Benson Saulo is a descendent of the Wemba Wemba and Gundjitmara Aboriginal nations of western Victoria and the New Ireland Provence of Papua New Guinea. Benson has served as the Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations and was the Founding Director of the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy (NIYLA). Benson has spoken at a number Kalinya events, he has delivered a Key Notes address at both the Koorie Youth Summit and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Conference and was moderator for 60,000+ Years of Innovation for Melbourne Knowledge Week.
I believe we live in revolutionary times; the opportunities to connect through technology, the possibilities through economic development and the ability to share ideas and knowledge – is unlike anything we have experienced before. The challenge that our generation will face is how we maintain our connection to each other on a human level, on a cultural level and on a spiritual level.
Often innovation is defined as ‘making changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas or products’. The way that I personally make sense of the changing world, the demand to innovate and my Aboriginality is the understanding that my ancestors have lived on this continent for thousands of years. Innovation, ingenuity and courage is a part of my DNA.
It is time to re-define innovation. It is time to draw on our diverse Indigenous knowledges and culture to disrupt the dominate truths that have been created across society. I am proud to stand with Kalinya as our communities undertake this important journey.
I have been blessed to have the opportunities to meet inspiring, insightful and passion people from across the globe. The ability to connect and share ideas, and respect other peoples cultures is an extension of our own Aboriginal culture. Our people are finding new, exciting and powerful ways to continue our culture in the constantly changing context, whether it be through technology, art, education or activism.
My great hope is that through greater appreciation and understanding of Indigenous knowledge, our society can truly reconcile technological, cultural and spiritual connection – Kalinya shows that this is possible.