THE GOLD STANDARD AWARD FOR DIPLOMATIC ENGAGEMENT
The award was presented by Joe Welch, Senior Vice President of Government Relations, Asia, at 21st Century Fox, to Bronwyn Capon BEM, Visit Coordinator at The British High Commission in Canberra. The presentation took place at The 2016 Gold Standard Awards cocktail reception in Hong Kong.
THE WINNER: The British High Commission Canberra – The Indigenous Australian Scholarships Programme
Indigenous Australians make up around 2.5 per cent of Australia’s population, yet as recently as 2010 no Indigenous Australian had ever studied for a full-time postgraduate degree at the universities of Oxford or Cambridge.
Determined to change that, the British High Commission in Canberra joined with the Charlie Perkins Trust, aptly named in honour of a visionary leader, the first Aboriginal student in Australia to graduate from university and the first to lead a government department.
The Chevening programme is the British Government’s global scholarship programme aimed at identifying future leaders and helping them develop professionally and academically while building lasting relationships with the UK. The High Commission decided to transform the Australian Chevening programme to refocus it on supporting talented Indigenous Australians applying for the prestigious British universities.
Charlie Perkins Scholarships were launched and in 2010 the inaugural scholars began their studies at Oxford. In March 2016, the programme was extended with new partner the Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation, supporting scholarships to any UK university.
The High Commission works with its partners to promote the scholarships, select candidates and find new ways to engage with scholars throughout their studies and when they return to Australia.
It hosts a high-profile annual awards reception, where politicians, Indigenous leaders, past and present scholars, Vice Chancellors and others celebrate the scholars’ achievements.
The scholarships are complemented by broader UK engagement with Indigenous communities, including the British Council’s ACCELERATE cultural leadership programme. The Council partners with the Australian Council for the Arts and state arts agencies to build a network of artists, curators and producers moving into senior positions.
The programme has been a great success: more than 30 Indigenous Australians have now been accepted to Oxford and Cambridge, many supported by these scholarships. Scholars who have completed their studies are taking leadership roles in education, public policy and business. They are role models for other young Indigenous people considering what path to take.
Focusing this programme on Indigenous scholars demonstrates UK commitment to diversity and inclusion. It has generated goodwill and positive media coverage celebrating the success of exceptional young people. This is an innovative, transformational programme: no other embassy runs a programme like it, although colleagues in other countries are looking closely at what the High Commission in Canberra has achieved.
The UK is far outstripping the USA – in the past five years there have been 16 Indigenous graduates from Oxbridge versus just two from the USA (Harvard).
The award was presented by Joe Welch, Senior Vice President of Government Relations at 21st Century Fox, to Bronwyn Capon BEM, Visit Coordinator at The British High Commission in Canberra. The presentation took place at The 2016 Gold Standard Awards cocktail reception in Hong Kong.
About the Sponsor:
21st Century Fox
21st Century Fox is an independent media and entertainment company reaching more than a billion people in 100 local languages every day, 21st Century Fox is home to a global portfolio of cable and broadcasting networks and properties, including FOX, FX, FXX, FS1, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Sports, Fox Sports Network, National Geographic Channels, Fox Pan American Sports, MundoFox and STAR; film studio Twentieth Century Fox Film; and television production studios Twentieth Century Fox Television and Shine Group. The company will also provide premium content to millions of subscribers through its pay-television services in Europe and Asia, including Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia and its equity interests in BSkyB and Tata Sky.