Author, historian, academic and Aboriginal rights activist, Dr Jackie Huggins AM has been appointed as Swinburne’s inaugural Vice-Chancellor's Fellow for Indigenous Leadership.
The appointment was announced as part of Swinburne's annual Barak-Wonga Oration, which was delivered by Dr Huggins. The oration is named in honour of two significant Aboriginal leaders, William Barak and Simon Wonga, and is a key element of Swinburne’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
Dr Huggins has previously worked with Swinburne, making a substantial contribution to its inaugural National RAP Conference in 2018.
In her role as Vice-Chancellor's Fellow for Indigenous Leadership, Dr Huggins will continue to contribute to Swinburne reconciliation activities.
“I am delighted to receive this appointment and look forward to doing more work with Swinburne,” said Dr Huggins at the Oration.
“Education has been my saviour and my friend. Typical of the children of the 60s, we learned more about the kings and queens of England than my people. I knew something was terribly missing, hence my desire and drive to know more instead of being fed a diet of lies and cover-ups.
“I knew one day our history and culture would be taught in schools over and over again… that is why I became a historian.”
A Swinburne welcome
Speaking at the oration, Swinburne’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Linda Kristjanson AO, welcomed Dr Huggins to the new role.
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Dr Jackie Huggins to the university. She will make an enormous contribution to Swinburne’s ongoing national leadership on reconciliation.”
The oration’s MC, Executive Director of Reconciliation and Executive Director of the Moondani Toombadool Centre, Professor Andrew Gunstone, also congratulated Dr Huggins on her appointment.
“Swinburne is honoured to have Dr Huggins join us and I am very much looking forward to working with her on a number of exciting projects over the next few years.”
The announcement builds on Swinburne’s reconciliation journey and its support of the Uluru Statement from the Heart earlier in 2019.
Swinburne was the first Australian university to achieve ‘Elevate’ status for its 2017-2019 Reconciliation Action Plan and it co-organised the inaugural National Reconciliation Action Plan Conference in 2018.
The university has implemented a number of measures to support reconciliation both within the organisation and in the broader community. This included establishing the Moondani Toombadool Centre as a central body of knowledge and support on Indigenous matters in 2018.