American Australian Association - 20th Anniversary of Graduate Education Fund
25th Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and the 24th Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce, AD CVO; Chair of the American Australian Association and CEO of the Aurora Education Foundation, Ms Leila Smith; American Australian Association Executive Director, Ms Debbie Chappel; representatives of the United States Consulate General in Sydney; Chancellor and Vice-Chancellors; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to all First Nations people here today.
Graeme and I are delighted to welcome you to Fernberg this evening to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of the American Australian Association’s Graduate Education Fund.
Since 2002, the generous support provided by this fund has enabled literally hundreds of Americans and Australians (more than nine hundred, to be precise!) to pursue their dreams, and it now offers truly transformational opportunities for First Nations peoples, veterans, and artists, as well as for the post-graduate scholars and researchers originally supported by the program.
The establishment of opportunities for Indigenous peoples on both sides of the Pacific has been one of the most notable features of the Association’s work in recent years, and I take this opportunity to acknowledge the leadership of Leila Smith and the Aurora Education Foundation in achieving this. And congratulations, Leila, on your recent appointment as Chair of the Association in Australia.
Moves to form an association linking American and Australian cultures through an association began as early as the 1920s, in the aftermath of World War I, but was greatly strengthened after World War II when Sir Keith Murdoch established the privately funded, not-for-profit organisation we know today.
Since then, the association has helped forge countless, enduring links of cooperation, understanding and friendship between our two nations, and I wish the 2022 scholars well as they embark on their adventures of studying in another country and culture.
It will enrich their professional and personal lives enormously, just as it did eight decades ago when a young American graduate, Robert Bowman, arrived in Queensland to study land utilisation.
The Brisbane Telegraph at the time reported Mr Bowman’s pleasure in finding a branch of the American-Australian Association in Brisbane and his view that “any movement which will assist in presenting a true picture of American life instead of the false impression created by certain moving pictures and magazines will be doing a great service to the cause of our common democracy”.
The need for mutual understanding continues today and I congratulate the Association on the contribution the education program has made, and continues to make, to helping our two nations to reach this goal.
It is proof of its enduring value.
Graeme and I are delighted to host you this evening and hope you enjoy the warm hospitality of Government House.