The number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people has exceeded 50 million worldwide this year, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.
To meet the social challenges this unprecedented volume of human displacement presents, UniSA launched the Hawke European Union Centre for Mobilities, Migrations and Cultural Transformations last month. The Centre will promote new research, debate policy choices, and promote cultural initiatives to protect human rights, to counter discrimination and to develop humane responses to migration and the rising numbers of displaced peoples globally.
Officially opened by former Australian Prime Minister Mr Bob Hawke, the Hawke EU Centre launch was also attended by EU Ambassador for Australia and New Zealand, HE Mr Sem Fabrizi. During his address, Mr Hawke said the new Centre will tackle some of the most critical human rights issues facing Australia and the world at large.
“This Centre will be an ideal place to bring together a global community of people – from both Australia and the EU – from scholars to policy makers, experts, specialists, local and national government groups as well as the wider public to generate this necessary dialogue and scholarship,” he said.
Highlighting the importance of collaboration, EU Ambassador Mr Fabrizi said the Hawke EU Centre will pinpoint how the EU and Australia can work together to address the global challenge of human displacement.
“This Centre is particularly well placed and well timed. Every four seconds somewhere in the world a person is forced to flee his or her home due to conflict or natural disaster, including pandemics, as we can see in the case of Ebola,” he said.
“The research and work of this Centre, and its wide-reaching networks, can help to focus attention on this global challenge, and its social and cultural implications. The Centre aims to suggest solutions and pathways to generate new thinking and policy directions in response to the issues.”
The Hawke EU Centre will be led by acclaimed sociologist and literary theorist, Associate Professor Jennifer Rutherford. According to Assoc Prof Rutherford, the impetus to research current global challenges has never been more urgent.
“We’ll be working closely with our European colleagues and developing a multi-disciplinary approach across UniSA to tackle these issues,” she said.
“We are already living in an environment where more people are travelling and more quickly than at any other time in history.
“Coupled with global pressures from terrorism and counter-terrorism, disease and economic hardship and today we have more than 50 million people on the move worldwide - refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced people.
“Our remit is to look at what pressures that instability and movement causes – the impacts on social cohesion, human rights, cultural development and change, nationhood and citizenship, and how those terms may be redefined, and ultimately how these cracks and shifts in global communities affect peace and stability.”
In collaboration with UniSA, the EU has funded the new Centre at the Hawke Research Institute, Australia's largest social science and humanities institute.
For more information on the new Hawke EU Centre, go to their website.
An international project team will design the iconic new Great Hall at UniSA’s City West campus.
Announced last month, the team will be led by South Australian firm JPE Design Studio in association with Norwegian architecture firm, Snøhetta, working on its first Australian project, and will also include SA’s own JamFactory.
The Great Hall has been conceived to transform on-campus life for students and will include sports facilities, a swimming pool, graduation and examination facilities, corporate, cultural and function facilities and a landscaped plaza. The construction will also feature public art incorporated into the design.
UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd said the project was being planned as the heart of the campus.
“We are aiming for an inspiring design that is architecturally expressive,” Prof Lloyd said.
“Most of all we want the Great Hall to be a place students will remember fondly long after they graduate and one which graduates will want to return to – it will be a place where achievements and milestones are celebrated.
“There will also be a unique opportunity for our graduate community worldwide to make their mark on the project through a special fundraising campaign which will be launched next year leading up to our 25th Birthday in 2016.”
The Great Hall will be fully integrated with other developments on the campus including the recently opened Jeffrey Smart Learning Centre and future student accommodation.
The proposed site is adjacent the Jeffrey Smart Learning Centre, currently occupied by the City West Child Care Centre (CWCCC) and former Cargo Club building, both of which are to be demolished following relocation of the CWCCC to new premises on University property.
Norwegian architecture firm, Snøhetta are behind the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City.
For more information, go the related media release.
More than 10,000 UniSA graduates in China now have an alumni chapter to call their own, after UniSA launched its China Alumni Association in Beijing last month under the umbrella of that nation’s highly esteemed Western Returned Scholars Association (WRSA).
The new alumni network is the first in the Southern Hemisphere to have an alumni branch within the WRSA which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013.
UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd said it was a great honour to work with such a prestigious association which represents some of China’s most achieved global graduates.
“UniSA has played a significant role in the education journey for more than 14,400 scholars from China in the past 12 years and has established strong collaborative links with Chinese universities which we regard as important long-term relationships, including with Tianjin University, Shandong University and Beijing Normal University,” Prof Lloyd said.
“The new alumni network across China will represent the wide range of UniSA’s Chinese graduates from Bachelor degree programs in engineering, education, health, business and sciences, right through to those with MBA and PhD qualifications.
“It is through networks like this one that our relationship moves beyond being simply quality educators of students, to one that helps to nurture enduring understanding and friendship between China and Australia.”
The new UniSA China Alumni Association will be headed up by inaugural President Mr Qiao Luqiang who graduated from the University with a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management and an MBA.
Now the Deputy Director of Executive Coordination Office at China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Mr Qiao continues to make extensive contributions to cultural exchanges between Australia and China. He says he is looking forward to playing an important role in the development of the new Chapter.
“Not only will the Chapter be a powerful network for alumni in China to tap into, but we also plan to host a number of events throughout the year, so that the education and support UniSA alumni receive continues long after they graduate,” Mr Qiao said.
More than 50 alumni attended the event as well as a number of UniSA staff, including Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President Nigel Relph and Pro Vice Chancellor and Vice President (Business & Law) Professor Marie Wilson, and UniSA Council member Miriam Silva.
UniSA alumnus Andrew Sluggett, who completed a Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2005, has been named SA/NT Pharmacist of the Year.
