A Visit from Australian National University

On March 3-4, the Xu-Ricci Dialogue Research Center hosted a team of post-graduate students training in development studies from the Australian National University’s Crawford School for Public Policy. The team recently visited Shanghai to compete in the regional finals of the prestigious Hult Global Challenge. This is the world’s largest student competition which seeks to provide a public platform for young social entrepreneurs  to propose solutions to pressing development issues.  The Hult Prize was recently named one of the top five ideas changing the world by President Bill Clinton and TIME Magazine.  In partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, the Hult Competition identifies and launches catalytic social ventures that aim to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges. Student teams compete in five cities around the world for a chance to secure USD 1 million in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture.

The 2013 Hult Prize is themed around global food security and will focus on how to get safe, sufficient, affordable and easily accessible food to the 200 million people who live in urban slums – a challenge personally selected by President Clinton.  Each team selected was chosen from more than 10,000 applications received, totaling over 350 colleges and universities, representing over 150 countries. The Hult Prize regional competitions took place on March 1 and 2, 2013 on Hult International Business School’s five campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. The global winner will be decided by a panel from the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in September in New York , and will be awarded the USD 1,000,000 Prize by President Bill Clinton.  CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. President Clinton has noted that “The Hult Prize is a wonderful example of the creative cooperation needed to build a world with shared opportunity, shared responsibility, and shared prosperity, and each year I look forward
to seeing the many outstanding ideas the competition produces.”

This year’s team members include students Gil Francis Arevalo (Philippines), Shannon Bourke (Australia), Kathryn Hayward (New Zealand), Mahawira Singh Dillon (Indonesia), and Denise Anne Suarez (Philippines). Dr Paul D'Arcy from School of Culture, History & Language in ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, will be the mentor and advise for the team. The team presented an innovative social enterprise model which utilizes the potential of aquaponics. The team's proposal will aim to address issues relating to food insecurity, financial incapacity, limited social enterprise operations and opportunities through partnerships. " The ANU team believes that to address accessibility, affordability and sustainability on food production and distribution in most urban slums, aquaponics provides an avenue for it to be both technically feasible, and socially and economically desirable.

"Shared passions and commitment to making a difference through revolutionary social enterprises that combine the best of public and private partnership owned by communities are the two recurring traits that best describe the new ANU Team," said Arevalo, who serves as the team coordinator.  While determined to make the finals in New York, the team have already formed partnerships with 4 of the world’s most innovative Aquaponic companies, and were committed to making their dream happen regardless of the result of the Hult Competition. Team Mentor, Dr. Paul D’Arcy also noted that the team had also been particularly heartened by the mood of cooperation between competing student teams which had resulted in the team committing to forming partnerships with like-minded students in Asian universities such as Fudan and the Hult Business School Shanghai campus.  The team greatly appreciated their interaction with staff from the Xu-Ricci Dialogue Research Center of Fudan University and hoped to develop much closer ties in the years to come.