High Resolves – creating citizens and leaders

High Resolves – creating citizens and leaders


High Resolves is a leader in the design and
delivery of immersive learning experiences for young people, and particularly around
citizenship education. Society has tended to completely undervalue
the voice of young people. We don’t let them vote, we don’t particularly
care about their views on policy issues, and one of the things we care a lot about at High
Resolves is actually activating young people so that their voice could be expressed, and
then do whatever we can to amplify that message. Training young people to be able to be more
confident, more informed about the issues and to not feel afraid about injecting their
voice and to shaping policy discussions; I think it’s something they’re willing to
do in greater and greater numbers. The question for us is, as adults, are we
willing to listen? I spend a lot of my life really thinking about
growth strategy and about how you try to take small things and make them big things. And I always thought about that in the corporate
context, but really, all those same principles apply in the social sector as well. And in many ways, High Resolves has been an
experiment in applying business thinking, entrepreneurship, to social innovation, and
what we’ve been trying to do is take this really interesting and powerful learning we’ve
had over the years about how you work with young people to create transformational experiences
to get them to act in the long-term collective interest of humanity. The problem is way bigger than any single
organisation could address on its own. In Australia, we currently are working with
about five per cent of young people in Australia; our aim is to be working with about 50 per
cent in the next 4-5 years. Central to that is increasing our reach, and
university partnerships are really critical. So, UTS is for us a really important partnership
for us here in Sydney, but increasingly in the rest of the world it’s all about partnering
so we can reach more and more young people. And really for us, it’s actually – the
sky is the limit, when you think about it, because there’s no end to the amount of
work you could do to prepare people to be better citizens. It’s a real honour to be receiving this
award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year from the Schwab Foundation. In many ways, while it’s a personal honour,
what really makes me happy is it’s drawing attention to High Resolves and the work that
we’re doing around citizenship education. If you look at the world and you look at the
problems of society, so many of them come back to the need to have a more active citizenry
that’s engaged in the life of the community. And by drawing attention to the work that
we’re doing, whether it’s through this award or other types of things, it just means
we’re going to be able to expand that work, and that’s where I derive the greatest joy.

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