When Garigarra Mundine was in the third year of her international relations degree at ANU, she was thrilled to be selected to participate in the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE) in Toronto.
Learning from the large and diverse assembly of highly regarded Indigenous experts in education at WIPCE was a rewarding experience for Garigarra.
"All programs had culture at the centre, and they were built from the ground up, with the community that the program aimed to serve. I also learnt a lot about Aboriginal Canadians and their culture and history before colonisation. It was amazing to see the similarities between us and them and build a bond through those similarities."
Participating in WIPCE also affirmed Garigarra's belief that any programs and policies developed for Indigenous communities must have community backing.
"I learned that programs and policies must be based in culture and developed from and with the community and not implemented by external forces (such as Government or non-Government organisations) in order to be truly successful. This is something that I have always known in theory, but to talk to people from across the world and see how this works in practice has helped me a lot in work and in my studies."
Since returning from WIPCE, Garigarra is keen to ensure that future WIPCE participants also make the most of the experience.
"Take advantage of every experience and don't be afraid to talk to people. Everyone is there to learn more and to share their stories of what works best for us and what are the best ways forward."
Indigenous students at ANU who attend WIPCE are supported through funds raised by donors to The ANU Fund. By giving to The ANU Fund, you will support students like Garigarra who are trying to make a difference at ANU and to our nation. Together, we can count the ways that we are helping students and creating a better future for us all. You can give to The ANU Fund today.
Garigarra Mundine is currently a third year Arts - International Relations student at ANU, at the ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences.