28 May 2010: Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Brisbane Indigenous Unit and Mt St Michael's College, Ashgrove, were last night awarded the Premier’s Reconciliation Award by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.
Ms Bligh said the award winners were paving the way for reconciliation in Queensland.
“The Reconciliation Awards for Business are a great opportunity to celebrate businesses and community organisations who are working in partnership with Indigenous and non-Indigenous Queenslanders to build solid foundations for the future,” she said.
“These organisations are proof that there are many ways we can help to make a difference and create real and lasting change.”
ACU’s Weemala Indigenous Higher Education Unit began working closely with the school in 2007 - when College students and ACU Indigenous students met to discuss social justice issues.
Dean Duncan, Weemala Academic Coordinator, said the partnership has continued to strengthen, with students now meeting regularly to share stories, ask questions and support each other.
“Meeting in an informal setting has provided a space for the students to find common ground and increase their understanding of each other’s cultures,” he said.
“Indigenous people have a desire to share their culture and stories with the wider community, and especially with young people. If we can develop strong partnerships with schools and colleges, we can ensure young people are equipped with an understanding of Indigenous issues, so they can drive future change.
“This partnership with Mt St Michael's College has given us the opportunity to understand what the younger Australian generation think in terms of Indigenous culture, issues and history.
“In the workshops stories are shared, connections are made and common ground is found so that ties are strengthened and pre-conceived ideas are challenged.”
The 2010 reconciliation award winners share $25,000 in prize money.
Australian Catholic University has a strong record for Indigenous participation. In the 2010 edition of The Good Universities Guide, four out of the six ACU campuses, including Brisbane, received the top ‘five-star’ rating for this area.