year again! Final assignments, exams, the pointy end of the semester stick...Your stress levels may be mounting and you realise just how much you missed all semester.  Even if you're all over it, something about exam block clogs pores and leads to internal panic...

It doesn't have to be that way! Here are a five quick tips to get you through the end of semester stress period:

1. Get out and move!

One thing that has a tendency to evaporate during an exam block is people's commitment to exercise.  When you realise you have X amount of hours left before an exam, spending an hour running around doesn't seem like good value...

But it is! Take half an hour out of your morning or evening, go for a run, skip, do random push ups, kick or throw a ball around - that change of scenery and the release of endorphins which will definitely help your mood and give you a burst of motivation for the remainder of the study period.

Dosage: Daily or every two days is recommended.

2. Clear your commitments

Let people know that you won't be readily available for the next little while.

Give people advanced notice if you have commitments that you won't be readily available.  Set up an automatic reply on your email.  Most of your friends are probably in the same boat so they will should understand.  If you can take time off work, it is probably a good idea.

It helps when you can be focused on your study rather than being pulled away by various other commitments, breaking your concentration.  It's all about being in the study zone.  

Dosage: Take a large dosage of commitment clearing at the beginning and it should last a couple of weeks.  Supplement the study zone with a teaspoon of sweet tunes.

3. Get a decent amount of sleep. ESPECIALLY the night before.

Rule of thumb? Try to get at least 7 + hours of sleep the night before the exam. Even if you don't know the content, your brain will work MUCH better with the little that it knows if you are well rested than if you are zombie-walking-sleep-deprived.

When you get to that point in the early hours of the morning where your brain doesn't seem to absorb anything and you've re-read the same line five times...cut your losses and head to bed.  You'll be much more efficient in the morning :)

It's called sharpening the saw.

[box] Stephen Covey tells the story of meeting someone who has been sawing down a tree for more than 5 hours. When you suggest that they take a break and sharpen their saw so the job might go faster they tell you they don't have time to sharpen the saw because they're too busy sawing! (From 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) [/box]

4. Try to eat decent food.

It helps.  It will also reduce guilt down the line.

Recommended study foods for brain and waistband purposes: Fish, nuts, vegetables, whole grains, apples and berries.  Here's a good source.

Oh yeah and dark chocolate...

Essentially, don't live on noodles.  If you must, at least add frozen vegies to make it slightly nutritious.

Dosage: Regular meals are recommended.  Don't forget to keep a water bottle with you at all times! It's all about hydration.  

5. You only need to know 85% of the content for a HD.

You can't learn it all.

One of the best pieces of advice that I was ever given about exams was that even the High Distinction grade isn't 100%.  Why?

Because there is just so much content, you can't realistically be expected to learn and remember it all.

It's actually a freeing concept.  Be strategic in your study.  Will hours spent learning how to manually multiply 4 x 4 matrices actually give you a decent percentage increase on the exam?  Perhaps those four hours are better spent bedding down that other concept that you weren't too sure about...

So learn what you need to and can in the time you are given, but realise that it isn't the end of the world if you don't know every single thing.  It'll be right :)

So study hard, but not too hard.  I can honestly barely remember what I got for most of my subjects, let alone individual exams.  It's not the end of the world (although it may feel like it).  Just do your best...and enjoy ;)

See you at the other end!

1 Year Anniversary! Top 10 posts of last 12 months

Can you believe it has been an entire 12 months since this blog began?

It has been an exciting year of growth and development so thank you all for sharing that journey.

There have been over 4100 unique visitors over the past year, with over 12,000 page views. Thank you for taking the time to engage! That is pretty awesome! :)

Also, thank you all for reading and being part of this community! I hope that we can continue to grow together, debate and discuss, reflect and learn from one another.

To celebrate, here is a little walk down memory lane: the top 10 posts of the last 12 months! Enjoy!!

 

1. Women in the East, Women in the West - Finding the Middle Ground

This was written after returning from four months in Sudan, visiting family, studying formal Arabic at university and going through a very profound reflective period. Profound mostly because it opened up perspectives that I hadn't truly considered or interrogated before and provided much food for thought. That experience will continue to inform the way I understand society and place equal value in both Eastern and Western experiences.

 

2. Please explain why my clothing choice matters to you?

Another reflection from the East/West point of intersection, written after a strangely affecting incident at the Brisbane Airport. It was really an inconsequential incident in its own right, but brought up many questions afterward as to the symbolism of dress and the lack of nuanced understanding that sometimes rears its head in our society.

 

3. Shoot the Messenger

Essentially a review on an interesting film about war photographers. Asking the question - should the photographer or journalist simply put aside their moral obligation as humans to report?

