Governor-General visits Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education
The University of Western Sydney was honoured to recently host a visit by Her Excellency, Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Governor-General of Australia, to its Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education.
UWS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Janice Reid, and Associate Professor Berice Anning, Dean of Indigenous Education and Director of the Badanami Centre, welcomed the Governor-General to the Bankstown campus where she met with UWS staff and students as well as Elders from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of Greater Western Sydney.
Following a tour of the Badanami Centre and a Welcome to Country, the Governor-General took part in a roundtable discussion about the range of Indigenous education, employment, engagement and research initiatives that are offered at UWS.
The informal discussion provided the Governor-General with an overview of:
- The Badanami Centre, which provides academic, personal, cultural, and Elder-in-residence support to more than 440 undergraduate and postgraduate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at the University.
- Badanami academic programs including the Bachelor of Education (Primary) Aboriginal Rural Education Program (AREP) and the Bachelor of Community and Social Development, which are designed to suit the family, community, career, cultural and social responsibilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
- The range of scholarships, including the Indigenous Achievement Scholarship, which are designed to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and encourage them to get involved and make a difference in the University community.
- The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ARC Discovery Grant researchers within the University’s Centre for Positive Psychology and Education (CPPE), School of Education, and School of Science and Health.
- The Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement and the UWS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement Advisory Board.
- The Badanami Elder-in-Residence and Elders on Campus initiatives.
Dr Laura Parker, a UWS PhD graduate who has been recently been appointed as the University’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postdoctoral Fellow, offered the first introduction to the Governor-General.
“It was wonderful to have the Governor-General on campus. She took the time and made the effort to listen to everyone, and she seemed genuinely interested to hear about what UWS and Badanami are doing,” says Dr Parker.
Also present at the event was Blake Tatafu, a UWS Indigenous Achievement Scholarship recipient who is completing his Bachelor of Community and Social Development degree in the AREP block mode.
In the roundtable, Blake shared with the Governor-General his success in the recent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student games – where UWS placed second overall – as well as his experiences in establishing an Indigenous Student Collective at UWS and acting as a mentor in the Indigenous School Student Mentoring Program (ISSMP).
“It was great to have the opportunity to meet the Governor-General, and to allow her to be a part of our journey as Indigenous students at UWS,” says Blake.
“I was able to have some brief one-on-one time with the Governor-General as she was leaving. She told me to be proud of myself and to continue to inspire others. It was very thoughtful and was a reaffirmation of my own personal motto, which is ‘aspire to inspire’.”
The University of Western Sydney is uniquely situated with a large population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Through its wide range of Indigenous programs and initiatives, the University is committed to closing the opportunity gap and providing more opportunities for Indigenous people to access higher education.
The Governor-General’s tour of the Badanami Centre marked her third visit to UWS in recent months. In September, the Governor-General was a special guest at one of the University’s Spring Graduation ceremonies where she delivered the Occasional Address to graduating students and was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Letters, honoris causa.
29 October 2012
Photos: Sally Tsoutas