We’re living longer, but are we living better? – Young Centenary Foundation debate

Young Centenary Foundation

The verdict is in. The crowd at Young Centenary Foundation’s first debate decided that yes – we are not only living longer, but actually better thanks to medical research.

A passionate young panel debated whether living longer is really all it’s cracked up to be.

The negative team spoke about diseases of ageing and the burden of a growing population; futuristic life-extending technologies and Orwellian dystopias; and how the older we live, the worse the music’s going to be.

Young Centenary Foundation

The victorious affirmative team: Wendy Zukerman, Andrew P Street and Centenary’s Dr Nick Shackel with debate MC Sam Egan

But in the end, the crowd voted for the affirmative team’s vision of reduced child mortality, treatments for natural ageing processes and a world safe from diseases like tuberculosis and cancer – and where we’re safe from bunyips.

A crowd of about 60 people filled the couches in the cosy front space at FBi Social in Kings Cross and lit up the Twittersphere with ferocious debate on the merits of medicine and witty jokes about Centenary liver researchers enjoying a drink.

“This debate was aimed at getting new people along, and we were really please that most of the crowd were newcomers,” said Georgie Skipper, who organised the event. “It’s about supporting a good cause and having a good time.”

In the past, the Young Centenary Foundation has run art exhibitions and comedy nights, but this week’s debate asked the crowd to think about the power of medical research. Working from their professional networks and friends-of-friends, they put together a panel of influential young Sydney-siders.

Young Centenary Foundation

A crowd of 60-odd young people filled FBi Social to support the Centenary Institute

“They’ve committed to continue to support the Centenary Institute – now they’re passionate about our cause,” Georgie said.

The Young Centenary Foundation team feel medical research should be just as relevant to young people as music, art and culture. They’re engaging with local artists, comedians – even with the food industry! – to get young people excited and interested in medical research,  and perhaps even donate some money.

They want to build a culture of philanthropy among Sydney’s young people. Aside from raising money for the Institute, they want to encourage their Gen Y mates to follow a cause and see the rewards which come from supporting our research.

Their first major goal is to fund a post-doc position for a young scientist at the Centenary Institute to study a disease which affects young people.

“Working towards a goal like this is measureable, you can see the outcome. It’s more engaging and more exciting to follow it through.” Georgie said.

The Young Centenary Foundation team are a formidable bunch of people – they’re talented young professionals from advertising, journalism, business, and the NGO and charity sector.

“You wouldn’t pick us out off the street and suggest we work together, we’re interested in such different things. But we’re bound by an interest in medical research, especially cancer, which comes from the experiences of our friends and family,” Georgie said.

“We’re rallying our skills in event organisation, journalism, strategic thinking and business management and throwing that towards a good cause.”

Everyday Fantasia is their next event. It’s a contemporary art exhibition, and a chance for art newbies to snag their first piece of original artwork.

Young Centenary Foundation

It's going to be big - the Young Centenary Foundation's upcoming street art event

Follow the Young Centenary Foundation on Twitter: https://twitter.com/YoungCentenary

Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/youngcentenary

And read more on their website: http://youngcentenary.org.au/

  • Tim Neal

    Its a great question that was put forward. Taking the fun out of the obvious joy experienced on the night is to suggest that there is a very serious implication here. If you could live forever…would you? Why? What effect does this have on the Earth and the mere mortals? Who decides who will live longer? As it stands I dont think our world is capable of dealing with the consequences of longer life.

  • Pingback: Womby

    • Felix Daniel

      Hi Womby,

      Sorry for the late reply and thank you for your kind words. We are now including a donate link at the bottom of all out posts so any kind people, such as yourself, can support our scientists.

      If you wish to circulate the link to our donation page to any of your friends it would be fantastic :)

      http://www.centenary.org.au/p/help/Donations/

      Kind regards,
      Felix