Uni of Adelaide renews commitment to Reconciliation

Monday, 26 May 2014

The University of Adelaide will launch a new Reconciliation Statement to mark Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June) and to build on its commitment to Indigenous education, employment and cultural awareness.

The University's new Reconciliation Statement will be launched on Thursday 29 May at a ceremony involving the Hon. Ian Hunter, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, and members of the Kaurna community.

The University of Adelaide has had a formal Reconciliation Statement since 2003. The new statement includes several revised aims in keeping with the University's new Strategic Plan, Beacon of Enlightenment.

"The University of Adelaide's original Reconciliation Statement will always be the foundation stone: the guiding principles if you like. However, a decade on from that watershed signing, we felt it was time to renew our commitment to reconciliation and to take into account the future directions of the University," said the Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Warren Bebbington.

"Our aspirations for Indigenous enrolments, employment and cultural awareness throughout the University community are more compelling now than they have ever been. And our mandate to foster and protect a campus environment of equity, diversity and social justice has never changed. In the University of Adelaide's 140th anniversary year this was clearly the right time to revisit our Reconciliation Statement and to reaffirm our position for a new generation," Professor Bebbington said.

The University's Dean of Indigenous Education, Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney, said the new Reconciliation Statement continued to acknowledge the hardships suffered by Australian Indigenous people since European colonisation; and it acknowledges that the Kaurna people are the original custodians of the land on which the University's campuses at North Terrace, Waite, Roseworthy and Thebarton are built.

"The new Reconciliation Statement goes even deeper than that," Professor Rigney said. "It is essentially a roadmap for the next 10 years of engagement with Indigenous communities, providing specific targets for participation rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff, and an affirmation of Indigenous culture right across the University."

Professor Rigney said the new Reconciliation Statement would be used in conjunction with the University's new Strategic Plan and the Integrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategy, Tarrkarri Tirrka, which was launched during Reconciliation Week last year.


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