For the past two years, we have lived through a great wave of change forced by the global pandemic. Looking back, at times we have felt alone, vulnerable, desperate, and disoriented.
We have been hit by humanitarian, economic, social, ecological and political crises and, despite everything, we have begun to awaken what really counts.
Pope Francis reminds us that we are all, “In the same boat, all fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and necessary, all called to row together, all in need of mutual comfort.”
Faced with these difficulties, we are learning to rebuild on the basis of solidarity and hope. Our world asks us to move forward together in a new and truly human direction. This means stopping thinking and joining forces to seek sustainable and creative solutions that promote a culture of encounter.
UNIV22 will focus on how to rebuild together on the basis of solidarity and universal brotherhood.
Solicitor (NSW & ACT), Accredited Specialist, Personal Injury Law (Medical Negligence), PhD Candidate (UNDA), M. Bioethics (Harvard), LLM (res) (Syd), LLB (Hons), B Nurs (Hons) Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Law, The University of Notre Dame Sydney
Anna Walsh is a lawyer specializing in Medical Law and Bioethics. An Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury law, she spent 10 years as a Principal in the Medical Law department of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, where she acted for plaintiffs in a number of novel medical negligence cases as well as high profile inquests in the Coroner’s Court. She has published widely in Medical Law, is a regular speaker at conferences, and is an author for Lexis Nexis’ Practical Legal Guidance series. In 2011, she was named the Lawyer of the Year in Private Practice by the NSW Women Lawyers’ Association, and in 2018 was the winner of the 3MT competition at the University of Notre Dame Australia.
Anna is a PhD Candidate at the University of Notre Dame, completing a qualitative study on doctors and freedom of conscience. She teaches full time in the School of Law at University of Notre Dame in the subjects Advanced Torts, Mental Health Law, Remedies, Advocacy and Legal Research and Writing, and tutors in Bioethics in the School of Medicine. She is also an Adjunct Lecturer at the College of Law in Civil Litigation and Ethics, and practices as a private Legal Consultant. She has Honors degrees in Law and Nursing, a Master of Laws (res) from University of Sydney and a Master of Bioethics from Harvard Medical School.
(from The University of Notre Dame Sydney website)
The leader is not someone with an official position, a CEO, a boss. Leaders are found in communities, in schools, in families. The function of leaders is to coordinate, encourage, plan, work, think in the service of a good beyond themselves. You need both to build strategically in quiet times, and to respond quickly in times of crisis. What are the qualities of a good leader? Do you need to have an overwhelming personality, or always be right? How does a good leader manage his own flaws and weaknesses? What is the balance between speaking and listening, between dialogue and making firm and timely decisions? Leadership can also be seen as something for a chosen few: the gifted, the well connected, the persuasive. But is the leadership available to everyone? Who are some of the most unlikely leaders in history?
Did you ever think about the fact that only humans have hands? It may seem obvious, but it’s not. In the world of nature, we humans are uniquely vulnerable: wings, paws or flippers get you around a lot faster and farther; fur and feathers provide protection from the elements; refined senses, instincts, and defense mechanisms automatically kick in to ward off dangers and detect opportunities for growth.
But our vulnerability is at the same time our strength.
With our hands, we can build wings to fly.
With our hands, we can design our own habitat and weave our own wear.
With our hands, we can provide care, establish relations, protect ourselves and others.
Our hands are instruments open to infinite possibilities.
With our hands, we humanize the world.
Our basic needs become arts and professions: Medicine, Gastronomy, Architecture, Fashion, Communication, Education, Domestic Work, Design;
Our interdependence creates employment opportunities: Commerce, Health Care, Politics, Law, Economy, Business, International Affairs;
Our openness to infinite possibilities drives work forward: Technology, Entertainment, Innovation, Research, Creativity.
