[by Chris Gillies]
Charles Sturt University and Wiradjuri Elders win Global Citizenship Award
The Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage has won third price in the 2019 MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship, established by the Talloires Network and MacJannet Foundation.
The Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage, the only course of its kind in Australia, was created through a collaboration with Wiradjuri Elders, and is based upon ‘Yindyamarra’ (respect) and values the self-determination of the Wiradjuri people on their country, where the University is largely based. The program is lead and taught by Wiradjuri people including Uncle Stan Grant.
Students who travel from across NSW and from interstate to participate, are required to complete an impactful project that benefits their community.
Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann said he felt deeply privileged to be Vice-Chancellor when the program was initiated.
“I am delighted that this unique program has rightly achieved global recognition.
“The program has an ongoing, positive impact in the community and ensures that the University engages in a genuine and long-term contribution to cultural understanding with the Wiradjuri people.
“The Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage was compared to entries from around the world to claim third prize, with the prize money to be directly invested in this essential program.
“Charles Sturt is a University that is deeply committed to our connections with Indigenous people and culture and I congratulate all involved with the program,” Professor Vann said.
Charles Sturt Professor Sue Green from the School of Indigenous Australian Studies said it was an honour for the Graduate Certificate of the Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage to be included in the winners of the MacJannet Award and to sit amongst other honourable and deserving programs.
“Our placement within the winners of this award is fantastic recognition of all the dedication and great work of Uncle Stan Grant senior, Aunty Flo Grant and the team, students and community.
“The Graduate Certificate of Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage does really change lives and in grounded in the Human Rights of Wiradjuri people as the first peoples of Wiradjuri country,” Professor Green said.
Indigenous elder Dr Stan Grant (Senior) said the award was significant.
“This award is fantastic, it means a heck of a lot to me…it’s my grandfather’s dream come true,” Dr Grant said.
Aunty Flo Grant said the Wiradjuri Elders came up with the vision and Charles Sturt answered the call by “giving us Ros Brennan Kemmis, Stephen Kemmis and Deb Evans to help build it”.
Well known Wiradjuri artist Jonathon Jones said the course took a unique approach.
“This course doesn’t teach you about culture but is culture. Set within the Wiradjuri framework, you are immersed in our ways of being and understanding.
“The framework set down by our elders like Uncle Stan, provides meaningful ways of learning - our way - where our language is the foundation, our people come together and our knowledge is shared.
“For Wiradjuri people this is important, as one of the largest nations, we are also the most diverse. This course brings us together as a nation with one heart,” Mr Jones said.
Wiradjuri author and current student in the course, Dr Anita Heiss said she was thrilled by news of the award.
“The Global Citizenship Award recognises the unique opportunity that Charles Sturt and our incredible teachers have provided not only Wiradjuri people, but all those interested in learning, maintaining and sharing our language.”
“For myself, the experience of reclaiming sovereignty through this program has been incredibly powerful, and there is no doubt that this course makes a significant contribution to strengthening our future as the First Peoples of central NSW.
“Congratulations to all those who made this program possible – this is what education for the future really looks like,” Dr Heiss said.
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