Welcome to a bumper issue of our newsletter. Spring has sprung robustly at HQ in Melbourne and as you will read below it has been a busy few months with our Scholars around the world and in Australia and for the Foundation. We have just finalised the selection of the 2019 John Monash Scholars, another inspiring group of 19 wonderful individuals. We had 304 applications submitted and over September and October interviewed 107 at State and National Panels. So many fine applicants and although it is extremely challenging to have to choose only some of them, I feel privileged to have met 107 outstanding Australians. As our many panellists also say, we feel humbled and hopeful to know that our future is filled with so many super bright people with strong moral compasses, ideas and visions for a better world.
The 2019 Scholars will be ann0unced on the 13th December and we look forward to sharing with you who they are. In the meantime I will keep my note brief as there is so much interesting news to follow.
A special thank you to our esteemed and dedicated volunteers who give up their valuable time to read applications and sit on our panels, the generous hosts of the panels in each State and their staff who keep everyone fed and looked after. We are very grateful.
We will be publishing our Annual Report mid-November which is also filled with Scholar news, an account of our March Symposium in New York and other Commemorative events which honour the 100th Anniversary of the final year of WWI and the heroic leadership of General Sir John Monash. A link will be available on the website. ‘We will remember them’.
We are always so happy to have news from our Scholars far and near to share, so keep them coming. Special thanks to Jacinda Liau, our office administrator who has done a great job of putting together the newsletter. Please reach out to her if you have any queries.
2018 John Monash Oration
Picture: Dr Bridget Vincent (2006), Ms Jillian Segal AM and Professor Brian P. Schmidt AC
The John Monash Oration is a highlight every year, always featuring excellent guest speakers and thought-provoking conversations. This year’s Oration was held on 8th October 2018 at the Colonial Theatre, Commonwealth Bank of Australia. We were fortunate to have the Vice Chancellor of Australian National University, Professor Brian P. Schmidt AC as the key speaker for the evening. 2006 John Monash Scholar Dr Bridget Vincent provided the response which was followed by a stimulating Q and A session.
The topic of the Oration was “The future of education, the future of work”. The days of jobs for life are a thing of the past for the majority. How can the Australian Higher Education system adapt, so that future generations will be well equipped to respond to the opportunities that will arise? This challenge is full of possibilities.
“Monash was someone who never quit learning. Who took his education in engineering and brought about a small revolution in Australian construction through the use of reinforced concrete.” Professor Schmidt said in his speech of General Sir John Monash. “He is – of course – best known for emerging from a not particularly profound role of part-time service in the militia in Melbourne, to become one of the most influential military leaders of the modern era.”
Bridget’s response highlighted the importance of education, and how important skills honed by good education were important in the pursuit of understanding objective truth. In the face of the increasing importance of AI, “Having so many jobs become replaceable through automation is a risk as well as an opportunity.” Bridget said.
Several proud John Monash Scholars also attended this year’s Oration, adding to the fine discussion that was inspired from the night.
This was the 7th John Monash Oration generously supported by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Each Oration marks another year of the special partnership between the General Sir John Monash Foundation and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Picture: John Monash Scholars Iwan Walters (2012), Dr Bridget Vincent (2006), Christopher Lowe (2012), Claire Daniel (2015) and Fergus Green (2012).
November 13th General Sir John Monash Foundation AGM
December 13th John Monash Scholarships Announcement at Sydney Opera House
February 2019 Scholar Presentation Ceremony, Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance
2019 Symposium, Melbourne
General Sir John Monash Commemorative Service
Picture: Dr Rosie Dawkins (2007) speaking at the Spirit of Australia John Monash Service
The Annual General Sir John Monash Commemorative Service was presented by the Spirit of Australia Foundation and held in the Chambers of Parliament House, Melbourne on 3rd August 2018. This Service is dedicated to General Sir John Monash as a “Scholar, Engineer, Soldier and Nation Builder”.
The Service was presented by Master of Ceremonies and Foundation Member Major General Jim Barry AM MBE. An address was provided by Colonel John Dougall, Director of Clothing (Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group). 2007 John Monash Scholar Dr Rosie Dawkins also provided an address, reflecting on her journey as a John Monash Scholar, and how the vision and change General Sir John Monash had sought to achieve was influential to her decisions working in Timor-Leste.
