Australian Catholic University (ACU) sponsors and hosts Clemente Australia, working in partnership with community, education, business and government organisations and individual volunteers. 

Clemente Australia comprises ACU- supported Clemente programs and those delivered by other universities across Australia. Within ACU, Clemente is a shared endeavour, with academic and professional staff across campuses, directorates and faculties contributing to make Clemente work. 

Clemente Australia is part of an international Clemente network based in the USA. 

The Clemente Course in the Humanities organisation in the USA is the international base for Clemente, which has been introduced in Canada, Australia, South Korea, Mexico and Argentina. 

Aims and goals 

Clemente aims to break the cycle of poverty, inequality and social injustice for people experiencing complex life challenges through access to university education. The achievement of studying Humanities subjects at a university level for a person who has been living on the edge of society can be truly transformative.

Clemente's goals are to:

  • enhance participants’ self-confidence through rigorous learning, bringing about personal change
  • promote a positive view of the future for those who have been marginalised from society, thus enabling them to re-engage with society
  • make university education accessible to disadvantaged Australians
  • use the potential of humanities education to change lives and promote social inclusion
  • engage in genuine inter-sectoral collaboration for the benefit of disadvantaged Australians.

Principles and impact

The approach to learning and teaching is respectful and open. It draws on and values the life experiences of students. University education becomes the tool and catalyst for hope, self-awareness, self-determination and social inclusion leading to new possibilities and life options.

Clemente Australia students have become more independent, have improved long-term wellbeing, and are socially and economically engaged in Australian society. (Yashin-Shaw, Howard & Butcher, 2005)

More about the origins, early days and spread of Clemente across Australia

Clemente didn’t write me off because I didn’t finish school, or because I was too old or too sick to learn…Clemente doesn’t judge people. Instead, Clemente gives people a way out of strife… Clemente, in its commitment and dedication to students, is changing our world. 
Clemente student
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Clemente has opened up avenues for me to explore that I’ve never had in the past. I’ve always been from a low socio-economic background, living in a poorly-educated area. Clemente is a great opportunity for me to engage my brain…I didn’t think I can learn any more at my age but I have. I am socialising with people I’d never have socialised with in my limited social circles…it (Clemente) makes you feel like a productive member of society.

Clemente student
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