 

4. Sudan Revolts

The page that talks the Sudanese Revolts of 2012. Reflections, thoughts, links, advice... unfortunately the attempted coup was decisively shut down but it was interestined to see the other part of the battle nonetheless.

 

5. Cultural Sh-Sh-Shock: Part 2

Yet another post about the cultural differences I observed on my trip to Sudan and noting a few of the aspects of cultural shock that I encountered, particularly the difference between expectations for men and women.

 

 

6. Study Secrets to Ace Your Exams (Part 1)

These are honestly the tips and tricks that got me through University and allowed me to (Alhamdulilah/thank God!) graduate with first class honours while doing all - or many - of the other things that were important, including Youth Without Borders, the UQ Racing team and much more. Part two is still on its way.

 

7. Book Review: Adam Parr's "The Art of War"

A review about a well presented book written during a very interesting time in Formula 1 politics and management. Well worth reading.

 

8. 10 Useful Brain Sharpening Websites for 2013

The title says it all. A toolbox full of links that will help you keep your brain KEEEEEN!

 

9. Drilling Diaries

Less and post and more a category, this ranked in 9th and is essentially links to all the crazy stories and conversations that I have while working out in the oil and gas rigs in Australia.

 

10. The Innocence of Who?

A post written in the aftermath of 'The Innocence of Muslims' video. A brief look at why this sort of reaction is common and perhaps what we as a society can do to change it.

 

I honestly really look forward to the next 12 months with you all, and can't wait!

 

 

Study Secrets to Ace Your Exams (PART 1!)

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Engineering was fun, but hell. Balancing a full mechanical engineering load with various other things was never easy…

Fortunately though, I learnt a few tricks along the way that helped.

Here are a few to get you started – tips that may be able to help you study more efficiently and get you through an exam block with your sanity intact.

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1. Plan your study period at the BEGINNING of SWOTVAC and put it up on your WALL.

 

Day 1 of SWOTVAC? By and large, one achieves pretty much nothing.  That’s okay.

USE the first day to FULLY PLAN OUT your exam block. 

This includes:

ONE. Picking your study station for the next three weeks. YOU WILL LIVE THERE. Ideally a quiet place (if that is your thing), with enough space for all your gear and where you can set up uninterrupted for hours on end. Your bed is not a good study station.  Don't mix sleep and study.

TWO. Write down your study schedule (see point two) AND PUT IT ON YOUR WALL.  Split it up PER DAY.

THREE. Print off the tutorials/lectures/whatever else you will need in advance (download that TV series…)

Now at least you are all set for the block and you can feel like you have achieved something. Take the day off. 

IMG_0288

 

2. Plan study for your exams BACKWARDS.

 

Say you have exams A, B, C and D in that order.  Study for D first, then C, then B, then A.

That way, when you have JUST finished studying A, you will do the exam, rather than study for it first and then forget everything you’ve learnt by the time the exam comes around.  After A, study for B (and if you have time, C)…and so on and so forth.  Put this schedule on your wall (see point 1).

Here’s a little example - you get the first Saturday and Sunday off as a treat ^^:

Exam schedule

 

3. Work in 30 Minute Blocks and TIME YOURSELF

 

Sometimes we I have the attention span of a goldfish.  The moment I would sit down to study, I would suddenly remember my desk needs cleaning, emails need replying, dishes need washing… you get the gist.

To make it less daunting to sit down and START (and then actually do something!), aim for 30 minute blocks of UNINTERRUPTED study.

Switch your phone off, close Facebook (use Leechblock if you have to!), shut down your email (and maybe even disconnect the internet?!)…just for half an hour.

It will be hard at first, as your mind won’t be used to concentrating for that long.  After half an hour though, give yourself a break. Leave the desk, talk to someone, walk around…then come back for another half an hour.

By working in short uninterrupted spurts, you are much more efficient at actually learning, and your mind can concentrate a lot better – and possibly for longer.

I like to think also that sometimes information needs to marinate a little (my brain = tender lamb chops) so that I can actually understand it.  By taking breaks, it gives my brain muscle time to marinate and rest. 

Also, it’s gratifying to know that half an hour was PURE STUDY.

You can also use this timer :)

Stopwatch

 

4. Schedule in breaks

 

Pick a night a week. I always took Friday nights off.

Not only should you give your brain a break every half an hour or so, but you should also have a “break day” every week of your exam block.  Even if it isn’t an entire day but an evening or morning, force yourself to leave your desk and get some fresh air.

Even the week before my thesis was due, I took Friday night off.  I shut my books/computer at 3pm and didn’t look at anything until the next day.  It’s an important part of being healthy; a change of scenery will not only refresh you but motivate you for the next burst.

