Alumni Australia

Our Australian alumni network is a prestigious group of thinkers, community leaders, academics, social change makers, politicians, innovators, authors, and journalists (to name but a few!) who have taken part in U.S. State Department programs.

Our network includes alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), Fulbright Exchange Program, American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL), Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars and Secondary School Educators, and a variety of other exchanges.

Australians have participated in a multitude of exchange programs in the U.S. to foster collaboration between our two countries. From entrepreneurs and innovators, to human rights activists and social change makers, our alumni community supports you all!

The U.S. Mission to Australia offers opportunities for our alumni community to connect with one another, promote alumni expertise and research, and strengthen the relationship between Australia and the United States.

Alongside our vibrant digital community, we also host alumni events across Australia, including: roundtable discussions; speaking opportunities with university students; networking events; and ad hoc collaborative opportunities.


Alumni profiles
Corporate Development, Australian Unity

 

How did you first encounter the U.S. Mission here in Australia?

In 2011, I was appointed the Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations. I had the amazing opportunity of engaging young people across Australia, and then representing their views, hopes and aspirations at the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. During my yearlong tenure I was introduced to the US Embassy in Canberra and then connected to the consulate in Melbourne. I have since maintained a relationship with the consulate through various events and as a participant on the IVLP program in 2015.

Tell us about your exchange experience?

In 2015, I joined four other Indigenous Australians on the IVLP program. Our program had a specific focus on Indigenous and Minority Groups. I was particularly interested in exploring the economic and political context of Native Americans, and gaining a deeper understanding of similarities and differences between our experiences in Australia. Our small group visited Washington DC, New York City, Santa Fe in New Mexico, Seattle and Hawaii.

We met with various Native American organisations, and organisations working alongside Native Americans in areas of law, education, policy, health, art and cultural maintenance.
My highlight was joining the annual Pueblo Revolt run – becoming the 3rd non-Native American runner to run the relay since its inception over 20 years ago. The Pueblo Revolt marks the anniversary of the 1680 revolt against the Spanish in which the Pueblos joined forces to push back the Spanish occupation. Here is a link for more information on the Revolt: http://newmexicohistory.org/people/pueblo-revolt-of-1680

However, I didn’t realise how elevated Santa Fe was from sea-level (for those playing at home, it is approx. 5,500 feet above sea level). I have never run in such thin air. The run is done in a relay and I had 3 sections to run – 1km, 3km and 5km. I honestly thought I was going to die in the first section… I think some of the other runners thought I had serious cardio issues. But I made it. It felt amazing to be a part of such a significant event, and to participate in the ceremonies in which you pay respects to their ancestors, celebrate their journey and become family.
What three things you would tell your younger self?

  1. Maintain and cultivate your curiosity and creativity
  2. Learn another language
  3. Spend more time in Papua New Guinea with your fathers family

Who would be your dream dinner guest?

Kofi Annan – he has always been someone that I would love to meet.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

At the start of the year, I set a goal to read more books and there have been a few interesting books, but one that stands out for me is ‘Kofi Annan: Interventions’ it is an incredible read that covers almost 30 years of Kofi’s journey with the United Nations, and the various interventions that he had be a part of including Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, Kosovo and East Timor. It is a candid yet hopeful reflection on the United Nations and the changing nature of its role within the world.

In a short time, reading this book and recently attending the address by US Vice President Joe Biden has profoundly changed my future aspirations. I am now studying full-time Politics, Philosophy and Economics and undertaking electives in International Relations.

Distribution & Strategy for Arena Media’s national release of Eva Orner’s CHASING ASYLUM

 

How did you first encounter the U.S. Mission here in Australia?

I’ve been connected with the U.S. Consulate in Melbourne for the past 4-5 years through my work as the CEO of the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival. They have been big supporters of the festival and great at bringing like-minded people together.

Tell us about your exchange experience?

I had an incredible three weeks in the USA, meeting with interesting organisations all across America working in the area of “Arts for Social Change”. We travelled to a really diverse range of cities, from DC to New York, New Orleans and Iowa and ended in the cultural melting pot of Santa Fe, volunteering on July 4th!

I was really inspired everyday. To be surrounded by passionate and creative people that understand the power of arts to transform communities felt like an absolute luxury! From international heavyweights like the Smithsonian, savvy NFPs like The Ghetto Film School, schools like the Institute of American Indian Arts and small community arts after-school programs in Iowa, we heard from a real range of different programs and organisations. It was also an interesting way to hear about the social and environmental challenges the different communities face.

The group of 23 participants from 22 different countries was an amazing bunch of people – now close friends – to meet. We’re all arts-workers or artists, so quite a loud bunch; apparently we were the craziest group the liaisons had ever had! That network of colleagues working in my field, located all around the world, is an incredible take-away from the trip. We felt like one big family after a really short time together, I’m lucky enough to be visiting many of them when I travel later in the year.
I wasn’t sure what to expect on the trip, and it completely exceeded my expectations.

What two things you would tell your younger self?

You’re never too old to start something completely new, especially something creative.

Good job on the traveling, great decision!

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself?

I’ve climbed a couple of mountains in Nepal thanks to my crazy Irish stepdad, the first when I was 12! I also like to think I can copy any dance style you throw at me – or at least I’ll give it a good crack…

Who would be your dream dinner guest?

Lauryn Hill or Cat Power, I’d love to hear about their music!

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Currently getting through The Narrow Road to the Deep North, but actually I’ve been more obsessed with films! I just saw the restored version of The Boys at MIFF which was incredible.
What’s your favorite part of the U.S.?

I love Williamsburg in New York, the general vibe in that city is electric, there is always someone doing something bizarre and creative. Plus I love the variety of visiting different states. Driving from Texas to Louisiana, or comparing DC to Santa Fe – each place has such a distinct personality, it’s fascinating.