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NAIDOC Week: Celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture

Posted: 9 July 2021

Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Alumni, Experience, Impact, In Australia, Linkages, Scholar,

Each year in July, a week-long celebration is held across Australia to mark the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC Week invites the nation to embrace First Nations’ cultural knowledge and understanding as part of Australia’s national heritage.

This year’s NAIDOC theme—Heal Country!—calls for the recognition, protection and maintenance of all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

Australia Awards and Scope Global are coordinating initiatives and activities with scholars, alumni and staff to increase awareness about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and celebrate NAIDOC Week.

Australia Awards in South Asia is marking NAIDOC Week with initiatives for scholars, alumni and staff

Celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture

Australia Awards provides opportunities for scholars to learn about and connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture as a way of promoting change, commitment to Reconciliation and personal growth. For example, in 2020, eight Australia Awards scholars from South Asia living in Adelaide attended an Aboriginal cultural awareness and sensitivity training facilitated by Haydyn Bromley of Bookabee Australia. In response to the success of the training, this year all scholars from South Asia will be invited to attend the same training virtually in August.

During their time in Australia, scholars also have opportunities to apply for professional development grants in areas of interest to them. Scholar Saira Israr from Pakistan (pictured at top) received such a grant to learn about working on socio-economic development projects for Aboriginal communities in Australia. Through the grant, Saira will be undertaking an internship with Canberra-based Aboriginal business Curijo, which provides high-quality Aboriginal affairs and mainstream services, including consulting in corporate disciplines, cultural and community services, and adult education. As part of her internship, Saira will gain hands-on experience in project management, writing and researching in relevant fields, observing consultations, and supporting clients to engage in the community. Saira is planning to begin her internship in August 2021.

Across South Asia, Australia Awards scholars and alumni will also be invited to a short film festival to mark NAIDOC Week. Bran Nue Dae, a documentary based on the musical of the same name focused on the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, will be available to watch online. An aim of the festival is to increase awareness and enhance understanding of Aboriginal culture, while giving alumni in South Asia a chance to think about working to increase awareness of their own countries’ indigenous communities.

Australia Awards provides opportunities for scholars to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture while they are in Australia

Such engagement continues beyond NAIDOC Week more broadly throughout the year. Drawing representation from a diverse group of employees, Scope Global fosters an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusion working group to facilitate broader company understanding and engagement. Australia Awards scholars will be invited to attend an event to launch the organisation’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan in August 2021. They will have the opportunity to build networks and further their own understanding of Reconciliation in Australia.

Scope Global manages Australia Awards – South Asia on behalf of the Australian Government.

Image on top: Australia Awards scholar from Pakistan, Saira Israr, will undertake an internship with Aboriginal owned and controlled company Curijo.