University launches Reconciliation Statement

Tuesday, 8 July 2003

The University of Adelaide will take another major step forward in its Indigenous affairs today (Tuesday) with the launch of its Statement of Reconciliation.

The statement will be officially launched by University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Professor James McWha in the Mitchell Building foyer today (Tuesday) at 10am. The official welcome to the launch - which is being held on traditional Kaurna land - will be given by Kaurna elder Mr Lewis O'Brien.

Other speakers at the launch include the State Minister for Aboriginal Affairs the Hon. Mr Terry Roberts, Supreme Court judge and co-chair of Reconciliation SA Justice Ted Mullighan, fellow Reconciliation SA co-chair Ms Shirley Peisley and Director of the Centre for Australian Indigenous Research & Studies Mr Roger Thomas.

Prominent past and present Indigenous University of Adelaide students will attend or be acknowledged, including present students AFL footballer Che Cockatoo-Collins and Social Inquiry PhD student Sonja Kurtzer and past graduates Dr Suzi Hutchings (Phd in Anthropology), Dr Matthew Bourke (Medicine), and Dr Irene Watson and Camille Dobson (both Law). A group of CASM musicians, led by Jardine Kiwat, will perform a new song especially written for the occasion.

The comprehensive 393-word Statement of Reconciliation affirms the University of Adelaide's commitment to the reconciliation process, as well as acknowledging and apologising for past injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

"This statement is more than just words on paper - it is a living, working document which the entire university community can engage with," Professor McWha says.

"I would like to pay tribute to the many people and groups around the university who made significant efforts in bringing this statement to fruition, particularly our Centre for Australian Indigenous Research & Studies and its Director, Mr Roger Thomas, and our Gender, Equity and Diversity committee, headed by Professor Mike Innes."

Mr Thomas says the statement heralds continuous improvement in the relationship between the University of Adelaide and its Indigenous stakeholders.

"I am delighted that the University has taken this step and look forward to working together to ensure our ultimate goal of reconciliation is reached," Mr Thomas says. "In particular I am excited for the university's Indigenous students, who stand to benefit in this exciting new era of reconciliation."

Media are welcome to attend the launch of the University of Adelaide's Statement of Reconciliation. A copy of the statement is available here.


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