As the weeks roll on by, don’t be afraid to take a break for a couple of hours a day, to do something different.  Your brain will thank you.

Just try not to have a break too often – and don’t forget to stick to the plan…! :P

pool

 

5. Give yourself a daily hours study goal and STICK WITH IT!

 

When I first started timing myself, I realised I would work only 30% of the time I sat at my desk. 

dont-give-up-dtr09bot5-154954-500-333

Lord know what I would do – surf the net, read the news, watch series (every exam block would be a new series…).

The best cure? Giving myself a goal of the number of hours that day I wanted to study (PURE ACTUAL STUDY) and sticking with it.

When I started this, I realised I was sitting at my desk all day and doing only about 3 hours.  By the end of fourth year though, an average study day was probably 5 – 6 hours.

A really good day? 8 hours.

Thesis due next week? 10.

Once my daily goal was done, I was off the hook for the rest of the day (a good incentive to get the hours out early…).

But remember, you can’t cheat! Time the number of hours that you actually study for.  If you pick up the phone? STOP THE CLOCK. Open Facebook? STOP THE CLOCK. 

It’s a brutally honest way of showing yourself how much time you actually study and once you have a baseline you can work from there.  Don’t get disenchanted, just keep working at it.

***

Part 2 of Study Secrets will be out at some point in the future! Stay tuned…but in the meantime please share – what are your tips to get you through your exam blocks?

 

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Are you a budding Sudanese Entrepreneur?

Thanks to my father for the heads up on this initiative!


The British Council in Khartoum, in collaboration with a few local players in Sudan including Sudanese Young Businessmen Association and Sudani Telcom has launched a competition for budding Sudanese entrepreneurs.

Called "Mashrouy", which translates to "My Project" in Arabic, the aim is to select 12 people/teams from the pool of applications for a competition to be aired at Blue Nile Satellite Station.

It is open for Sudanese people - both in Sudan and overseas - aged 18 to 40 - who have a business (commercial) idea that needs funding. In addition to the cash prize (SDG200,000, 150,000 and 100,000 for the top three)  there is also the opportunity to spend three weeks in the UK for coaching.

The Sudan Vision Daily has some information here and Alnilin also has a bit more information.

The 'Mashrouy' website (in Arabic) has the application form - closing date 20 May 2013.

[box type="info"] “The completion we are launching today is seeking ambitious bright young people in Sudan who have creative business proposals that needs support to be developed”, said the British Charge d’ Affaires Mr. David Belgrove in his address in the conference. Adding that the future and growth of the country require investment in youth and we hope that through this project young Sudanese will be able to kick-off the ground their innovative ideas and contribute to the growth and development of the economy of their country. He concluded by saying that all over the world with very few exceptions, all the largest companies in the world have started as a small business”.[/box]


This is an awesome opportunity for young Sudanese and those with ideas and the drive to push them to fruition.

There are numerous barriers to entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in Sudan, but this may well be one of the avenues around those barriers.  I encourage all young Sudanese reading this to consider putting in an application or forward it to someone who might find it of use!

 

Speech Notes from IPAA YPN/CEO Breakfast

  This week, I was honoured and humbled to be asked to speak at the Institute of Public Administration Australia’s ACT Breakfast for Young Professionals and CEO’s on International Women’s Day.  Although not focused on IWD as such, it is an opportunity for IPAA to bring young female speakers to share a little about their experiences, and I chose to share thoughts on how to truly and effectively engage young people.

I should note the event itself was fabulous; held at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra in a fabulous hall, it was also playing host to a great concept, bringing the graduates and the heads of department together on the same table.  More of this needs to be done!

The crux of the presentation was around the two following slides:

From an organisation’s point of view (best practices):

image

From an individual’s point of view (best practices):

image

I won’t give away all the explanations, but one of the key points from above is the biggest learning I have taken away from my recent experiences:

Looking for uncommon opportunities.

Stretching your mind, erasing the boundaries of the box and redrawing them, finding stimuli and inspiration in unlikely places – this is all related to taking advantage and looking for uncommon opportunities.  Opportunities and experiences that may not have obvious or direct relevance to your current role still have the capacity to broaden your mind and perhaps send you on paths that you may have not considered, but paths that are equally worthwhile.

Personal Example: accepting a role on the Board of the Queensland Museum as a young engineering student.

Unlikely benefit: gaining an understanding and appreciation for the cultural precinct and the important of the museum, but also effectively enabling and encouraging the inclusion of young people (and minority groups) in the Museum’s target audience.

***

Offering the skills you have rather than the skills you think they need is also a big learning, and one that really reshaped the way I looked at being involved at the consultative level as a young person.

***

So this is just a brief snapshot of some of the things talked about at the presentation, and practical ways young people can be involved and at the same table as the movers and shakers.