The Service included the laying of wreaths by members of the community, including Foundation Board Member Steven Skala AO.
The Sir John Monash Commemorative Dinner was held in The Windsor Hotel’s Grand Ballroom on 10th August 2018.
In honour of the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Amiens, Engineers Australia with the Spirit of Australia Foundation and the Rotary Club of Melbourne celebrated with a special dinner.
The dinner was one of the many events that honoured General Sir John Monash on the centenary of his many achievements on the battlefield.
The Foundation was well represented with not only members of staff in attendance but also with our 2015 John Monash Scholar Dr Victoria Cox providing an engaging and lively speech on her experiences achieving the Triple Crown in Open Water Swimming.
The Battle of Amiens was the first battle in what is known as the Hundred Days Offensive leading to the end of the First World War. The battle saw the Allies utilise tactics including General Sir John Monash’s use of combined arms (best exemplified in the Battle of Hamel). Following the Battle of Amiens, General Sir John Monash was knighted by King George V.
Picture: Major General Jim Barry AM MBE with 2015 John Monash Scholar Dr Victoria Cox
From the field: Miranda Gronow
This section of our newsletter features Alumni reporting from the field with stories of their exploits and enterprises. This edition's 'From the Field' feature is 2017 John Monash Scholar, Miranda Gronow. Miranda is currently studying for an MPhil in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies.
Figure 1: Your Oxford correspondent in the main quad of University College, Oxford
In Oxford, time has achieved the fascinating trick of being both endless and highly volatile. We are surrounded by time – every quarter of the hour, bells toll peals that have rung through Oxford’s ‘dreaming spires’ for hundreds of years. We inhabit spaces that have been used by students and scholars for nearly a millennium, and wonder whether they shared our joys, ambitions, and frustrations. But the central construct of time at Oxford is the academic term: three terms of eight weeks length, with a month (or more) break in between. These terms feel in equal measure endlessly cyclical, but also seem to slip from our grasp in an instant.
Figure 2: Christ Church Meadow, where I go to listen to the bells
At the moment, we’re nearly three weeks into Michaelmas, a wholly frenetic term that marks the start of the new academic year. For the University as a whole, it’s a term of gowns, ceremony, and quite a lot of silly hats. In more mundane terms Michaelmas involves welcoming a new cohort of students, a sudden cooling of the weather, the putting away of the punts, and the gradual realisation that, now that summer is over, we all have rather a lot of work to do.
For my part, the return to Oxford has been rather a shock to the system. I spent the summer, as all well-behaved archaeologists do, knee deep in a hole in the ground in Turkey puzzling over the chronology of a Roman Civil Basilica. I was lucky enough to spend a season working with the Oxford team at Aphrodisias, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Southwest Turkey. I’m now “back on the books”, preparing a thesis about the impact of cultural heritage and archaeological remains on modern populations. The varied cycle of physical work and academic research is what attracted me to archaeology in the first place – after a summer in the sun, I return to the library to catalogue, ponder, and interpret the data that I have gathered. But it’s hard, I think, for archaeologists to avoid day-dreaming about their summers spent delving into the past, working and living as their clichéd ‘best selves’.
Figure 3: Some of the Oxford Monash Scholars enjoying their flat-whites in 'The Missing Bean', a notorious Australian hangout
John Monash Scholars left to right: Miranda Gronow (2017), Vafa Ghazavi (2017), Tim Delport (2017), Dr Garang Dut (2017), Dr Victoria Cox (2015) and Dr Genevieve Martin (2014).
So I myself cannot escape cyclical time, be it in my academic work or Oxford’s eternal bells. Within the sequence of the academic terms there are, for me, smaller rhythms that keeps me grounded and happy. For me, these include my weekly faculty seminar, followed by a trip to a cosy pub, or the singing of thrice-weekly choral evensongs with The Choir of The Queen’s College. Others find their rhythm in formal dinners in Hall, the demanding schedule of the rowing season, or the AFL (England!) season fixture. Oxford is a different city to each of its students, and challenges you to have a different experience of it each term that you return.
