UNESCO honours University academics

Professor Stephen Lincoln, Dr Rob Amery, Kaurna elder Uncle Lewis O'Brien, Lord Mayor Michael Harbison, Heather Southcott OAM and Joy de Leo OAM at the UNESCO Adelaide Chapter launch.

Professor Stephen Lincoln, Dr Rob Amery, Kaurna elder Uncle Lewis O'Brien, Lord Mayor Michael Harbison, Heather Southcott OAM and Joy de Leo OAM at the UNESCO Adelaide Chapter launch.
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Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Four University of Adelaide staff and graduates have been honoured by the United Nations at a special function hosted by Adelaide Lord Mayor Michael Harbison.

The four awarded UNESCO* certificates of achievement for their respective work in science, linguistics, human rights and education are:

  • Professor Stephen Lincoln, an expert on global warming and climate change;
  • Dr Rob Amery, Kaurna language specialist and reviver of endangered indigenous languages;
  • Human rights advocate Heather Southcott OAM; and
  • UNESCO delegate and education expert Joy de Leo OAM

All were honoured at a civic reception at the Adelaide Town Hall last night to launch the Adelaide Chapter of UNESCO and the 60th anniversary of the organisation in Australia.

Professor Lincoln's award-winning work on energy use and climate change is highly regarded in Australia and overseas. In 2006 he published Challenged Earth, a scientifically based and comprehensive insight into the challenges facing humanity and Earth in the 21st century.

The internationally-renowned scientist and author of 300 research papers and two books was awarded the Royal Australian Chemical Institute's H.G. Smith Memorial Medal in 2002 for outstanding research in the field of chemistry.

UNESCO honoured Professor Lincoln for his "scientific approach to the problems humanity faces and for ways of improving our stewardship of Earth".

Dr Rob Amery, a lecturer in linguistics at the University of Adelaide, has been credited with helping to revive the traditional Kaurna language and raising awareness of Aboriginal languages in Australia.

In 1998 Dr Amery completed a PhD on Kaurna, the language of the Adelaide Plains people, developing a range of innovative strategies to promote the Aboriginal language and a method for the reintroduction of 'sleeping' languages.

Dr Amery's UNESCO award is in recognition of "the documentation both of the Kaurna language and aspects of the traditions of the Kaurna Plains people and the development of language revival resources".

Heather Southcott is heavily involved in human rights and refugee work. The former parliamentarian and founding member of the Australian Democrats is currently President of the United Nations Association of Australia (South Australia).

Ms Southcott, who graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1948 with a pharmacology degree, is a member of Amnesty International, the Coalition for the Bill of Rights and the International Human Rights Day Committee. She is also a strong advocate for social justice and children's rights.

UNESCO honoured Ms Southcott for her "services to the community, in particular as Chairperson of the United Nations Association of Australia".

Joy de Leo has been a member of nine Australian delegations to international UNESCO events since 1999 and a delegate and speaker on human rights education at more than 20 UNESCO conferences. She has a Graduate Diploma from the University of Adelaide and is currently studying for her Doctorate in Education at the University.

Ms de Leo promotes Values Education in Australia and throughout the Asia Pacific region, working closely with UNESCO in Bangkok. Her award is in recognition of her "services to UNESCO, in particular as Regional Vice President and as Australian Founding President of UNESCO".

University of Adelaide Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Academic) Professor Fred McDougall said UNESCO's recognition of all four reflected their commitment to the organisation's ideals.

"UNESCO's stated purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaborations in the fields of education, science, culture and communication. This honour bestowed on our staff and graduates recognises their outstanding achievements in these areas."

*The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded in 1945. UNESCO is committed to a global vision of sustainable development based upon observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty.


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