Hope this is useful! Would love to hear your thought on true youth engagement!

10 Bites of Inspiration: Life and Hope

I am a little bit of a sucker for well put together quotes and pieces of literature that encapsulate a sentiment on life.  Here are some quotes, bites, words of wisdom that have provided some food for thought and encouragement for me in the past.  I hope you enjoy!**tumblr_m7jjyixdlD1ru1b3zo1_500

 

1.

“Hope has a cost. Hope is not comfortable or easy. Hope requires personal risk. It is not about the right attitude. Hope is not about peace of mind. Hope is action. Hope is doing something. The more futile, the more useless, the more irrelevant and incomprehensible an act of rebellion is, the vaster and more potent hope becomes. Hope never makes sense. Hope is weak, unorganized and absurd. Hope, which is always nonviolent, exposes in its powerlessness, the lies, fraud and coercion employed by the state. Hope knows that an injustice visited on our neighbor is an injustice visited on all of us. Hope posits that people are drawn to the good by the good. This is the secret of hope's power. Hope demands for others what we demand for ourselves. Hope does not separate us from them. Hope sees in our enemy our own face.

CHRIS HEDGES

2.

“The bad news: there is no key to the universe. The good news: it was never locked.”

SWAMI BEYONDANANDA

3.

“If you look at history, even recent history, you see that there is indeed progress...Over time, the cycle is clearly, generally upwards. And it doesn't happen by laws of nature. And it doesn't happen by social laws . . . It happens as a result of hard work by dedicated people who are willing to look at problems honestly, to look at them without illusions, and to go to work chipping away at them, with no guarantee of success - in fact, with a need for a rather high tolerance for failure along the way, and plenty of disappointments.”

NOAM CHOMSKY

4.

“People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily”

ZIG ZIGLAR

 

5.

“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.”

ZIG ZIGLAR

 

6.

“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you're going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”

ANNE LAMOTT

 

7.

“There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I’m going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.”

ELIZABETH GILBERT

 

8.

”Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.”

H. JACKSON BROWN JR.

 

9.

"Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you"

CAROLINE MYSS

 

10.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”

ALBERT EINSTEIN 

  5794587316_51dcbf5eed_z-- **Some of these photos are unsourced as I have saved them without their origin…if you know the source or would like the photo to be accredited, please let me know!

10 Useful, Brain Sharpening Websites for 2013!

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Since finishing school and university, I have found that I miss the formal learning side of those years.  Luckily though, I have access to the internet, and with that a plethora of interesting tools; courses, podcasts and interesting articles to keep the brain busy and working.

1. The Conversation

The Conversation is an independent source of analysis, commentary and news from the university and research sector viewed by 550,000 readers each month. Our team of professional editors work with more than 3,600 registered academics and researchers from 240 institutions.

I get the daily newsletter in my inbox every morning and it is a fabulous bit of e-kit, with often plenty of thought provoking discussion and perspectives to keep my mental juices flowing.

2. The Economist Easily my favourite weekly magazine, it also has a robust online counterpart with good articles, forums for discussion and lively debates galore.  Oh, and it isn’t just about economics.

3. TED If you haven’t discovered TED, you haven’t truly lived on the internet.

4. Khan Academy Videos on everything and anything. Fabulous, and very informative…and many mates at uni used this to learn their courses.

5. Vocabulary.com A fun way to learn new words, and very comprehensive! I have an issue with retaining all the new words I learn, but adding something to the vocab every week is probably a way to go.

Vocabulary.com is the easiest, most intelligent way to improve your vocabulary. It combines an adaptive learning system (The Challenge) with the world’s fastest dictionary (The Dictionary) so that you can more quickly and more efficiently learn words.

6. NPR Podcasts An amazing resource for the richest plethora of podcasts imaginable.  Good ones include How to do everything, Stuff you missed in History Class and Freakonomics Radio.

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7. Sociological Images They say: Sociological Images is designed to encourage all kinds of people to exercise and develop their sociological imagination by presenting brief sociological discussions of compelling and timely imagery that spans the breadth of sociological inquiry. I say: This is the whole “critical thinking” part of English class I loved.

8. Sporacle Mentally stimulating procrastination through quizzes!

9. MIT’s open courseware As MIT are so awesome, they let you access all their knowledge. For free. You can download the study material, the lectures, the videos and learn it all yourself.  Go!

10. Coursera.org

We are a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. We envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions. Our technology enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students.

Through this, we hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.

This website is gold.  Fabulous resource for anything…I’ve signed up to a few courses that begin in January so I am looking forward to it!

So there are some tools that can keep the little grey cells stimulated…what about you? Do you find anything particularly useful?