Figure 4: Aphrodisias, where I spent two months over the summer doing fieldwork
For me, another ordinary but all-important rhythm in my life here is my weekly breakfast date with the Oxford John Monash Scholars. It’s a time to check in, drink flat whites, and enjoy each other’s company towards the end of a busy week. The Monash Scholars and many of the Australians in Oxford have become my family away from home, and I am truly grateful to count them as some of my best friends.
Oxford asks each of us to wholeheartedly subscribe to its model of endless time. Although our time here in real terms may be short, it is in this meditation, we hope, that we will make the kind of breakthroughs that will in themselves be truly lasting. If we can’t do that, at least we still have the bells.
Figure 5: Oxford (and especially Choir) is, sometimes, really just all about the silly outfits
John Monash Scholars Update: Jodi Gardner & Emma McIntosh
Scholars Jodi Gardner (2011) and Emma McIntosh (2014) found themselves side by side in a surprise John Monash Scholars reunion as they submitted their respective theses at the University of Oxford!
Jodi completed her Bachelor of Civil Law and MPhil at Oxford. She continued to complete her DPhil at Oxford with her John Monash Scholarship. Her thesis titled ‘How to Approach High-cost Credit: Looking Beyond Freedom and Protection’ took her 5 years, in which during that time she gave birth to 3 beautiful children. Jodi is also a currently a Senior Adjunct Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore and
College Lecturer and Fellow in Private Law at St John’s College providing supervisions in Contract Law, Land Law and Tort Law. In addition, she is a qualified Arbitrator for the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, specialising in consumer complaints.
Emma’s thesis at the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford was on assessing how effectively planning policies can be used to optimise biodiversity conservation outcomes. This included Australian case studies, such as the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in the 2000’s, when the total area closed to fishing was increased from 4% to 33%. Since April she has been working as Coordinator of the Great British Oceans coalition in London, which is a partnership of six leading marine conservation organisations. Somewhat predictably, post-thesis celebrations involved a diving trip to explore shipwrecks in Malta!
Picture (left to right): Jodi Gardner with Emma McIntosh
John Monash Scholars in the News
John Monash Scholars receive great media coverage and produce a large number of publications, work and research which the Foundation communicates to its followers via the following channels: our Website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We encourage you to follow us on these platforms so you can keep up with their prolific work and achievements.
In case you have missed it, here are just a few highlights from the last quarter.
Dr Joe Gattas
2018 UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award
Our 2010 John Monash Scholar Dr Joe Gattas has won big at The University of Queensland’s 2018 Research Week Awards, receiving recognition and a 2018 UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award.
Joe’s research focuses on origami design techniques that provides many applications around the world. This research has been used in creating energy absorbing packaging and barriers, aircraft components, lightweight automobiles, and deployable and modular housing.
The 2018 UQ Foundation Research Excellence award is awarded to researchers and research mentors, showcasing the hard work and importance of their work in the industry today. Speaking in UQ News, UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Bronwyn Harch said, “We’re able shine a light on some of our incredible researchers and research supervisors who are creating change locally, nationally and internationally”.
Joe completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Science at the University of Oxford with his John Monash Scholarship. He is a Civil Engineer and Lecturer at University of Queensland
Jillian Kilby The Exchange: Co-working for Regional NSW with Charles Sturt University
Coworking spaces are coming to Dubbo with assistance from Charles Sturt University at The Exchange, the latest venture by 2013 BHP John Monash Scholar Jillian Kilby! The new partnership was announced by CSU and local news outlets as part of a push in regional NSW to support developing community businesses and organisations. The Exchange will also assist businesses starting out to connect with other industry partners in a diverse and wide network.
“The Exchange is where space to think meets room to grow. Where co-working meets community. Where ideas meet their make” Jillian said to CSU News.
Jillian Kilby was recently named 2018 NSW-ACT AgriFutures Rural Woman of the Year. She is now working with local communities in Regional NSW to develop workshops, innovations and projects to help kickstart the rural towns into the future.
Picture: Jillian Kilby with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian at the 2018 NSW-ACT AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner.
Global Citizen Festival and Homage to Nelson Mandela
2008 John Monash Scholar Hugh Evans has been constantly making headlines as the CEO and Co-Founder of Global Citizen, championing the commitment to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 based off the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. This year the Global Citizen Festival will also be held in South Africa, in honour of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday and legacy.
