Home' InDaily : March 25th 2010 Contents 4|Vol21No2March2010
Alexis de Tocqueville (a 19th century
French philosopher) who takes a keen
observing eye to the United States and
discovers what is great about it and what
needs to be improved," he said.
"It is especially important for young
people to be engaged with the United
States. Every generation determines for
itself the value of the US-Australia
Alliance and where the Alliance will go.
People in their 40s and 50s have already
discovered the benefits and substance
of our relationship but for it to renew,
to continue to be strong, it is going to
take this active engagement and
commitment by young people."
Mr Bleich is looking forward to
working with, and learning from,
Australians in his new role --
"Australians have a very interesting
perspective and a fun approach to
work which is, 'we are in this together,
let's all proceed to solve a problem,
and then go out and have a beer'."
Gaining an inside view of Washington
Flinders University's internship program
in Washington DC provides invaluable
insights into the working of Congress
and could produce another great social
and political commentator, according to
the new US Ambassador to Australia,
Mr Jeff Bleich.
On his first official visit to South Australia
as Ambassador, Mr Bleich was briefed by
a group of Flinders students who had
recently returned from Washington
where they had worked for various
members of Congress. The tasks
undertaken by the interns ranged from
filing and phone calls to attending
Congressional committee hearings,
drafting briefs for legislation and dealing
A Washington insider with White House
experience in both the Clinton and
Obama Administrations, Mr Bleich said
Flinders' internship program provided an
invaluable opportunity to exchange
information and ideas and contribute to
the long term strength of the
Ambassador Bleich (left), Professor Don DeBats
"Flinders' study program is extraordinary
and learning about the direct access that
these interns had to high level political
leaders in Congress, and the things they
got to work on, was breath-taking,"
Mr Bleich told Flinders Journal.
"Add to that the fact that the interns are
writing studies and reports on the issues
of great interest to the United States.
One of these students could be the next
Life in a refugee camp
The film tells the story of
John, a young Sudanese man
discrimination and violence
as he tries to make a better
life for himself while dealing
with painful memories.
In the role of John, Yasmine cast
Stephen Tongun, a fourth-year law/
"I've had a lot of interaction with the
Sudanese community over about 10
years and heard a lot of stories similar to
John's," Ms Ernst said.
"I also did a research topic into the media
misrepresentation of Sudanese gangs.
My friends talked to me about the way
they felt they were being negatively
portrayed in the media and how it
affected their lives," she said.
"I don't think it's fair. It's an amazing
journey that many refugees take and
instead of seeing how remarkable
that is, we often only tend to see
the bad stuff."
At just six months of age, Mr Tongun
fled with his family from Sudan to Kenya
where he lived for 12 years before
coming to Australia.
"I have been a refugee all my life,"
Mr Tongun said.
"I could relate to John. I was very conscious
of the issues of racism and
discrimination," he said.
"I want people to be moved by the film, by
the importance and relevance of it.
It's not only a problem for African
communities but refugees on the whole."
Yasmine, Stephen and refugee youth
advocate Khadija Gbla spoke about
refugee experiences at a sold-out forum
this month to coincide with the first
public screening of Never Forget.
Presented by the Flinders University
Migrant and Refugee Research Cluster
and the Don Dunstan Foundation, the
forum was attended by more than 130
community representatives and
members of South Australia Police who
work with refugee communities. There
are plans for a second public screening of
the film in coming months.
Film urges refugee acceptance
Two Flinders students have come together
with a view to changing the public
perception of refugees -- through film.
Yasmine Ernst developed the script for
her short film Never Forget as part of her
Bachelor of Creative Arts Honours project
while volunteering in Guatemala in 2008
-- coincidentally around the time
Sudanese schoolboy Daniel Awak was
murdered in Adelaide.
Flinders University Migrant and Refugee Research Cluster
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