Yachad – Unity – Israel, Australia and Education

November 29, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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Prime Minister Julia Gillard addressed the National Australia Bank Yachad Scholarship Fund Luncheon in Melbourne last week.

The Yachad Scholarship Fund was established in 2002 by the National Australia Bank to fund further education for talented Australian candidates in Israel.

In his introduction to the Prime Minister, Deputy Chair of Yachad Mark Leibler said: “Today, Prime Minister, we are here to celebrate something that transcends politics. We are celebrating something extraordinary with you – a leading Australian financial institution has been responsible for the creation of a top drawer Jewish community organisation.

“Unique” is a word that has become hackneyed and often misapplied. But, there is no other word for what Cameron Clyne and his colleagues at the National Australia Bank have done.

Over a 9 year period, they have inspired new relationships between Australians who seek real innovation and reform, and Israel’s knowledge and experience, with the vehicle being a fleet of first class Jewish community organisations.

Mark Leibler

Through the Fund they have tapped into the best of Israel, with the primary goal of addressing issues and sourcing solutions to some of Australia’s most vexing problems.

As one who shares my, the Bank’s, and our community’s passion for redressing the disadvantageous circumstances faced by Indigenous Australians, you, Prime Minister, would heartily approve of the Fund’s decision, almost a decade ago, to encourage Indigenous Scholars to benefit their communities by undertaking very specific study programs in Israel.

What we share is actually a very basic Jewish precept – the central imperative of learning and teaching; a fundamental obligation.

Prime Minister, a third of your Maiden Speech as the Member for Lalor 13 years ago was focused on the primary importance of education as the key to Australia’s future.

Your widespread reforms to Australia’s education system, which also benefited so many of our Jewish Day Schools, your view of education, which you described 13 years ago as “a compact for this and the next generation to offer opportunities to train, retrain and excel, throughout life” are values which the National Australia Bank and the Jewish community share and strive to embody through the Yachad Fund.

Your decision in 2008 to fund the Yachad Accelerated Learning Project provided the impetus for a remarkable collaboration to evolve into a stable and rare innovative educational success story, pivotal in affecting a better life for thousands of children, with many more schools in the Shepparton region eager to join.

Prime Minister, half a century ago the great American thinker and futurologist, Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock and The Third Wave, said “The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”. Your unswerving commitment to ensuring Australia is among the foremost nations of the 21st Century is acknowledged by all of us here today – who come together because we, like you, know, education really is the key.”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard

In her address to the luncheon, attended by Israel’s ambassador to Australia Yuval Rotem, former Australian ambassador to Israel James Larsen and the Managing Director of the National Australia Bank, Cameron Clyne the Prime Minister said that “we do gather as friends today – friends of the great republic of Israel whose peace and security is so dear to Australian hearts and to mine. We are two countries separated by distance but united by values. Liberal democracies that seek freedom and peace. A just and secure Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people is an indispensable part of a just and secure world. In the Common Era there has never been a century when the Jewish people have know safety. May this century be the first. May this be the time when people of good will, Israelis and Palestinians alike sit together and find a lasting peace. A century when  understanding overcomes hate.”

She said that education can “change lives and create opportunity just as it had the power to build understanding and dispel hate”.  She said that Jewish people down the centuries have treasured education “and sacrificed much for its attainment.” The Prime Minister said that this drive for education had manifested itself in the NAB Scholarship initiative.

The Prime Minister said that education does not end at the end of university life. She said that the Yachad scholarships were directed towards emerging leaders and those in mid career. She named Warren Mundine, Mark Butler, Mitch Fifield and Wayne Swan as having been participants.

Julia Gillard reflected on the times she had spent in Israel. She said: “On my visits I was struck repeatedly by the depth of commitment amongst Israel’s people to solving problems, for innovation and for ingenuity in the face of adversity. It is a quality that we can all benefit from. Strength in partnerships through education and social action is a vital part of any society.

Thanks to the generosity of the National Australia Bank and your fellow sponsors, other scholars have an opportunity to speak with Israeli experts and to draw on the learning Israel has acquired in its remarkable 63 year journey of nationhood and to bring that learning home to enrich the life of our own community.”

As this program flourishes may the friendship between Australia and Israel flourish, too.”

Dr Ron Weiser, Honorary Life President of the Zionist Council of NSW said:  “Prime Minister, it is often said, because it is true, that our community is very fortunate to have enjoyed a long succession of Australian leaders who have established a tradition of closeness and support between Australia and Israel.

By dint of determination and steadfastness, Australia is, under your leadership, a very close and true friend of Israel – long her ally, and partner in so many endeavours.

Too often that which is obscured by news reportage on Israel, is the profound commitment to peace that her people maintain, with passion and with courage.

Despite the certain sacrifices and risks that any negotiated peace would entail, Israel still relentlessly pursues that peace and mutual recognition.

As you know, our community is proudly Zionist, and delights when Israel excels.

Your understanding of our community and of what the relationship between Australia and Israel means for us is demonstrated by your reflections today.

Prime Minister, on behalf of all present, I want to thank you for joining us today, for sharing your thoughts with us, and for your friendship.’

Dr Jakelin Troy

The luncheon, held at MAIA in Melbourne’s Docklands, was also addressed by Cameron Clyne the Chair of the NAB Scholarship Fund and CEO of the NAB Group, Dr Michael Liffman, the 2007 Pratt Foundation Yachad scholar, Jeff Pope, the 2009 NAB Federal Board Yachad Scholar, Martyn Evans, Phil Honeywood.

The Prime Minister was introduced by Mark Leibler and both Ambassadors Yuval Rotem and James Larsen addressed the luncheon.

NAB CEO Cameron Clyne announced that the 2011 NAB Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University Yachad is Dr Jakelin Troy. Dr Troy is an indigenous academic and is director of research into indigenous social and cultural well-being at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies based in Canberra. She  leaves for Israel in December to study with Israeli experts in language revival and its relevance to Australian indigenous languages.

About Jakelin Troy….

I am a Ngarigu woman and my country is the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. I am the mother of one beautiful little girl, Lara Troy-O’Leary who was born on 7/8/02 and she is involved in most of my research, study and field trips. My mother, Shirley Troy is a PhD in visual art and has been a very strong influence on my life.

My academic research is diverse but has a focus on languages and linguistics, anthropology and visual arts. I have been particularly interested in Australian languages of New South Wales and ‘contact languages’. My doctoral research was into the development of NSW Pidgin. Since 2001 I have been developing curriculum for Australian schools with a focus on Australian language programs.

In addition to my studies in Australia I have lived and studied in Mexico and Japan where I was able to develop my interest in the art, culture and languages of those countries. I am particularly interested in world ‘Indigenous art’ and have recently been developing my own art practice in the area of ceramics.

I am currently teaching in the Faculty of Education in the University of Canberra and that is providing me with an opportunity to develop my research in the field of arts and languages eduction and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Areas of Expertise

  • Australian languages and linguistics
  • Visual arts
  • Education – particularly languages curriculum studies
  • Contact history Indigenous Studies
  • Native Title Japanese language and studies
  • Archaeology
    Current Research Activities
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in schools and national curriculum Indigenous art
    Visual art in education

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