VC’s Update – O’Week, the National Apology, the VC’s Courses and more

17 February 2017

Hi everyone,

And a big welcome to all of our students - some arriving here for the first time and many returning for another exciting year at ANU. I hope you've enjoyed O'Week as much as I have. It's such a great sight to see the campus alive again with so many students from around Australia and the world coming together to be part of the ANU Community.

Congratulations must go to the O'Week organising committees for producing another outstanding program of events and activities this year. From the loud reverberations coming from the Fellows Oval sound checks this afternoon, I'm sure tonight's Friday Night Party will be another great one to remember (if only I was 20 years younger!).

A highlight of the week was hosting ANU alumni Thérèse Rein on campus along with Jamila Rizvi, our ANUSA and PARSA presidents James Connolly and Alyssa Shaw, and Ngunnawal man Rob Williams and his Cousin Billy T. Tompkins to welcome all of our students to the University at the Commencement Address. The speeches were truly inspiring and I thank everyone who came along. If you were unable to attend you can watch the video online.

Wednesday was a busy day all round. Our researchers received a $1.5 million Innovation Award grant from the Commonwealth Government for type 1 diabetes research. The funding will help the research team assess a possible new drug they have developed to find out if it can be used to treat type 1 diabetes.

We also welcomed Foreign Minister, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, back to campus to open the 2017 Australian Aid Conference. At the conference, the Minister announced that ANU will partner with the International Women's Development Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to develop a new way to measure poverty. The $9.5 million project will develop a world-first gender-sensitive and multidimensional measure of poverty. Congratulations to Associate Professor Sharon Bessell and her team.

Monday marked nine years since the historic National Apology to Australia's Indigenous peoples. Former Prime Minister and ANU alumnus Kevin Rudd, who delivered the landmark speech to Federal Parliament in 2008, spoke at ANU on Monday, calling for a greater commitment to reduce Indigenous disadvantage. ANU has a special responsibility to Indigenous Australia and we have committed to a number of new initiatives in our 2017 strategic plan to help renew and build on our engagement and partnership with Indigenous Australia. I encourage you to become familiar with these ambitions - every one of us has a role to play.

Congratulations this week goes to our 2017 Fulbright Scholars - Dr Stephan Frühling from the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Dr Patrick Kilby from School of Archaeology and Anthropology and Ms Jessica Rogers 2016 ANU Postgraduate Student of the Year.

Dr Amy King has also been announced as one of the 2017 Westpac Research Fellows. Great work everyone.

With classes beginning again next week I would like to wish everyone an enjoyable and productive academic year.

Brian