History of Fairly Educated
The Fairly Educated Initiative was born in late 2010 as the need for a global platform of tertiary fair trade campaigns became clear. University and other tertiary student and staff groups all over the world are increasingly seeking Fair Trade Accreditation for their universities. Campaigning for Fair Trade can often be a difficult task. Issues regarding supply chains, forced labour and consumer power all need to be carefully and easily explained to many different audiences associated with tertiary education. The system of the different fair trade certifications and how they compares to other types of ethical or environmental certification also needs to be explained. Information regarding suppliers of Fair Trade goods to buyers, the number and types of contracts held by tertiary institutions, contractual obligations and information needs to be discovered. The interests of many different parties (even on the one campus) needs to be addressed.
However much of this information will be similar for many different universities and tertiary institutions. Similar strategies are employed in campaigning, similar barriers and challenges are faced, and similar stories of triumph should be shared.
Inaugural Fairly Educated Conference, Sydney July 2011
In July 2011, Fairly Educated held it’s inaugural conference at the University of Sydney. Around half the universities from across Australia and New Zealand had representatives attend. We heard from a number of NGO’s working in Fair Trade as well as the experiences of a number of universities in Australia, New Zealand, North America and Europe. We had workshops on how to run campaigns, how to use social media and in depth learning on Fair Trade. We had a commitment session in which the participating universities made statements on what they wish to achieve in the coming year. We also awarded small prizes to assist three universities in their campaigns.
Conferences have since been held in 2012 – Melbourne, 2013 – Hobart, 2014 – Brisbane, and many more! (See the Conference History page).
THE UNITED STATES
In September 2011, the founders of Fairly Educated (Vic and Chris) presented to over 200 people at the first Fair Trade USA Towns and Universities Conference in Philadelphia. We got to hear about many of the great things that are happening around the United States and share our experiences with many wonderful individuals.
In March 2012, Fairly Educated presented at the United Students for Fair Trade conference in Maryland, USA. This was a wonderful opportunity to talk to more students in the USA about Fair Trade University Campaigns and share information and experiences.
In April 2012, Fairly Educated presented at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) conference for Universities. To learn more about what CGI is doing in the university space, click here.
In February 2014 Bec and Helen became Co-convenors of Fairly Educated, and then Bec was off to Japan in March to meet the Japanese Fair Trade Student Network, and to present at the International Fair Trade Towns Conference in Kumamoto – Asia’s first Fair Trade Town! It was a fantastic experience to share and learn from not only the Japanese students, who are particularly interested in fair trade advocacy here and what they can learn from us, but also to meet with the coordinating campaigners from each country with a Fair Trade peak body. Below are some snaps of the highlights:
Meeting the President of the World Fair Trade Organisation – Rudi Dalvai
Oxfam campaigner from Japan Yoichi Suzuki, a passionate advocate for social justice who attended FEC in 2013, Hobart, and with Tomoyuki, Misato and Misa from Oxfam Japan.
Founder of Fair Trade Towns in the UK, Bruce Crowther