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Teens test diplomatic skills

The issue of child labour will be in focus at this year’s Day of Diplomacy, being held as part of the Young Diplomats Program at JCU in Townsville.

Teens test diplomatic skills

First published August 6, 2013

The issue of child labour will be in focus at this year’s Day of Diplomacy, being held as part of the Young Diplomats Program at James Cook University in Townsville.

The 2013 Day of Diplomacy, hosted by the Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences, will be held on August 23 in the Endeavour Room at Uni Hall.

The Young Diplomats program is designed for Year 10 students from local schools in northern Queensland to learn about international relations and Australia’s roles in international diplomacy.

Ten schools from throughout northern Queensland are participating this year and the students will be tackling the topic “Eliminating Child Labour”.

The schools are Heatley Secondary College, William Ross State High School, Ryan Catholic College, Townsville State High School, Kirwan State High School, Thuringowa State High School, Pimlico High School, Ingham State High School, Atherton High School and Malanda State High School.

Associate Professor Doug Hunt, the 2013 YDP coordinator, said there were a number of international treaties dealing with the child labour issue.

“Child labour is defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development,” Associate Professor Hunt said.

“It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school, obliging them to leave school prematurely or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.”

Associate Professor Hunt said there were several countries where child labour was a problem.

“Although it is typically presented as an issue for developing countries, we shouldn’t assume that exploitative or illegal child labour is absent in Western, developed ones,” he said.

“The International Labour Organisation says there are 215 million children working who shouldn’t be, 115 million of whom are in ‘hazardous work’.”

Each team of students will represent a particular country and will present that nation’s views and perspectives on child labour, with a focus on further international action to combat the issue.

Prizes will be awarded to the best team on the day, as well as to the student judged the best individual speaker.

Education Queensland, individual schools, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian Institute of International Affairs are partners of JCU in supporting YDP. The Deputy Director of the Queensland Office of DFAT, Mr Matthew Harrison, will attend the Day of Diplomacy to act as a judge and facilitator for the event.


Day of Diplomacy

Date: 23 August 2013

Location: Endeavour Room, Uni Hall, James Cook University Townsville campus

Note for media re photo opportunities: Breaks will be held at morning tea – 10.40am–10.50am, lunch –12.00pm–12.55pm and afternoon tea – 1.50pm–2.00pm

JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175