Todays's episode is the second of three headline conversations that I hosted live at Renew Fest in May, and it's incredible to have such an energetic and progressive crowd in the background of the conversation.
Mehreen Faruqi is a civil & environmental engineer, academic, lecturer, & researcher, and was Australia’s first female Muslim MP in the NSW house, and is now Australia’s first Federal Muslim Senator.
In this conversation she shares her story of migrating to Australia in 1992 with her husband and 1 year old son, and how coming from Pakistan she just expected Australia to be this place that had it all figured out. You know, it’s a developed and wealthy country, it has good ‘metrics of success’ in terms of things like GDP and life expectancy, etc; and she tells how when she got here she experienced something completely different. She experienced what it’s like to be treated differently for being different.
She found that struggle for equality is universal
Now, being an engineer myself I have been ‘trained’, so to speak, to solve problems. Honestly that’s what I was told all throughout my studies. Here is a problem, find the parameters, the set of numbers that represents the problem at hand, find the right formula to crunch them or manipulate those parameters, then solve the problem and move onto the next one.
Mehreen is an engineer too, but we don’t talk about the set of numbers or agenda items she's trying to 'solve' as a politician. We talk about BIG issues like racism, sexism, and environmental destruction, and how these are not problems that can be solved from that Engineering mindset.
These issues are not isolated. They are coming from the same place, the same mentality, which is our lack of connection and relation to this planet and each other.
We can’t solve these issues by having isolated solutions.
She shares that when facing these societal issues we all have choices. Those choices include who we vote for and the leaders that we put in place at the top, but also the actions that we take and the grassroots community campaigns that we show up to and support, and that THEY WORK.
With that, please enjoy this conversation, as well as the energy from the live crowd at Renew Fest, with Federal Senator, Mehreen Faruqi