Graduate honoured for international promotion of women’s rights

Published 23 June 2010

shirleyrandellA UNE graduate who is a leading international advocate of human rights and educational equity for women was named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List announced earlier this month.

Professor Shirley Randell (pictured here), the Director of the Centre for Gender, Culture and Development Studies at the Kigali Institute of Education in Rwanda, graduated from UNE with a PhD degree in 1987.

Professor Randell was honoured for “distinguished service to international relations, particularly through the promotion of human rights of women and through public sector reform in developing countries”. This is her second Australian Honour: she was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1988 for “contributions to public service, particularly to education”, after a 15-year career in the Commonwealth Public Service and while serving as Director of Programs in the ACT Department of Education.

As a leading expert on public sector and institutional reform in developing countries, Professor Randell has helped governments in the Asia Pacific region and in Africa over the past 14 years in many important projects – some of them funded by those governments themselves, and others by the Australian and New Zealand Governments, the European Union, the United Nations, and the Asian Development Bank.

Professor Randell said her latest Australian honour was “representative of the efforts of many wonderful women working internationally who deservedly share this honour”. “I want to reiterate my acknowledgement and admiration/appreciation of the many women who have worked with and alongside me to promote women’s rights and build organisations, policies, programs and systems that advance gender equality,” she said.

During her doctoral studies at UNE, Shirley Randell lived for some time at both Mary White College and Robb College. She served as Deputy Principal of Mary White College in 1984 – “in charge,” she said, “of overseas students at the beginning of my journey into international relations”. She donates the Shirley Randell Prize – awarded annually to an overseas resident of Mary White College who makes a significant contribution to College activities and maintains a high academic standard.

Mrs Edwina Ridgway, Principal of Duval College and Drummond & Smith College, was honoured with a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List (see the posting on this Web site for Tuesday 15 June), and several of the UNE graduates who were similarly honoured with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) have strong college connections as alumni.

Mr Jeffory Bishop, who attended Armidale Teachers’ College in the 1948-49 session and graduated from UNE with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1964, was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for “service to people with disabilities and their carers through the Stepping Stones for Life project, and to the community as a contributor to a range of charitable organisations”.

Stepping Stones for Life is a support network for people who are ageing, people living with a disability, and especially families in which ageing parents are caring for an adult family member with a disability. It is an activity of St Margaret’s Uniting Church, Hackett, ACT.  Mr Bishop has been a lay preacher in the Methodist and Uniting Churches for over 40 years.

Another new Member of the Order of Australia honoured for his service to people with disabilities is Mr Bruce Bonyhady, who graduated from UNE in 1976 with an Honours degree in Applied Economics (winning a University Medal and the Edgar H. Booth Medal and Prize), and went on to a distinguished career in investment finance. His award was for “service to people with disabilities, their families and carers, particularly as Chairman of Yooralla, and to the community as a contributor to a range of charitable organisations”.

Yooralla is a community-based organisation that each year provides services to around 30,000 Victorians with disabilities.