Since graduating Sluggett has gained experience as a clinical pharmacist and a cytotoxic and sterile manufacturing pharmacist at both the Royal Adelaide and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals.
Currently employed as the General Manager and Chief Pharmacist of CPIE Pharmacy Services – a community pharmacy, private hospital pharmacy and aseptic compounding facility, Sluggett is also Vice President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (SA branch).
Sluggett’s collaborative work with other health professionals and government organisations, fostering innovative models of pharmacy practice, has recently seen him securing a $1.1 million collaborative research grant from the South Australian Government to investigate Hospital at Home care.
Sluggett says he firmly believes that pharmacists play a vital role within the health care team and the wider community.
“I am passionate about issues currently faced by the pharmacy profession, and value innovation and collaboration which will ultimately support expanded roles for pharmacists in our ever-changing health system,” he says.
Sluggett says it was a nice surprise to receive the accolade, which was presented by Stephen Wade MLC, State Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing.
“I am very honoured and humbled to receive the award, and hope I can provide inspiration to other pharmacists to also continue contributing towards improving the profession,” he says.
An education alumnus has been recognised nationally for his important contributions to science teaching and for taking it in new creative directions in and outside of the classroom.
Brian Schiller, a graduate of UniSA’s antecedent institution – the South Australian College of Advanced Education, received the 2014 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools, which was presented by Australian Prime Minister, the Honourable Tony Abbott MP in Canberra last month.
Schiller, who works at Seacliff Primary School in South Australia, was acknowledged for using science to enhance student learning in a range of curriculum areas. The innovative teacher recently developed a project which integrates science and the Japanese language through the creation of Japanese language-learning books that incorporate science activities the students have undertaken.
The combination was hugely successful and last year, the class involved in the project performed significantly better in Japanese than other classes at the school, who learnt Japanese without the science element.
On receiving the award, Schiller said it was recognition not only for him but for others, including his principal, colleagues and school parents, who had helped in his achievements at the school.
“I wouldn’t have received this award if it wasn’t for the amazing team I work with – particularly our school’s principal, Mr Greg Miller, and deputy principal, Mr Scott Francis, who allowed me the freedom to stretch the boundaries, to think outside the box, and to make a mess in the classroom,” he said.
“Receiving this award is a huge honour, but my greatest reward has always been in working with the children themselves, witnessing them interacting in wonder with the world around them and fuelling their high level of creativity and imagination.”
For the second year running an international student from UniSA has won the ‘Excellence in Community Engagement’ prize at the South Australian International Student of the Year awards.
Malaysian born student Chee Wan Tan (Jerad) jointly won the prestigious award for his contribution to community work both locally and internationally. Jerad, who studied a Bachelor of Management (Marketing) degree at UniSA, says he was surprised to receive the honour.
“I didn’t acknowledge my name being called until the MC mentioned Malaysia. I felt overwhelming and couldn’t believe it,” he says.
The community engagement award is presented to an international student for their involvement in volunteer work or community engagement in South Australia. Since arriving in Adelaide, Jerad has regularly engaged with the local community, volunteering at events such as Clean-up Australia, contributing to charities including World Vision Australia, and working at a local thrift shop.
“My goals in Australia include breaking cultural barriers, enhancing sustainable social engagement and promoting volunteering,” he says.
“My principle aim is to inspire, encourage and empower people to serve together for a better future.”
During his time at UniSA, Jerad was also an ambassador for UniSA’s Global Experience (GE) program. As part of the program, he volunteered in Tanzania and Kenya to teach English, and also helped raise $6,000 for WellWishers, an organisation building hand-dug wells in Ethiopia. Jerad attributes the GE program to helping him develop the capacity for personal and professional growth.
“When I enrolled into GE, the course matured me and extended my exposure to global understanding. The learning environment changed m y perspective toward community engagement,” he says.
While Jerad believes the award will build his confidence, he is also determined to remain humble. He hopes to continue on this path of community engagement by either studying a Masters in Social Work next year or working for a not-for-profit organisation back in Malaysia.
Exploring the role of nutrition in addressing the growing international diabesity (obesity and diabetes) crisis was the focus of symposium held at UniSA last month.
Nearly 100 people gathered at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute to hear from local, national and international experts at the ‘Nutrition, chronic disease and the role of inflammation and the microbiome’ symposium, hosted by the School of Population Health’s Professor Kerin O’Dea and Professor Robyn McDermott.
Prof McDermott said the symposium brought together researchers from a range of fields to explore ways to tackle the growing diabesity crisis.
“There seems to be more confusion than ever about what to eat. This symposium produced some exciting prospects for research which can potentially have a direct impact on our current diabesity crisis,” she said.
“The human body is host to a wide variety of bacterial, fungal, viral and archael microbes on the skin, in the mouth and in the gut. These microbes help with food digestion and maintenance of the immune system.
“A better understanding of these microbes and the impact of different foods on human health will involve greater collaborative efforts from different disciplines including immunology, microbial ecology, biochemistry, clinical epidemiology, public health and economics.
“We were lucky to learn from several esteemed researchers in these areas at the symposium, including immunologist Professor Charles Mackay and molecular microbiologist Associate Professor Geraint Rogers.”
As part of the symposium, UniSA’s Sansom Institute for Health Research hosted a presentation by Professor Berit Heitmann from the University of Southern Denmark, whose expertise includes dietary intake and the determinants and consequences of obesity.
Prof Heitmann discussed the ‘D-tect study’, a large cohort study investigating the impact of compulsory Vitamin D fortification in margarine and milk in Denmark on a number of chronic diseases including type 1 diabetes and schizophrenia.
For a full wrap-up of the symposium, go to the following website.