Forty-two intrepid and worldly students will graduate from the University of Newcastle’s International Leadership Development Program (iLEAD) today.

iLEAD is an extra-curricular leadership program that enables students to learn about international issues and build leadership through interactive lectures around specific themes, speaker events,  student exchanges, international conferences, intensive programs and volunteering abroad.

2012 saw a record intake for the iLEAD program, with more than 1,000 students signing up.

Twenty-two year-old Brooke Muirhead is one student to be recognised today at the iLEAD Completion Ceremony.

Brooke, a Bachelor of Social Work student, said her iLEAD experience made her feel better-equipped to begin work in her chosen profession.

“Most of the program is focused on international issues like asylum seekers, poverty, refugees, social development work and sustainability, all of which are relevant to my degree.

“The first skill-building lecture I attended was on climate change. I found it quite confronting but it made me take a step back and realise there are some very relevant, global issues.

“Being a part of the iLEAD program has developed my critical thinking skills and challenged my perception of the world,” she said.

In 2012, iLEAD students worked at a panda reserve in China, volunteered at an elephant refuge in Thailand, taught at a school in Cambodia and lent a hand in hospitals throughout the Pacific Islands and across Africa.

On home soil, iLEAD students were also given the opportunity to work with numerous local organisations including The Smith Family, Red Cross, Northern Settlement Services and Hunter New England Health.

The iLEAD completion ceremony will be held today at 4.30pm at the Bar on the Hill.