Global Voices Exchange: Ben Brooks attends Israel Trade Mission, with help from alumni giving
Thanks to alumni donations directed to the Student Activity Fund, a third year Arts/Law student has helped to raise the profile of young Australian entrepreneurs by joining the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) trade mission in Tel Aviv.
Ben Brooks gained the unique diplomatic experience as part of the Global Voices AICC Australian Youth Delegation.
Among the highlights of the Mission were meetings with the Governor of the Bank of Israel, the Office of the Chief Scientist, as well as an introduction to entrepreneurial and investment communities including the Google Israel R&D Centre.
Brooks believes Australian policymakers, investors and entrepreneurs have much to learn from Israel.
"Israel is a community of ambitious, serial entrepreneurs. Australian high-tech entrepreneurs, by contrast, struggle to attract investment from domestic sources. They move overseas in search of support, so we have this 'brain drain' of enterprising young talent."
This theme is the focus of a research paper Brooks produced as part of the delegation, examining the potential contribution high-tech entrepreneurs make to domestic economic growth and why the government should do more to support such entrepreneurial 'ecosystems'.
Brooks represented the faculty alongside fellow Arts student Caroline Marohasy in the 2013 Global Voices delegation. Marohasy visited Nairobi Kenya, where she met with representatives from several UN institutions, and produced a research project on female sanitation and girl's education in the Kibera slum. Their Global Voices placement was fully supported by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
In the lead-up to their departure, Brooks and Marohasy recently attended a forum in Canberra, where they met with the Governor General Quentin Bryce, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, and Minister for Trade Craig Emerson.
Brooks, who is Deputy Chief Editor of the Sydney Globalist international relations journal, says he hopes to continue his long-time interest in foreign affairs by pursuing a diplomatic or journalistic career.
"Speaking as a history student, the AICC delegation is an opportunity to experience an ancient, incredibly rich culture. But more than that, it will provide valuable exposure to disciplines like business, applied science, and international relations which I haven't studied in a formal context. It's a chance to see cultural diplomacy in practice."
Established in 2011, Global Voices is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to create opportunities for young Australians to engage with international policy both at home and abroad.