Our guest for this week is Erfan Daliri, a social change animator, a writer, educator, youth worker, a spoken word artist, and the founding director of Newkind.

Along with an educational background in Communication for Social Change, throughout his career, Erfan has acquired 15 years of experience in the fields of community development, including youth engagement, migrant settlement, mental health research, indigenous community work, human rights, and environmental advocacy. He has worked as a consultant and advisor to a great number of organizations and his impressive list of clients includes Amnesty International, Beyond Blue, Malaruch Aboriginal Corporation, Risdon Prison and the Townsville Intercultural Centre.

In 2016, he founded Newkind, an annual conference which gathers people from different fields who are ready to step up, find their purpose, and make a positive impact on the world. By using a series of discussion panels, workshops, and lectures from renowned experts, entrepreneurs, and social justice advocates, the Newkind festival is made to inspire and empower people to join the movement and awake the change makers within. The latest Newkind Festival will be held in Tasmania, from the 19th until the 24th of February, 2019.

Erfan’s goal is to provide individuals and organizations with the necessary skills and knowledge and empower them to become agents of change in their communities. At its core, his mission and message is one of social change and challenging the status quo.

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Erfan’s Story of Inspired Evolution

“From a very young age, community development and youth engagement and indigenous community work was a part of my life.” – Erfan Daliri

Erfan was born in India, and both of his parents are from Iran. When he was little, they applied and received the refugee recognition from the UN and eventually moved to Australia. It’s pretty safe to say that the good Erfan is doing today has roots in the work of his parents. He learned to be an agent of change from a very young age, watching his parents actualize themselves in the fields of education and helping refugees settle into Australia. Continuously being exposed to different types of challenges, taught him to accept them as opportunities for personal growth and focus on the things being born in the process of overcoming them.

“When you become aware of injustices and when you become aware of things that aren’t working… an initial response will be anger.” – Erfan Daliri

Erfan recalls his earlier days of activism and shares that they were accompanied by frustration and anger. He believes that being angry is a natural response to being faced with injustice and also that it’s a part of the process. The prototype of an angry activist has its purpose in revealing and pointing towards a problem, but the true value lies in shifting over to the next step – becoming solutions-focused.

“What is the solution I’m proposing? How can I actually alleviate this issue?” – Erfan Daliri

The answers to these questions are meant to guide us through on our journey of becoming a true agent of change and empower us to provide solutions for the problems we’re faced with as a whole.

Taking Action as the Starting Point

“I’m very much action focused. I do pray daily and I do meditate daily but it’s about that action. That is the third part of that amazing trilogy.” – Erfan Daliri

One of the key principles Erfan’s been adhering to throughout his life is being action-oriented. He postulates that taking action is necessary in order to evoke any sort of change whatsoever. Even though praying and meditating play an important role in his daily life, he recognizes that they are only components of the solution, not making any actual and relevant impact if they are not followed by appropriate action. He further elaborates that taking action is connected to praying and meditation through faith. It’s important to maintain the belief and the positive attitude throughout your action-taking in order to truly move in the direction of where you want and need to go.

“You have to act as if your prayers have been answered. You have to act as if there is no doubt in your mind.” – Erfan Daliri

We further explore the bigger picture and how becoming more action-oriented can help our society and not just ourselves. Erfan recognizes that even though many people are aware and empathize with the problems our world is faced with a very small portion of them is actually willing to engage and fight the good fight.

“If you see something that needs to get done, make it your responsibility and address that issue.” – Erfan Daliri

He sees one of the reasons why more people aren’t working on solving challenges like improving the educations system, reducing excessive consumerism, and achieving gender equality is because they do not feel empowered to do so. We often find that we do not have enough time or that we’re lacking skills or simply that we’re not in a position to make a difference. All of these reasons are just showing that being an agent of change is not easy, yet Erfan reveals a potential perspective that could, in fact, empower people to overcome these supposable barriers. By using the analogy of a tired, overworked parent doing everything they can to provide for and take care of their child, he reveals that all of our actions need to come from a place of love. This is the way of assuring we will have enough energy and resilience to face any challenge that comes our way.

“When we actually love our environment and our fellow beings that inhabit this planet with us, then nothing’s overwhelming.” – Erfan Daliri

Being Connected with the World

“We are not separate beings from the oxygen that we breathe and the trees that give us that oxygen and the food that we eat.” – Erfan Daliri

Erfan sees the state of feeling connected with the world as a necessary foundation as well as fuel for dealing with difficult social and environmental issues of today. By separating ourselves from our surroundings and focusing on the individual we’re able to convince ourselves that these problems do not affect us or that we shouldn’t take responsibility for them. However, if we were to focus on the fact that we’re essentially deeply connected to our surroundings, our fellow beings, and the entire universe, we would need to deal with the fact that we’re a part of a whole, and that we have the right, the responsibility, as well as what it takes to work on solving issues greater than ourselves.

“If you want to consider your connectivity to the environment or nature and how important it is I suggest you hold your breath for 5 minutes while you think about it.” – Erfan Daliri

The Message of Inspired Evolution

Erfan’s mission of empowering people to take action is truly inspiring. His solution-focused approach to dealing with global issues provides us with an example and is just one way of taking on challenges that affect everyone, not just ourselves. But most importantly, in its foundation, his message is one of love and kindness:

“Be kind. If we could just show kindness to one another, it would just change the way we behave.” – Erfan Daliri