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Future Problem Solving

YMF FPS Conference

The Young Minds of the Future FPS Conference was held on the 22nd of November 2014, at the University of Queensland. With the central theme of Future Problem Solving, students at the conference had the opportunity to engage with four separate presentations that focussed on the global issues of today, and their impact on the world both now and into the future. Collaborative Circles saw a variety of interesting discussion that revolved around the six-step Future Problem Solving model, and at the end of the day, students gave a 10 minute presentation that included a summary of their findings and an action skit. Click here to visit the blog for more!

What is FPS?

Lesley Sutherland

Lesley Sutherland, the Queensland FPS Director began the day by immersing students in the Future Problem Solving six-step model, and its impact on addressing real world problems. In particular, she spoke about the importance of developing critical thinking skills in order to ask the real questions such as “what is the underlying problem at the heart of the issue?” For the students who had never been introduced to FPS before, Lesley’s presentation was a great introduction to the program. Though, for the many FPS students at the conference, the presentation offered a new perspective and provided an insight into the critically important fundamental question of Future Problem Solving; “what is the true underlying problem, and how can we solve it?”

The Failure of the International Relations System

Alastair Butcher

Alastair Butcher was the first presenter of the day, and began his presentation by looking at the international relations system. In addressing the key characteristics and nature of states, Alastair explained the fundamental theory of the “social contract”. The social contract is a political model that addresses the authority of the state over an individual and the surrendering of certain freedoms in exchange for the five elements of the social contract; security, freedom, order, justice and welfare. In exploring the nature of a state’s interests in fulfilling the higher political agenda, that is, security, freedom, order and justice, Alstair’s presentation provided insight into the dynamic changes in the functionality of the social contract in the international relations system. Hence, Alastair’s presentation was incredibly insightful, and thoroughly explored the concept of the failure of the international relations system. Click here to learn more about Alastair’s presentation. 

Political Oppression and the Power of Education

Anisa Nandaula

Anisa Nandaula was our second presenter of the day, and addressed a topic very close to her – political oppression in Uganda and the power of education. Anisa began her presentation by detailing the progression of dictators from Uganda’s past to today. In giving a very detailed description of the atrocities that continue to plague the country, from corruption to inequality, Anisa’s presentation emphasised the lack of connection and understanding between the first and third worlds. In particular, she emphasised the common misconception of monetary donation as the the “umbrella solution” to all problems in third world countries. Anisa’s presentation highlighted the need for a new solution. With obvious parallels between Alastair and Anisa’s presentations, it was clear that inter-governmental intervention was not the only answer. Click here to learn more about Anisa’s presentation. 

Public Health Engagement in the Modern World

Timothy Kariotis

Tim Kariotis was our final presenter of the day, and spoke on the topic of public health engagement. Tim focussed on the vast detachment between the analysis of trends through leading research, and the advocacy that brings about positive change for the dynamic social environment. He spoke about how public health was impacted as a result of the various policies, interactions and social dynamics of society. In looking at the affect of stereotypes and stigmas especially on minority groups, Tim explored the complex relationships between the mentalities and preconceived bias that exists in the public health system, and how it has failed to provide for minority groups. Looking at various case studies, Tim concluded that the fundamental problem existed in education. Educating not only health care professionals, but every day people about the stigmas and stereotypes that are often used to define minority groups within our society was fundamentally important, and the first step forward towards create equality and a prospering health care system not only for ourselves but the greater community. Click here to learn more about Timothy’s presentation. 

Collaborative Circles

The afternoon sessions saw collaboration discussion between students and facilitators as they explored and delved deeper into the topics of presentation. In particular, looking at future scenes developed by presenters, students were able to begin to contextualise the problems at the core of their presenter’s presentation. In applying the Future Problem Solving six-step model, students began by looking at the fundamental problems within a Future Scene. Identifying the underlying problem, groups then moved to brainstorming solutions and creating an action plan and action skit that not only summarised the topic and the future scene, but effectively conveyed the underlying problems of the topic and the solution chosen by the group. With each group presenting at the end of the day, there was much excitement and interest as the innovative ideas began to shine through.

What Students Said About the YMF FPS Conference

  • I approached YMF looking for a way to further my knowledge of humanities and the ins and outs of modern society. The result was an incredible experience, followed with fascinating interactions with other people within the same age group who all retain their own contrasting angles on the world today. Personally, I believe that everyone who attended the event came out with a new perspective on the 21st century society. I recommend YMF to everyone who has an interest in meeting new people in a fun and new way whilst looking at humanities subjects through other viewpoints.
    Tyler Vo
  • The captivating young minds of the future conference was a fantastic experience that both promoted and facillitated the development of effective collaborative skills. The event exposed participants to a unique environment that fostered the application of problem solving and critical thinking skills. Overall, young minds of the future successfully engaged audiences, irrespective of their age, though specifically serves as a cornerstone to the ongoing development of teen minds. Definitely a noteworthy experience that I recommend to all students, regardless of age or education.
    Malak Habib
  • Very mch enjoyed the conference! Each of the presentation were very interesting and the opportunity for the students to debate and work in collaborative discussion on one of these topics in the afternoon is a great opportunity and learning situation, and one that the students take up very enthusiastically! The setting at the University of Queensland is so uplifting, and an excellent opportunity to expose students to these surrounding at an early age - a place of higher learning, debate and mental fulfilment. We really enjoyed the day!
    Graeme & Johanne Bird
  • The YMF FPS Conference was an excellent opportunity beyond the standard school curriculum to collaborate with like-minds on a range of creative and innovative topics. An amalgamation of communication and collaboration, the conference truly challenged students in a unique and collaborative environment.
    Emily Selleck
  • It is great that students and teachers are able to experience this high level of presentation and interaction, and UQ is an excellent location! I like the format of having presenters at the start followed by the opportunity to discuss afterwards. The added final session of coming back together to shape feedback is wonderful, especially with such interesting topics!
    Simon Canfield
  • An amazing experience which allows you to interact with other young people who possess different perspectives on social issues. I had a brilliant time and I would definitely recommend it for someone who is interested in humanities subjects.
    Marina Hou