Why student leadership?

Activities through government, educational institutions and student groups encourage international students to develop their leadership capacities. These students often take advocacy, representative, peer mentoring and support roles. Leadership is often rewarded by accolades and other formal acknowledgements. But why is student leadership important? What are the key leadership attributes and how can students develop these? Four international students describe their experience of developing as leaders, their motivations, expectations and the benefits of this development. They have suggestions about how leadership programs might benefit more students, and how these benefits might extend beyond their student lives.

Chair: Gary Lee

International Education Project Coordinator, City of Melbourne

Dynamic, creative and forward thinking, Gary Lee specialises in the areas of high level strategic planning and design; policy development and advice; design and delivery of complex projects (including festivals and arts programming), student wellbeing initiatives and community grants.

Gary leads the international student portfolio at the City of Melbourne. Having earned a reputation as an affable and versatile collaborator, Gary has worked on many award-winning projects and programs including the ‘Act of Translation’ theatre project, the Lord Mayor’s Student Welcome, EDGE International Student Leaders’ Program, The Salvation Army 614 – The Couch and the Essendon Football Club GLoBALL Program.

In January 2016, Gary was announced as the Australia Day Council ‘New Australian of the Year 2016’ for his contributions in empowering culturally and linguistically diverse communities through dance, sport and fashion.  In 2018, he was the recipient of the prestigious IEAA ‘Distinguished Contribution to International Education’ award.

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