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Why should you participate in the next Ecuadorian Ideas That Matter conference?

Reflections on Why to Engage more in Research and Entrepreneurship Events.

For the last three years Ecuador Vive has been organizing “Ecuadorian Ideas That Matter”. The last conference held in May was memorable. The breakthrough ideas presented by speakers all over Australia had a majestic room in the Victorian Parliament as the setting, distinguished authorities including the Ecuadorian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs accompanied us, and most importantly students in Melbourne attended as if they were going to see the Ecuadorian national soccer team play.

Indeed the event is getting more attention. This is a direct result of providing continuity to a shared vision. As students we agreed that creating this platform was important, and that is why there have been numerous collaborations to help organize “Ecuadorian Ideas That Matter”, especially in this year's conference. The event has brought the Ecuadorian community together and has also helped strengthen our bonds with Australia. These are positive outcomes that we hope the event continues to produce in the following years. To accomplish this, the best we can do to support this initiative is to encourage more people to participate as speakers.

There are obvious reasons to participate. It is an opportunity to “sell” your ideas to a wide audience. Public speaking helps us improve our communication skills, which are crucial in any career path. It also provides a space to network with authorities and peers.

There are less obvious reasons as well. Since most Ecuadorian students come to Australia with scholarships that use public funds, showing what you are working on in a conference is an exercise of transparency. Millions of dollars have been invested in the scholarship program with the reasonable expectation that our research, business and social initiatives will contribute to change the economic and social structures of our country. By accepting this scholarship we committed to give back to Ecuador.  If you participate in “Ecuadorian Ideas That Matter” you are already starting to give back.

There are also less “excuses”. The main one is the distance to come to Melbourne,  where the conference has been held in the past. I acknowledge that this is a barrier, however, since the second year of the event, videoconferences have been incorporated to enable speakers who live in other cities in Australia participate. Additionally, in the most recent conference Ecuadorians in Melbourne demonstrated their hospitality by receiving a fellow student who was selected as a speaker and decided to “Couch-surf” in order to make it to the conference. Many of us will be happy to receive more students. However, it would be interesting as well if the event could be held in a different city in Australia each year.

The Ecuadorian Research and Entrepreneurship Network (EREN) co-organized with Ecuador Vive “Ecuadorian Ideas That Matter” this year, and hopefully more student associations will get on board to collaborate in the future as well. Student organizations can keep looking for fancier places to hold the conference, invite more “VIP” guests, have more music and food, and so on. However, this event will truly get stronger if among the hundreds of Ecuadorian students in Australia we have more people willing to use this platform to propose new ideas that matter.  

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