With our hands, we work. But have we always worked in the same way? Today the world of work is undergoing arguably the most drastic transformation since the Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century. Information technology, shifting social demographics and globalization are some of the factors that are shaping the ambiguous future of work, in which one-track careers are being replaced by multi-faceted professional trajectories, and personal capacities and aptitudes such as critical thinking, resilience, problem-solving and decision-making are increasingly valued over technical know-how.
The world of work in the 21st century is full of challenges: vast geographic and social inequalities, corruption, inefficient structures, forced labor, unrecognized and uncompensated work, human trafficking, unregulated activity in emerging sectors and high levels of youth unemployment…
So let’s get down to business. The 21st century professional is serious, dedicated, diligent, creative, transformational, focused, capable of persevering in an integrated cognitive and physical effort. What kind of personal development does a professional in today’s workforce need in order to convert needs into opportunities and vulnerabilities into strengths? How does one´s profession become an authentic service to society and the individuals who surround us? What can your hands do that a robotic arm cannot? What can you contribute that lies beyond the scope of artificial intelligence? The challenges are many… but our hands are open to infinite possibilities
A Chinese proverb says that “the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world.”
We live in a complex world, in a fabric of relationships that connect people and generations in a world where the past is intertwined with the present and where today is fruit of the visions, decisions and actions of the people who have preceded us. It is a beautiful, but at the same time, tormented world. It is our heritage and our mission.
Do you have a dream? Are you a rebel, a non-conformist, a dreamer? Do you see things as they are or how they could be?
Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? These are the great questions that resound within you, the university student. In the process of knowing yourself, you can discover the role you play in the world and consider the way you can concretely change society. Rethinking the future means taking a chance, and taking action.
Life is a story that is written in first person, but no one can write it without counting on others. No human life is ever isolated. It is bound up with other lives. No man or woman is a single verse; we all make up one poem (1).
During your university years, you will acquire the necessary tools to understand history and to write the next chapter. Essential tools are listening and memory, which lead us to appreciate the opportunity to find dialogue, openness, and intersubjectivity. In these encounters, one´s passion for the world awakens and true answers to problems arise. We need conversations and friends who will collaborate to change this world.
A single individual is enough for hope to exist,and that individual can be you. And then there will be another “you,” and another “you,” and it turns into an “us.” And so, does hope begin when we have an “us?” No. Hope began with one “you.” When there is an “us,” there begins a revolution (2).
Fifty years ago, the youths’ restlessness pushed them to lead a revolution that overthrew many points of reference in society, but did not propose constructive solutions. In the search for answers, freedom was confused with an absence of rules, and so the student protests of May 1968 fell short of the authentic greatness of the human person.
Today, the word ‘revolution’ implies an invitation to change as well as a certain fear of this change. But the young are brave, and not every revolution is a threat. Is it not human to perceive the insufficiencies of the present and to overcome them? For a change to be effective, each paradigm needs to be reflected on. If we do not reach the causes, principles and ends that are true to the dignity of all men, a revolution will not achieve its goal, but will end in chaos and destruction.
It is necessary to live up to what we have. Rethinking the future begins with you, now. The world challenges you. The simple condemnation of the problems is not enough.
Let us discover the heroes of our times and of all time – people who detected a problem and knew how to turn it into an opportunity for the good – to thank them and learn from their wisdom. Innovation drinks from the deep roots of tradition. We see further when standing on the shoulders of giants (3) … and now it is our turn.
Will you put your creativity, initiative and courage into play? Do you want to become a protagonist of the story?
With your friends, in the university and in the street, UNIV 2018 invites you to reflect on a specific problem and
start a revolution, even if it seems small. This challenge requires thinking deeply, discovering the causes of a negative situation and the different ways of confronting them. We cannot continue working and living on unstudied assumptions, relying on time to make things better. It is necessary to obtain the right information, and to act upon it with the enthusiasm and the commitment of youth. There is much to do.
Think about it: if not you, who? And if not now, when?
1 St. Josemaría Escrivá, Christ is Passing By, 111.
2 Pope Francis, Ted Talk, April 2017.
3 Isaac Newton, “Letters of Sir Isaac Newton to Robert Hooke”.