Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Two Indigenous students from the University of Canberra will today be presented
with the Department's 2002 Roni Ellis Indigenous Study Award.
Melita Berthaly, an Aboriginal student working towards a Bachelor of Communications:
Public Relations; and Jillian Omosigho, a Torres Strait Islander student studying
towards a Bachelor of Education, will each be presented with awards of $1,000.
The Roni Ellis Indigenous Study Award is made to the most promising Indigenous
students studying the Foundation Program at the University of Canberra. It
assists Indigenous students who have come late to tertiary studies, or are
improving their qualifications before embarking on a degree.
The award was launched in 2001 in the memory of Roni Ellis, an Indigenous
DFAT officer who died of leukaemia in 2000. Roni joined DFAT in 1991, where
she managed the promotion of Australia's Indigenous culture and art abroad.
She was instrumental in building understanding of Indigenous ways, values
and history among her many friends and colleagues in Australia and overseas.
The award, which is presented annually on 17 October - Roni's birthday -
is also an incentive for Indigenous students to follow her example to achieve
Roni's daughter, Nicole Rawson-Harris, will present the awards, together
with special guest, Patrick Johnson, a DFAT Indigenous employee on leave to
pursue his career as an elite sprint athlete.
At today's ceremony, donations totalling $1,355 will be made to three non-profit
groups supporting the education of Indigenous students in the ACT region.
They are the Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation; ACT Indigenous Sports
Program; and Barnados Australia.
The funds were raised by DFAT's Indigenous Employee Network at a quiz night
during the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC)
Inquiries: Tracey Haines, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Program, Tel: +61 2 6261 3942