Agent for change: Grace Forrest

“Slavery exists in the world today because we allow it to,” said Notre Dame Arts graduate Grace Forrest during her address at the One Young World Summit held in October 2018 in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Politics & International Relations and Social Justice graduate is the Founding Director of the Walk Free Foundation (est. 2011) which works towards the eradication of modern slavery – forced labour, human trafficking and forced marriage.

As part of her work for the Walk Free Foundation and their goal to be the last generation to live with modern slavery, Grace works with the United Nations to put modern slavery on the agenda and travelled to impoverished nations to see first-hand the issues communities face. This year she was appointed as the youngest UN Goodwill ambassador for Australia (UNAA) for anti-slavery and peace and security.

“[in 2016] I travelled to Lebanon and Jordan to observe the intersection between internal displacement of refugees and their vulnerability to slavery. I wanted to learn more and build a deeper understanding of the Syrian refugee crisis and the issues that displaced Palestinian communities were facing,” said Grace.

“Slavery is a human choice; not a human condition.... My ‘informed empathy’ and interest to learn more and question the status quo was something that was fostered at Notre Dame.”

Speaking about the highlight of her time as a Notre Dame student, Grace said “learning about the world and questioning the construction of nearly every belief system I had. Even if I came back to the same conclusion, I loved the process of analysis and question which was always encouraged by my lecturers. My passion for social justice and international relations was fostered at Notre Dame. I am especially grateful to Sandra Nasr, Simon Stephens and Daniel Baldino for always encouraging us to see the world and its great issues through a different lens."

Watch Grace’s address at One Young World Summit 2018.

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