Global Leaders’ Summit 2017- Day One

 Professor Susan Elliott

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Education), Professor Susan Elliott.


This first session of the Summit will set the scene for the following two days. It is designed to encourage lively discussion on the many aspects of “Professions of the Future”, an issue of critical importance for the University, university students and the Global Leaders, regardless of sector. The session will include four main areas for discussion: disruptions, skills, the role of employers and business, and the role of universities.

This first session will be Livestreamed from 9.40 this morning and questions encouraged via Twitter. Join the conversation using #MonashAlumniGLS  []

Facilitator: Professor Susan Elliott, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Education) Susan leads a dedicated Education portfolio, and is focused on actively promoting engagement and advocacy in shaping Monash University’s education agenda. Medical education has been a key focus among her research interests, and she has published extensively on the scholarship of education.

Educating for the Professions of the Future, by Professor Susan Elliott

The global job market is in the grip of fundamental change.

With technological advancements and job automation many jobs will disappear and new ones will emerge. As workplaces expand across the globe and the virtual workplace takes a stronger hold, there will be greater expectation for people to work outside traditional arrangements and accept greater fluidity between their professional and personal lives. Employers will also have more choice over who they employ and under what arrangements, resulting in increased outsourcing of work, temporary contracts, or ‘gig’ jobs.  

This means that people will likely change jobs more frequently, work under precarious arrangements, or be self-employed.

The expanding global pool of tertiary educated workers, particularly those from developing nations, will also have an impact and will allow employers access to a wider choice of workers. It will also increase competition for graduate jobs and reduce the relative advantage tertiary graduates from developed nations have enjoyed.

Such changes mean that university students of today must be prepared for a working life characterised by unpredictable ruptures, shifts, and turns. If they are to respond to these challenges, they will need to be adaptable and resilient.

At Monash University we are committed to offering our students an education that is forward-thinking and future-focused. We will teach them the skills to be employable – not only in the years to come, but in the decades to come. This is why we are implementing a program called Professions of the Future, which will provide a series of strategies to guarantee that we are equipping our students for work in the 21st century.

We are currently undergoing consultation with institutional colleagues, alumni, and industry stakeholders about how best to prepare our students for the future of work. This feedback will guarantee that we are delivering courses that combine disciplinary knowledge with a suite of professional skills designed to distinguish our students as being agile, entrepreneurial, and ambitious. It will also ensure that we are harnessing Monash’s national and global reach to define our students’ opportunity horizons and give them the chance to learn and work alongside our research and industry partners.

Monash University is an institution committed to excellence and enterprise. The Professions of the Future agenda will leverage our strengths, our talents, and our networks to ensure our graduates are positioned to embrace whatever opportunities the future brings.

Sharon Pickering

Dean, Faculty of Arts, Professor Sharon Pickering.


This session is designed to showcase research excellence through presentations by esteemed Monash researchers, highlighting their work tackling global challenges. Presenters will frame their presentations around their research journey. The audience will be introduced to how interdisciplinary research with global impact can grow from initial research questions that can be highly specialised, contained, theoretical or local in nature.

Facilitator: Professor Sharon Pickering, Dean, Faculty of Arts. Sharon is a Professor of Criminology and Dean of Arts at Monash University.
She researches irregular border crossing and has written in the areas of refugees and trafficking, with a focus on gender and human rights. Sharon is also the Founder and Director of the Border Crossing Observatory.

Global Development by Sharon Pickering and Jacqui True

“In the 1960s and 70s we thought that technology transfer from the Global North to the South would address the problem of under-development, poverty and poor human health. We have come a long way from those ‘green revolution’ days. We now know that developed countries, policy elites and top researchers don’t have the solutions to intractable development problems – that at their base are not technical problems but often problems of governance and structural inequality built into political, social and economic systems. Poor communities and sometimes those most marginalised within these communities such as women and girls, youth and people with disabilities, know very well what their problems are and may have individual and collective solutions that are already working on a small scale or could work with further support.

Learning from them not us - transforming the power relations of knowledge and technology

For example through the Centre For Gender Peace and Security at Monash University our task is to transform those power relations of knowledge by working alongside those communities – in particular to amplify the voices of women and girls so that their needs, good practices, and solutions reach decision makers and policy makers at local, national, regional and international levels; so that they are put into dialogue with existing frameworks and solutions offered at the macro level.

Our researchers start from the perspective that those who live with problems of poverty, violence and inequality may have ideas and practices that work to ameliorate these issues and that, ultimately, they are the ones who will have to implement any solutions, and so must be a part of research processes to generate evidence on what works and be involved in co-designing development or technological interventions.  

The work in areas such as Gender Peace and Security necessitates co-researching with women in civil society organisations and at the community level across a range of conflict-affected, fragile and developing countries (in Indonesia, Colombia, Myanmar, Kenya, Vanuatu to name just a few), acting as brokers to bring their unique knowledge and innovative practice on countering and preventing violent extremism, on ending gender-based violence, on resolving conflict and sustaining peace into dialogue with governments, international organisations and the research community. They know what works – it is our job to support their solutions by putting it into a framework, generating data and evidence to ensure their knowledge counts – is heard and resourced by institutions.

Research impact through collaboration and partnership – what does that mean?

At Monash our approach is not to do excellent research and then bring that research to impact policy and governance and eventually communities. Our journey is the reverse of this. How do we do this? We partner with civil society organisations, international NGOs and governments that share the same normative purpose - to give marginalised women voice and power alongside elite white men to show how peace can be made, violence can be stopped and people can participate in decision-making about their communities and their futures.

Our postgraduate students doing PhD research learn to co-research with these partners and with research participants such as grassroots women, to appreciate their knowledge and to share their findings and analysis throughout the research journey to ensure its rigorous assessment and credibility with those partners. They don’t wait until they have secured an academic publication to be excellent – they write up their analysis in blogs, policy-briefings and share their learning in face to face meetings and debriefings so that this knowledge can be translated into action.

Because as we have learnt – the value of research is in the insight it offers into what is to be done, how can we change outcomes here and now and not in five years or in a generation. Our post-graduates studying international development practice are having an industry grounded experience and immersed in a research environment where the purpose is to be a change agent and a collaborator. Because only together, in partnership, can we begin to address global challenges, which are manifold, which compound one another, and which at base are linked to unjust power and inequality. Their futures as researchers may not be in academic institutions – they may be in government and non-government organisations, in think-tanks, consultancies and movements but the skills of the academic analyst remain central to transforming power relations and are valuable in myriad organisations.

Australia is leading in this space of co-researching and co-designing development solutions by partnering and collaborating with communities, NGOs and universities.

As researchers we are following the lead of our government (from the local communities we engage in to the global stage): Australia’s main claim to fame in addressing international development challenges is in recognising the multiple exclusions and forms of marginalisation in communities that prevent them from harnessing the full potential and talents of their communities in solutions. Australia has a particular focus on the intersection of disability, gender and youth in development interventions. Empowering these communities and ensuring inclusive outcomes is a core objective. Australia has committed under the current government that 80 per cent of all development aid must address the core objective of gender equality. Recognising the specific and the multiple barriers and challenges of communities is essential for the achievement of local and global goals of economic development, sustainability, and peace. No Australian Aid project, security or diplomatic intervention can afford to ignore social and political inequality, marginalisation and exclusion – they are at base the problems of development, which hamper communities here as well as well as over-there. But these problems in conflict-affected, low income and fragile states are of a complexity, scale and specificity that can only be appreciated through partnership and co-researching.”