I had the immense pleasure of travelling to Malaysia in the first week of October for a series of meetings and events in Kuala Lumpur and on our beautiful University of Nottingham Malaysia campus in Seminyih, Selangor.
A major highlight for me was a wonderful afternoon session of performing magic for staff and students, with a repertoire of close up magic and mentalism. The interactions and sheer surprise and laughter among the guests was truly enjoyable. The inter-cultural elements of the session were fascinating as colleagues from many different parts of the world reacted to what they were witnessing. For one colleague, this was the first live magic that she had ever seen.
There was great surprise in my demonstration of direct access to thoughts, names, and images in the minds of our guests, including names from their childhoods, pet names, and intricate drawings.
The week included very productive planning and strategy sessions with my counterpart Dr Jason Pandya-Wood, sampling the incredible food for which Malaysia is so famous, meeting with a Member of Parliament from the Democratic Action Party on the eve of the dissolution of Parliament, and catching up with my former student Dr Marco Larizza, who is now stationed in Malaysia for his work with The World Bank.
The week culminated in a networking and book launch event at the University of Nottingham Kuala Lumpur Teaching Centre. I presented my new book with Christine Garrington The Rights Track: Sound Evidence on Human Rights and Modern Slavery for an audience of academics from the University of Nottingham, Taylors University, and Monash University, students, refugee leaders, NGOs, media, and the award winning film maker and NGO leader Mahi Ramakrishnan.
For over two hours, we discussed the state of human rights, the stories that emerge from six years of human rights podcasts with human rights scholars and practitioners, and why during these troubled times, we all need to hold on tight to human rights. It was inspiring to engage with such a bright, young, and motivated audience.
The combined experience of magic and human rights, engaging with so many wonderful people, and the tropical and vibrant setting in Malaysia was so very inspiring and heart warming.
For the Academic Magician, the journey continues.
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