Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity program updates

-          Our Fellows

Recruitment and selection of our first cohort has finished and we will officially announce our Fellows in the coming month. This cohort represents the vision for the Program; demonstrating impressive track records, strong commitment to social change, and a diversity that will contribute to a dynamic cohort experience. Overall we received 34 applications through nominations from our collaborating partners – 71 percent of the applicants were female, and 65 percent have Indigenous heritage from Australia and New Zealand.

We are working towards a proposal to on-board our Fellows in August ahead of the program starting in October this year.

-          Program design

We are planning a series of internal workshops to build on the significant curriculum design work that has already taken place, as well as developing a monitoring and evaluation framework.

We have also held extensive discussions with our partners to test various elements of the program, including co-delivery, place-based learning and Indigenous pedagogy. Throughout the program, we will continue to adapt and refine the curriculum in concert with our Fellows.

Framed by an Indigenous pedagogy that draws on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, tradition and knowledge, the 12-month program will expose Fellows to a variety of topics, contexts and locations across Australia and New Zealand. Outside of the eight program modules, Fellows will continue to develop their own social change proposals with the support of faculty, coaches, and the cohort.

-          Program board

The program board met for the first time on 17 May in Melbourne. Board representation includes senior members, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, from The University of Melbourne, The University of Auckland, Queensland University of Technology, Brotherhood of St Laurence, as well as Mr Chris Oechsli from The Atlantic Philanthropies. The role of the program board is to provide strategic guidance and direction to the program. The board will meet again later in August 2017.

-          Permanent home

One of our key priorities in the coming months is to set-up a permanent home for the program, and we are pleased to report that we are in the final stages of confirming a site near the University of Melbourne. We envisage creating a space that is fit-for-purpose for the program team as well as welcoming to Fellows, faculty, alumni and the Indigenous community at large.

-          Master of Social Change

We are working with the University of Melbourne to have the program recognised as an award program – the Master of Social Change, the first of its kind in Australia. While this was not part of our initial proposal, Fellows will now receive a formal qualification once they complete the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity program, along with more favourable tax treatments as “students”. 


-          Program Director

Mr Jason Glanville was appointed Program Director for the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity program in April 2017. Jason, a Wiradjuri man from south-western New South Wales, is a senior leader who has spent more than 20 years working in a range of community-based Indigenous organisations, State and Federal Governments and non-government peak bodies. 

In leading the program, Jason’s vision is to harness Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent and innovation, resilience and capability, to create positive social change and contribute to a more just society.

The program provides a rare opportunity to positively disrupt and reframe the way we tackle problems and support the Fellows, whose ideas will develop new approaches to solving them.”

Indigenous cultures represent the longest single unbroken thread of human history spanning more than 70,000 years and points to an extraordinary level of strength, creativity, and adaptability. The Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity will draw on this history and excellence to deliver a program that invests in a new generation of leaders working together to bring transformative change.

Jason sees the Alumni as key to the program, “(Alumni) will be at the centre of a 21st century agora that will bring new opportunities to inspire us all to expect more from our leaders, to crave inspiration, to get excited by the possibility of ideas, to demand social equity, and the creation of economic and cultural sustainability

Jason is Chair of the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute and on the boards of the National Australia Day Council, the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre, Carriageworks and Social Traders. He was a member of the Steering Committee for the creation of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

In 2010, Jason was named in the (Sydney) magazine’s 100 most influential people of Sydney and in 2011 he was featured in Boss Magazine’s True Leaders list. In 2016 Jason was appointed as an Associate Professor (Adjunct) at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at the Australian National University.

 News items

This year marks a number of significant anniversaries in Australia’s journey towards reconciliation:

-          50 years since Australia’s historic and most successful referendum on May 27 1967, to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the national census.

-          25 years since the landmark Mabo decision on June 3 1992 that legally recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ relationship to the land, which existed prior to colonisation and still exists today.

-          20 years on from the release of the Bringing Them Home Report on 26 May 1997 into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. 

A number of key events and programs have taken place during Reconciliation Week to celebrate these achievements, including the historic meeting with over 250 First Nations’ people at Uluru and the Statement from the Heart for truth-telling about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ history.

“In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.”

In describing the gathering, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar, said “This is an opportunity to address the fundamental way that our peoples are seen and heard in this country. It can also speak to the relationship that we seek with our fellow Australians.”

The Uluru Statement now goes to the Referendum Council, which advises Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, on the next steps towards a referendum to establish a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution. 

Reconciliation Australia:

Referendum Council:


Garma, an annual celebration of Yolngu culture (Aboriginal people of north east Arnhem Land) is on from 4 – 7 August 2017. Garma has become Australia’s Indigenous equivalent of the World Economic Forum, and attracts an exclusive gathering of 2,500 political and business leaders from around the world.