For this significant occasion, Hugh has written a piece on how Nelson Mandela’s achievements left a profound effect on his life. In his piece he wrote “I worked for a year at a foster care centre for children who had been orphaned due to AIDS and violence, before I travelled to Ntshongweni with Mandela on my mind.” Hugh went on to befriend Nelson Mandela’s grandson Kweku through his lifelong dedication to working to eradicate poverty.
The Global Citizen Festival is an exclusive music concert with the aim to create global movements focusing to eradicate world poverty. Concert goers looking to procure tickets must earn them through challenges linked with mobilising local government to enact real lasting change. Watch Hugh's interview with the Project here.
Sharing the Passion
2018 John Monash Scholar Emma Dale has been a superstar in the press and her field. Recently featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, she shared her story about what drove her to study ecology and conservation at Griffith University.
Emma’s travels in Nepal inspired her in founding the Red Panda Trust to protect these endangered creatures. Her goal for the future is to lead research initiatives to protect Australia’s vulnerable carnivores such as the Tasmanian Devil and Spotted-tail Quolls.
Now commencing her DPhil in Zoology, Emma wants to use her knowledge to encourage youth to pursue sustainable practices and careers. “I’m passing on that passion to younger generations, because our time here on this earth is limited.” Emma said.
Call for mass evacuation of refugees on Nauru and Manus by UNHCR
In the past few months 2010 John Monash Scholar Catherine Stubberfield has been busy in the press as the External Relations Officer for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Catherine has written for The Sydney Morning Herald outlining the struggles refugees face, many suffering mental and medical illness as they await their fate in detention centres on Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
In an official statement from the United Nations, Catherine has called on Australia to evacuate refugees in offshore detention centres to prevent “collapsing” healthcare and alarming rates of mental health issues. In a statement by the UNHCR, they note “four recognized refugees have tragically died in Papua New Guinea” despite repeated assurances of adequate healthcare and support for individuals.
With her John Monash Scholarship, Catherine received a European Master of Human Rights and Democratisation, based both at the European Inter-University Centre in Venice and at the University of Strasbourg.
In late December last year, 2006 John Monash Scholar Dr Kate Manne released her book ‘Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny’, garnering positive reviews around the world. Since then she has written for The New York Times, The Rolling Stone, Huffington Post and CNN providing her unique take as a feminist philosopher in today’s rocky political landscape for women.
Kate’s newest word ‘Himpathy’ is now the slogan of the current #MeToo movement; a word that is now being used around the world to explain “the inappropriate and disproportionate sympathy powerful men often enjoy in cases of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, homicide and other misogynistic behavior.” Using her skills and research as a philosopher, she provides a room and space for people to exchange their experiences. In the New York Times, Kate writes “Once you learn to spot himpathy, it becomes difficult not to see it everywhere”.
Kate is an assistant professor at the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell University. She was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and obtained a PhD in Philosophy from MIT through her John Monash Scholarship. She continues to be a published academic and has been cited in many news outlets and journals.
Dr Jonathan Kummerfeld (2010) has been awarded the University of Michigan’s Computer Science and Engineering Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award for smart conversation tools! Read about his work here.
Fernando do Campo’s (2014) art was featured in the Newcastle Art Gallery for the exhibition ‘The 1818 Project’.
Dr Ben Etherington (2005) writes on the folly of veto powers given to politicians such as former Education Minister Simon Birmingham in his piece for Crikey. Read here.
Alexandra Phelan (2013) joins the University of Sydney’s ‘Public Health Law and Health Leadership in the United States: What can Australia learn?’ seminar, speaking on Pandemic preparedness and health institutions in the United States, listen to the recording here.
Alexandra Readhead (2014) was named the winner of 2018 Advance Mining & Resources Award, as a top expert in the tax-world, read more on her win here.
Dr Martin Seneviratne (2017) will be sharing his knowledge and research as a Stanford Medicine X Digital Health Fellow at the AI, Machine Learning and Robotics in Health Summit in Melbourne on November 20-21. Read more about his upcoming presentation here.
Claire Daniel (2015)’s writing on using Garbage Trucks to help map and boost the network infrastructure will be adopted by the City of Greater Bendigo to measure the signal strength of their new free ‘Internet of Things’ network. Read more here.