With special guests
- Professor John Macdonald
- Melissa Abu-Gazaleh
Today we present the second of our special shows to recognise Men’s Health Week which this year ran from 11 to 17 June 2012. Our guests today are activists, great people in our community who have recognised a problem and then decided to get out there and do something about it. Professor John Macdonald joins us from the Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre at the University of Western Sydney having recently returned from Zambia and he puts the local men’s health issues in an international context with his broad experience derived from a career which has taken him to Pakistan, Nicaragua, South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, France, New Zealand and Senegal among other countries. Our second guest is Melissa Abu-Gazaleh, a young woman who is passionate about the welfare of young men. Melissa realised at the age of 19 that young men were not engaging in the community and this was disadvantaging them as well as causing the community to miss out. This led Melissa to becoming the Managing Director of Top Blokes Foundation and being able to provide a platform for young men to shine.
Professor John Macdonald
Professor Macdonald was last on the show in April 2009 when we spoke about the release of Australia’s first National Men’s Health Policy. It is interesting to hear from John what has happened in the two years since the release of the policy, a policy which benefitted from his involvement.
The health policy is not limited to the usual medical issues. There is a focus on wellness and the question is asked, what can we do to engage men more and make them happier and more engaged in society? As part of this approach and while wearing one of his many hats in the area of Men’s Health, John is a patron of the very successful Australian Men’s Shed Association and he is able to give us an insight on the great achievements of this organisation.
John recognises that “father deficit” in our society is a health issue for men and will continue to be so until a fairer system of parenting following separation is introduced. There are also some interesting comments on feminism in Australia from an international perspective.
Listen in to hear John’s wisdom, distilled like a good bottle of Scotch, and don’t miss his song selection.
Our second guest is Melissa Abu-Gazaleh, the Managing Director of Top Blokes Foundation, based in Wollongong New South Wales. Her day job is to inspire and motivate young men to develop and display the highest forms of character. When you listen to her it is hard not to feel inspired and motivated no matter who you are.
Melissa was never convinced by the negative stereotypes of young men that are often presented in the media, so at the age of 19 she determined to do something about it. This involved finding a way to provide positive reinforcement to young males for their positive contributions. The volunteer contributions of young men are celebrated in the Top Bloke Awards with the Illawarra Award date set for Friday 31 August 2012.
An important part of the Foundation’s work is their link with Living Works which works in the area of reducing the high suicide rates in young males.
In keeping with the young approach Melissa makes extensive use of social networking to get the message out. But if you are more traditional you will find all you need to know on the Top Blokes website. Young and old will enjoy hearing about Melissa and the great work she is doing.
Song selections by our guests:
Professor John Macdonald: I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers
Melissa Abu-Gazaleh: The Voice by John Farnham