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Julien Leyre is a writer, educator and mentor. He started up numerous initiatives over his lifetime. He is a founder and is currently working at the Founders of Governors Agency (FoGA).
What inspired you to want to go into tackling societal issues? Was it always on your mind or did you ‘fall’ into the industry? Could you maybe tell us about FoGA?
Born in France and interested in language and culture, moving to Australia and finding out more about Asia was the turning point in Julien’s life. Seeing the possibility to combine the traditions of Asia and Europe in Australia, Julien decided to learn Chinese. He founded a project called Marco Polo which brought together the voices of intellectuals through collaborative translations.
In 2016, he got a call from Sweden where there was a new foundation that looked at catastrophic disasters that could severely damage the world and how we can plan and prepare for that. There was a competition in 2018 to propose how to change the agencies we have in place today, such as the UN. The drive behind FoGA is to allow people to learn the basic building blocks of communicating issues and creating a conversation.
With the uncertainty of the future and where the world will develop but how do we prepare the current people of today for the change?
Covid acted as a wake up call for people and all of our plans were ruined. But the pandemic isn’t anything new but we act as if the world will be the same as yesterday, everyday. This is delusional. The most important thing we can learn is to develop an idea that risks are here and anything can happen. Also we must organize our lives in a way that is resilient and in survival mode.
Develop a life that is more balanced. We have to have a good work life balance as during covid, those friends and small interactions are very important. It’s not always about having a global network because at times like covid, we were stuck to those who are close to us physically. Building a good relationship with yourself and with your partner or loved ones is very important.
We see these changes all over the world. Students often feel like they are a tiny speck on the global stage. What would your advice be on how students can start and be part of the change?
Julien suggested that we should firstly develop a good idea of what is our desire and what is actually fuelling that desire to be part of the change. It is important to find people who will listen. Sometimes, less is more and it is crucial that you understand what your message and desire is before you try and persuade others of that change. The biggest thing that Julien suggests people do is think “how can you create conditions where others are likely to listen to you?”
If you could leave the youth with one piece of advice, what would it be?
“Less effort, more presence”. You should decide on what you want to achieve and keep chipping away at that rather than trying to grasp everything at once.
From the Guest Student
Julien Lyre provided an incredibly exclusive insight into the growing capacity of technology to revolutionise how governmental systems operate. Power has evolved from traditional military might to include more ideational forms of power resources, and technological innovation in government is the key to reflecting this transition. I was fascinated by his discussion about the potential for technological mechanisms to address issues ranging from wealth redistribution to terrorism. I deeply appreciated Julien’s guidance about developing good judgment and how to effectively articulate one’s ideas through empathy. While our seniors may offer valuable perspectives, having good judgement enables us to personally make decisions in unique and dynamic situations. Furthermore, employing a softer tone of voice can often make our ideas resonate better with our audience. Overall, it was a tremendous pleasure to be a part of the interview and I look forward to reading a copy of Julien’s book!
– Naylin Al, currently studying at the University of Melbourne as well as the newest member of the team.