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International Student Leaders Forum 2020

Creating connections that count - leadership in the new normal

International Student Leaders Forum 2020

Creating connections that count - leadership in the new normal


How do you build personal and professional connections in an online world?

In the midst of a global pandemic, the 2020 International Student Leaders Forum will explore how students can lead and connect in the ‘new normal’.

From online networking and student advocacy, to career skills development and leading virtual teams this year’s event is an opportunity to connect with other students across Queensland and gain professional development. In 2020, the forum is 100% online and will be held over two half days on Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 October.


Register Now

You can register for the event here. Student registrations will be open until  Thursday 8 October 2020.

When the registration process is complete, you will receive a confirmation email of your attendance.  The email will also include a personalised link to use when joining the online Forum on both days.  Please store your confirmation email and personalised link in a secure location.



Where, when and why!


Monday 12 October ( 1:00pm – 5:00pm)


Tuesday 13 October (8:45am - 12:00pm)


Who can attend?

All current Queensland international and domestic students over the age of 18 are invited to attend. There is no cost to attend.


Benefits of attending

The 2020 Forum has been designed to be interactive, informative and enable attendees to network and engage with fellow students during the dedicated network sessions. You will hear from international presenters and Queensland industry leaders and undertake professional development that will support your current studies and future career goals.

All eligible students who participate in the event can also enrol in Launch U – The Queensland Government’s student micro-credential platform and be eligible to record their experiences at the event and gain points towards their Queensland Government backed digital badge. 

Students also have the option to sign up for the Queensland Student Hub Workshop Programs to participate in ongoing professional development workshops. 


Meet the speakers

Meet the speakers

Ben Southall ​- Forum MC

Ben Southall is a presenter, digital journalist and adventurer. His achievements include beating 35,000 to win the Best Job in the World in 2009 and became the ‘Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef’ in Australia.

In 2008 he climbed five of Africa’s highest mountains and ran five marathons during his circumnavigation of the continent with his Afritrex expedition. During 2011 he kayaked 1600kms along the Great Barrier Reef retracing Captain Cook’s ‘Voyage of Discovery’ with the Best Expedition in the World.

Ben has set a number of world records in the last few years; the Aussie 8 – the fastest ever ascent of the tallest mountain in each state in Australia, and the New Zealand 9 – the fastest ever completion of New Zealand’s Nine Great Walks – totalling 545km in 9 days.

In 2016 Ben and his wife Sophee completed their Best Life in the World expedition – a 55,000km, 12-month drive through 33 countries from Singapore to London. They both run successful travel websites that have become portals for would-be travellers from around the world.

He has presented his own series The Best Job in the World on Nat Geo’s Adventure Channel, which aired in more than 315 million homes in 165 countries and 34 languages. Ben works with the television networks in Australia and writes for a number of print and online communities. He is an Ambassador for Alton College, Tourism Queensland, the University of Queensland Business School, Alpina Watches, and a Patron of Sailabilty, a disabled sailing charity.

Ben’s production company creates digital video content and offers social media consultancy for a number of industries. He uses these skills to document and publicise his own adventures around the planet.

Sam Johnson - Keynote speaker

Sam Johnson is one of New Zealand’s most inspiring young citizens. His relentless energy to mobilise people around ideas has a magic ability in building movements that matter! Farm boy turned social entrepreneur, Sam’s work is on the leading edge of using the collective to overcome the bureaucratic - shifting our belief system about what is possible when teams, organisations and communities authentically connect and build empathy.

Sam became a household name in New Zealand when he started what has become New Zealand’s largest volunteer movement—the internationally acclaimed Student Volunteer Army. What started as a small social media page after the devastating Christchurch earthquakes has been mirrored across the globe as a movement for impact, not an organisation for ego.

Awarded Young New Zealander of the Year for his leadership, Communicator of the Year for his honest media commentary and a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award to remind him never to rest on success; in Sam’s world, there is no moment worth missing out on.

Sam developed a social enterprise in 2016 to connect generations and end social isolation in New Zealand. His venture joined forces with Mycare in 2017, reforming the home care sector through an AirBnB model of community support. Sam is now Head of Community Innovation at Mycare and helps recreate mutually beneficial models of community where they utilise Mycare's powerful technology to help realise ideas.

Sam is an Adjunct Fellow in the School of Education and Leadership at the University of Canterbury, #17 on the Readers Digest Most Trusted New Zealanders list, a member of the Ministry of Youth Development Partnership board, Westpac Sustainability Advisory Board and current Secretary of the International Association for Volunteer Effort.


