CHAMPION COLUMN | Peacemakers say another world is possible

Cabramatta High School principal Beth Godwin.

Cabramatta High School principal Beth Godwin.

Global economist and champion of equality, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, is getting the Sydney Peace Prize on November 16. Professor Stiglitz leads and challenges communities, governments and business to support a fairer economy which will create a peaceful and sustainable future for all of humanity.

In real terms he speaks out against the distribution of wealth and power that sees the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. This, in turn, sees one element of the community having more opportunity, power, access to education and life choices.

His challenge to all of us is: “How can we break the cycle of power and greed to enable all peoples and the planet to flourish?”

You may be wondering what this has to do with schools and education. Australian education is an example of where equity and fairer distribution of economy is needed to ensure that all students flourish.

The research and recommendations by Professor Gonski highlighted this. Through providing more funding to schools and students in less wealthy communities the educational outcomes of those communities would be greater.

This call for fairness, though logical, was not greeted with open arms by everyone. True funding equity has not been achieved.

It is people like Professors Stiglitz and Gonski who keep agitating and reminding that the success of the planet – and education – is only possible if everyone has a fair access to opportunity.

At Cabramatta High School we are privileged to host Joseph Stiglitz in a celebration of peace. We will be joined by 22 other schools to learn from him. The students have been preparing for this visit for months. A feature will be a Peace Relay in the community with students gifting ceramic white poppies, as a symbol of peace, to significant community leaders.

The other opportunities include the school captains interviewing Professor Stiglitz, student performances and the release of white doves.

The title of this year’s Peace Day is “Another World is Possible”. This optimistic statement, created by youth, can be a reality through the tireless efforts of advocates such as Stiglitz and Gonski. 

I encourage students that one person can make a difference. I also challenge readers: “What are you prepared to do to ensure equity and fairness locally or globally?”

BETH GODWIN

Principal, Cabramatta High School

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