21 Day International Challenge to change the world

30 March 2015

A new UC initiative will see UC students work with New Zealand business leaders to change the lives of struggling communities in Nepal, Morocco and Brazil.

21 Day International Challenge to change the world

A new UC initiative will see UC students work with New Zealand business leaders to change the lives of struggling communities in Nepal, Morocco and Brazil.  

The 21 Day International Challenge is a new competition that will see 30 UC students in six teams join forces with 30 New Zealand industry leaders to help solve issues in a community in each of the three countries.

The winning team of students will get an all-expenses-paid trip to help implement their solution in the community they designed a plan for during the challenge. They will be accompanied by UC Senior Fellow and Entrepreneur in Residence, Linda Cruse - a frontline humanitarian aid worker who has assisted in catastrophic natural disasters around the world. The business leaders in the winning team will have the option to participate in the trip at their own expense.

UC students who are in their third year of full-time study or above will research and create potential solutions, and develop a business plan for their favoured solution guided by their mentors in the 21-days from Monday 4 May to Monday 25 May.

The teams will work towards solving a specific local issue in a community in the mountainous Berber community in Morocco, a Hindu/Buddhist Himalayan community in Nepal and an indigenous community in the rainforest of Brazil.

Cruse says this is a unique international competition for New Zealanders to work with people in a struggling community, assist in solving a seemingly intractable problem and help improve the communities quality of life.

“Team members will combine business acumen, entrepreneurial skills, academic knowledge, creativity, hard work, enthusiasm and a competitive streak,” she says.

“The solutions developed must be relevant, appropriate and feasible for the community in question. Listening, probing and developing a true understanding of the community teams they are working with will be critical to develop a suitable, and potentially winning solution and plan.

“You’ve seen The Amazing Race, Survivor, and Masterchef. This is a competition like no other. It’s a unique opportunity to gain experiential learning, to network outside the envelope, become exposed to other cultures and issues, to apply learning and skills, and to make an amazing difference to real people with real problems.”

Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr says the experience will gives UC students the opportunity to both learn outside the classroom and change the world.

“The opportunity to participate in the 21 Day International Challenge, which Senior Fellow Linda Cruse has developed, shows our commitment to support our students to make a difference in the world,” Dr Carr says.

“The University is committed to creating graduates who not only master their chosen disciplines but are engaged in community activities, globally aware, culturally competent, enterprising and innovative.”

Applications for students close on Tuesday 7 April. More information about the challenge and what is involved is available here.

For further information please contact:
communications@canterbury.ac.nz 

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