VC's Update - Hello from London

28 July 2017

Hello everyone from London,

It's been a terrific but busy week here, where I've had the pleasure of catching up with a number of ANU alumni. It was great for the more than a 100 alumni to hear from Dr Gaye Sculthorpe, the 2017 Indigenous Alumni of the Year and Alexandra Schumann-Gillett, the 2016 Westpac Future Leadership Scholar, about their endeavours.

In particular I'd like to thank Mrs Chantal Crowe-Gargour, Chair of the London Alumni Network, for helping to organise what was a fantastic catch up between University representatives and our alumni who are achieving such impact over such a wide range of endeavours. One of the joys as Vice Chancellor is getting to hear about what our alumni community is up to all over the world.

Two weeks after we awarded Honorary Doctorates to Matilda House and Brendan Nelson at ANU graduations, I have been fortunate to be so honoured by the University of Southampton in receiving an Honorary Doctor of Science. I have some great collaborators in Southampton, and there are many people who have worked at both Universities - for example, Andrew Roberts, Dean of CPMS, and James Raymer, Head of Demography, just to name a few.

A number of our academic staff also received awards this week. I was thrilled to see that Tjabal Centre Director Anne Martin received an Honorary Doctorate of Education from the World of Indigenous Nations University in Ontario, Canada. In receiving the award, Anne wore a kangaroo skin cloak that was made using traditional imagery of the people of the Yuin Nation. The cloak represents the story of Anne's life and her career in helping improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians. Well done to Anne on this incredibly special recognition.

Big kudos also goes to four ANU economists who each received awards at the Australian Conference of Economists. Professor Alison Booth was awarded the Australian Economic Society Distinguished Fellow award. Professor Warwick McKibbin received the Society's Public Policy Fellow Award. Awards for the best economics papers went to Dr Christian Gillitzer and Dr Paul Burke.

And lastly thank you to the Emeritus Faculty for sending me the report of a roundtable discussion convened by them in late June. The report includes input from 37 different groups across the ANU community. I encourage everyone to read the report, which is called Pathways past the Precipice: flourishing in a Mega-Threatened World. How will ANU and the Australian university sector contribute to the mitigation of existential risk?

The report makes a number of important recommendations, which I am currently considering. We know that Oxford and Cambridge Universities are taking this issue very seriously and there is little doubt that as the National University, we could make an important contribution to the Australian response to these threats.

Looking forward to seeing you all when I return to Canberra next week.