Changemaker - Michael Sheldrick CitWA BA LLB UWA

Global Director of Policy and Advocacy, Global Citizen

Michael Sheldrick

Global Citizen

I currently oversee our Global Policy and Advocacy team at Global Citizen, previously known as Global Poverty Project. It is an Australian-grown international advocacy group working to catalyse the movement to end extreme poverty and support the achievement of the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030.

The 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development were agreed to by all member states of the United Nations in September last year and seek to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030 - end poverty, combat climate change and fight injustice and inequality. Our role at Global Citizen is to provide a content and campaigning platform where people can learn about and take action on the world's biggest issues.

Global Citizen partners with and supports some of the most effective organisations working to end extreme poverty. We aim to unlock the power of every individual to play his or her part in the movement to end extreme poverty in the next 15 years.

For more information on how you can use the power of your voice, visit GlobalCitizen.org and follow @GlblCtzn Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #GlobalCitizen

Value in a degree

I studied a combined degree in Law and Arts, majoring in political science and international relations.

Although I don't practice law in the technical sense, my degree definitely comes in handy when working with UN conventions and treaties, as well as statutory legislation. In my current role, I found myself relying on research skills I acquired during my degree, not to mention the contractual skills I recently had to utilise when I drafted several partnership agreements with other non-profit organisations.

Sometimes it's the little things that count the most though. Letter writing skills I learnt in Law's Commercial Practice come in handy on an almost daily basis!

Making a difference

As citizens, humanity's fate ultimately rests in our hands and our goal of a world without extreme poverty is only going to be realised through the constant drumbeat of citizen-led movements clambering for change. As the current President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim has himself said "a truly well thought out, rigorous, committed social movement has the greatest capacity to transform the world and help us reach our aspirations." At Global Citizen, we are working to provide citizens with the tools they need to hold governments accountable to the promises they've made.

We live in a democracy and all too often we choose not to take part in it. Those of us who do choose to exercise our voice may be a little surprised to discover just how powerful it really is. The biggest piece of feedback I get from politicians is that they don't have enough constituents telling them how important it is to engage with broader world issues supporting anti-poverty efforts and addressing other key global challenges. That's something we're trying to change. It will take many of us to achieve a breakthrough, but I'm optimistic we can do it. Ultimately, it's the only way we will achieve our goals.

UWA and me

I started working for Global Poverty Project during my final two years at UWA and I found all my lecturers supportive of campaigns we were running on shoe-string budgets. The Arts Faculty in particular were very helpful, allowing my work to take place in the Anthropology Common Room. Additionally, they were flexible in accommodating my sporadic overseas travel schedule. Where I thought they would be hostile and rigid, many of them encouraged me to embrace these opportunities and allowed flexibility with assignment submissions. On one occasion, a lecturer even allowed me to sit a supplementary exam. Without this support and understanding, it would have been difficult for me to flourish early on.

About Michael

Michael Sheldrick is the Global Director of Policy and Advocacy, Global Citizen, where he has coordinated several international advocacy campaigns including universal sanitation, access to education and the eradication of polio, which has helped raise more than $800 million in support of global polio eradication efforts.

Serving as the organisation's main representative to the United Nations, and intimately involved in the production of the renowned Global Citizen Festival, Michael has worked with world leaders, musicians and philanthropists from around the world including Ban Ki-moon, Beyonce, Usher, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He was instrumental in mobilising political and public support for the UN's new Global Goals for Sustainable Development - a blueprint that seeks to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Michael's writing on these topics has been published by the Guardian, Huffington Post, The Diplomatic Courier, The Diplomat Magazine, The South China Morning Post, The West Australian, Fairfax Media and he has been interviewed by Sky News, Forbes Magazine, ABC among others. In 2013 he became the Young Western Australian of the Year, a state finalist for 2014 Australian of the Year and has previously been listed by The Sunday Times as one of WA's 50 Best and Brightest.

Michael is the recipient of a Rotary Club of Crawley scholarship and in 2012 a Paul Harris Fellowship in recognition of his efforts to place polio eradication on the agenda of the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting held in Perth.