International Student Leaders Forum 2020

Program of Events

Creating connections that count - leadership in the new normal

#inthistogether #ISLF #studyqld




Monday 12 October 2020


1:00pm – 1:05pm


Welcome and Housekeeping

Master of Ceremonies: Ben Southall

1:05pm – 1:15pm


Welcome to Country

1:15pm – 1:25pm


Forum Opening Address

Shannon Willoughby, Executive Director, Study Queensland

1.25pm – 1.45pm


Icebreaker & Networking Activity

Host: Christian Duell, WhiteLight Education

1.45pm – 2.00pm


Boost your professional skills in Queensland: Launch U

Speaker: Megan Short, Senior Projects Officer, Study Queensland

This session will provide an overview of Launch U – Study Queensland’s micro credential program that helps you develop your professional capabilities.

Hear about digital badges and how your participation in the International Student Leaders Forum can be used towards your personal e-portfolio.

2.00pm – 2.45pm


Keynote Speaker: Sam Johnson

Build Your Own Army!

Sam Johnson famously mobilised an army-for-good of 11,000 students to respond to the New Zealand earthquakes. He took to social media with a clear need to mobilize an ‘army’ of helpers to solve a real problem.

In this session you will learn how to build and lead student communities that create impact, integrate small ideas into organisations, and how to keep a good idea going. Sam will share with students his journey filled with real, raw, and practical approaches to leadership and life.

2.45pm – 3.05pm


Interactive Session: Student leadership and local impact

Students will break into small groups to discuss and workshop a personal project they can lead to create impact in their own networks and communities.

3.05pm – 3.10pm


Student Address: Queensland Student Advisory Panel (QSAP)

An introduction to the members of our 2020 Queensland Student Advisory Panel.

Hear what inspired these students to join QSAP and how they are bringing the student voice to government and industry.

3:10pm – 3:55pm


Breakout Series 1: Student Health & Wellbeing


Breakout Room #1.1

Topic: Mental Health & Resilience

Build your personal resilience and gain new tools to help support those around you.

Note: Record this session as an experience in Launch U for ‘Self-Management’. 


Breakout Room #1.2

Topic: Online Study Essentials

A toolkit for identifying and managing stress, optimising focus, and overcoming procrastination.

Note: Record this session as an experience in Launch U for ‘Self-Management’. 

3:55pm – 4:05pm


Movement Break and Live networking session

Participate in a quick movement activity between speakers or connect with other student delegates through the online networking lounge.

4:05pm – 4:30pm


Student Work Rights & Responsibilities

Hear the latest issues and updates regarding work rights for international students in Australia.

4:30pm – 5:00pm


Student Professional Development

Virtual Leadership Skills & Creating Connections

As work and study moves online, learn the most effective skills for leading and engaging others in online work environments.

Speaker: Christian Duell, WhiteLight Education

Note: Record this session as an experience in Launch U for ‘Digitally Effective’.

5:00pm - 5:05pm

MC Recap & Close




Tuesday 13 October 2020


8.45am – 9.00am


Pre Conference Live Networking            

Start the day with some new connections through our virtual networking lounge.

9:00am – 9:05am


Welcome, Housekeeping & Acknowledgement of Country

Master of Ceremonies

Ben will outline today’s agenda and share the most outstanding community leadership projects from yesterday’s interactive workshop session.

9:05am – 9:50am


Panel Discussion: Supporting Students in Queensland

This session will showcase Queensland student support initiatives and discuss ideas to further improve the student experience for international students in our state.

Note: Record this session as an experience in Launch U for ‘Emotionally Aware’. 

9:50am – 10:00am


Movement Break & Networking Session

Choose a movement activity from our platform, or take a few minutes to connect with other students in the virtual networking lounge.

10:00am – 10:40am


Panel Discussion: Student Employability & Skills of the Future

This session will explore the 6 skill areas essential to your future career. Hear from industry experts and employers about why these skills matter in the workplace and how you can start out from other job applicants.


10:40am – 10:50am

Virtual Networking Session

10:50am – 11:30am


Breakout Series 2: Networking & Collaboration


Breakout Session #2.1

Building diverse and effective teams.

This session will discuss the important of team building and connection, and how to work collaboratively with a diverse team.

Note: Record this session as an experience in Launch U for ‘Culturally Conscious and Collaborative.’


Breakout Session #2.2

Growing your networks and reach


Are you maximising your online networks?

Learn best practice networking skills in an online setting, using social media and technology.

Note: Record this session as an experience in Launch U for ‘Digitally Effective’.

11:30am – 12noon


MC Recap & Thank you

Present Networking Challenge Winner

Present Local Impact Idea Winner

Key Outcomes Overview – QSAP students

Closing Address





  • Attendees are to be currently enrolled as a student at a Queensland Institution and reside either domestically or internationally.
  • If you are not a student currently enrolled at a Queensland Institution you may not be eligible to attend and participate.
  • The forum is open to students who are over the age of 18 only


Access COVID-19 information and resources for students here.