What can I do? What can we do? What can we do together?

Renee Cremer, Central Queensland University

From the inspirational greeting, passionately conducted by OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría, to the spirited ladies of MM Life Design, the exquisite individuals I have encountered on the first day of the OECD Forum 2019 have been truly unforgettable. This, alongside an array of stimulating meetings certainly has me excited for the days ahead here in Paris.  

The opening session was nothing short of brilliant. “What can I do? What can we do? What can we do together?” were the final words that played on the screen of the opening video and they rang true for the succeeding parts of the day. The key themes were ever present, with the future of work being creatively highlighted at many points of the forum. Looking around the room some areas hosted virtual reality headsets to give surgery demonstrations, while others were packed with Slovakian food stands.

My favourite sessions were the Migration Integration sessions and the Interactive Workshop on the Future of Work and Skills. There was a great sense of hope combined with intelligence in the room of the Migration Integration session. Deputy Mayor of Toronto Ana Bailão truly inspired the policy maker in many around the room. Bailão highlighted the positive language Canadians associate with migrants, from now I will say New Canadians or New Comers, as well as discussed housing and Toronto as a Sanctuary City.

The interactive workshop on the future of work and skills I braved on my own, and boy was I glad I made it! This was the first opportunity I had to work with other forum participants and my group focussed on the connection of traditional full-time work and how social security will be maintained in OECD countries. Many solutions were discussed, my favourite was slightly controversial amongst the group; a global identity number to support people as global citizens.  

To wrap up the afternoon sitting out in the garden I met Maelle and her business partner Virgine from MM Life Design. These inspiring ladies are both mothers who have had long and interesting careers. Their work on emotional intelligence in management and in life coaching for individuals seems to be tremendously fore thinking. I hope to be able to translate Maelle’s research so that I can get an even better understanding of the work these wonderful women do.

For the first day of the conference I feel as though I lived and breather the words, “what can I do? What can we do? What can we do together?”