World news - Spring 2023

The University of Adelaide is a top-100 University, with strong links to alumni and partners globally. In this new section for Lumen, we invited some of our family of “foreign correspondents” to give a brief insight into their lives and careers.

John Scanlon AO

John Scanlon taking part in an elephant relocation, Malawi

John Scanlon AO
CEO of the Elephant Protection Initiative Foundation, Chair, Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime, Bachelor of Laws 1983; Master of Laws (Environmental) 1995

Australian environmental lawyer John Scanlon is internationally recognised as a leader and policymaker. However, his early interest in the environment was born in the Adelaide Hills, where his family owned a bush block. As a child he would spend weekends exploring and developing the appreciation for nature that went on to fuel his life’s work: environmental protection, including combatting wildlife trafficking and environmental crimes on a global scale.

“Despite the scale, nature and consequences of wildlife trafficking, we don’t have any international agreement on how we’re going to prevent it and combat it,” John says.

He is calling for a new protocol under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime.

“The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services anticipates we’re going to lose one million species over the coming decades unless we change course. Yet wildlife trafficking goes far beyond the impacts on wildlife itself. These crimes are estimated to cost US$1-2 trillion annually and have severe and lasting consequences for biodiversity, climate, and ecosystems.”

John is now based in Switzerland with his family, but his work has seen him accept influential positions around the world, including as Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Head of the Law Program of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Principal Advisor to the Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

In July this year the University of Adelaide was delighted to host John for a public lecture, ‘Environmental, nature and wildlife crimes and the role of international law’, which included a discussion about how Australia can contribute to this important work.

The University of Adelaide is responding to the issue and was recently awarded an ARC Industry Laureate Fellowship. Associate Professor Phillip Cassey, who leads the Invasion Science and Wildlife Ecology Lab, will direct a $3.7 million project to combat wildlife crime and prevent environmental harm using digital wildlife forensic tools.

“It makes you proud to be an alum of this University, to see the kind of work that’s going on here today,” John says.

Charudaththa  Ekanayake

Charudaththa Ekanayake at the United Nations Sri Lanka

Charudaththa Ekanayake
Risk Analyst, United Nations Sri Lanka, Bachelor of International Studies with Honours (2015)

After he graduated from the University of Adelaide, Charudaththa Ekanayake studied and worked in London before returning to Sri Lanka to forge his career with the United Nations.

Now based in Colombo, he has had the opportunity to use his internationally-acquired knowledge and skills to make an impact at home within a truly global organisation.

“It’s a dream for many students of international relations to work at the UN, so achieving that was quite special,” he says.

“Working on peacebuilding and reconciliation in a country like Sri Lanka, which experienced a prolonged civil conflict from 1983-2009, is quite challenging. While the guns have long been silent, many of the root causes that led to the conflict in the first place remain unaddressed and still sensitive… the UN is often called on to act as a mediator and as a voice for the voiceless. However, the work is also meaningful and rewarding, as you get to make a real and lasting impact.”

Jacqueline  Angelina Kwari

Jacqueline Angelina Kwari, State Library of South Australia

Jacqueline Angelina Kwari
Student, International Business Management, at Universitas Ciputra Surabaya, Indonesia, Business Development Intern at Martin Suryana and Associates, Indonesia

In 2022, Jacqueline Angelina Kwari completed a semester-long study abroad program at the University of Adelaide as an Indonesian International Student Mobility Award recipient.

Passionate about feminism, social justice, literature, history and politics, Jacqueline is now back in Indonesia, studying International Business Management at Universitas Ciputra Surabaya. “I matured as a person and as a thinker whilst studying in another culture, and made friends from many different countries who are now invaluable for my global professional network".

“My time at the University of Adelaide helped me focus more on my passions and boosted my confidence to explore industries and opportunities that complemented my major. As a consequence, I have achieved several awards in my university, including being awarded the most outstanding student and representing it in regional competitions.”

Jacqueline’s international experience has also benefitted her career aspirations, and she’s currently applying her skills as a Business Development Intern at Martin Suryana and Associates, one of the leading law firms in her hometown of Surabaya.

“The University of Adelaide set me on a completely different career and academic trajectory than what I had planned,” she says. “I gained new perspectives about who I am and what I can be. The experience of living and studying in Adelaide was truly transformative.”

The University of Adelaide welcomed its first group of Indonesian International Study Mobility Awards (IISMA) sponsored students in July 2022 and has already received 15 students under the program in 2023.

Professor Ian Fisk

Professor Ian Fisk working to improve the taste of food

Professor Ian Fisk
Professor Ian Fisk, who has a joint appointment with the University of Adelaide and the University of Nottingham, is a flavour chemist and food scientist who’s obsessed with flavour and developing ways to improve the taste of sustainable, healthy food and ingredients.

“Together, our universities are working on improving the flavour of plant-based food, developing flavour enhancement systems to increase palatability and nutrition,” he says. “The collaboration between our two universities truly is exciting. Due to the globally interconnected nature of our food supply chain, there is an imperative to work together to identify sustainable alternatives in our diet to ensure a safe, reliable supply of high-quality nutritional foods that consumers enjoy.

“Sustainable healthy diets require a rethink of food ingredients and crops, new agricultural and food production processes and novel packaging systems and new routes to market. Ultimately this is how we go about a step change for diets and more sustainable eating habits.”

One of the cutting-edge analytical tools the research team is using is the MS-Nose and E-tongue. These high-end analytical techniques act like an artificial nose and tongue, allowing real-time measurement of aromas while you are eating and rapid characterisation of taste profiles.

“Flavour is a combination of the smell and taste of a food. When you interchange food ingredients or materials such as reducing fat, sugar and salt or replacing meat proteins with plant proteins, there are a series of highly complex flavour questions that need to be answered,” he says.

“These include how to ensure that nutritious plant-based meat alternatives generate an equally appealing flavour during cooking, and how to ensure that when part of a complete meal, they are a viable alternative for those who regularly consume meat.

“These are some of the challenges we will be exploring within our team.”

The University of Adelaide and the University of Nottingham have collaborated for more than a decade, and in 2022 signed an agreement to launch the Adelaide-Nottingham Alliance. The Alliance will develop the next generation of students with a truly global mindset and increase the impact of our research at local, regional and national levels.

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