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Human rights advocate returns from UN for graduation


Jessica Nelson
22 March 2019

From presenting at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women to transforming Indigenous education in Australia, Southern Cross University graduates are already effecting change in their global spheres ahead of graduation ceremonies at the Gold Coast.

Inspiring Bachelor of Laws with Honours graduand Angela Powditch, from Lennox Head, has not only completed her degree as a single mum-of-two, but has recently returned from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) in New York as a delegate thanks to UN Women Australia.

Angela attended a year prior as a delegate with the National Rural Women’s Coalition and presented at an event titled: ‘e-Learning Advances Rural Women’, which was formally recognised in the NSW Parliament in May last year. She was also selected to attend the International Human Rights summer law school at Oxford University in 2016.

With an attitude of perseverance, passion and grit, Angela said she is always looking for opportunities to give back, and is a member of the Australian Red Cross Society of Women Leaders; Global Women Leaders; the LGBTI subcommittee of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights; Australian Women in Agriculture and a number of community-based initiatives.

“I definitely witnessed a powerful momentum for change at the UN and I am hopeful I can advocate for women’s rights, in my future career, right here from the Northern Rivers,” she said.

Meanwhile, Queensland’s Director General of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) Ian Mackie is earning a PhD from Southern Cross University today. After working in Indigenous education for 40 years, including as a school principal, Mr Mackie completed his PhD in just 2.5 years, with seven journal published and the Queensland government already directly implementing his high-profile research.

His boss Professor Chris Sarra - Indigenous education specialist, 2010 QLD Australian of the Year and Director-General of Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) - will be attending the ceremony.

More than 350 graduands will receive their awards across three ceremonies held in Building C at the Gold Coast campus. Southern Cross University alumnus Mr Ben Newton OAM, an athlete and anti-discrimination advocate, will deliver the Occasional Address at two ceremonies, while St Hilda’s School Principal Dr Julie Wilson Reynolds will address the final ceremony.