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Professor Marcia Langton AM delivers 2019 UNESCO Chair Oration

Professor Marcia Langton AM delivers 2019 UNESCO Chair Oration

Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies, Professor Marcia Langton AM, delivered her speech, ‘Empowering Indigenous Australians’, on Wednesday 13 November.

One of Australia’s most respected Indigenous academics, Professor Marcia Langton is an anthropologist and geographer and is widely-published on topics in Australian Indigenous Studies, including Aboriginal land tenure, Aboriginal art and Indigenous agreement-making.

UNESCO Chair in Cultural Diversity and Social Justice, Professor Fethi Mansouri, Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies and 2019 UNESCO Chair Orator, Professor Marcia Langton AM, and Deakin University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Iain Martin.

Beginning with a quote from former Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, after whom the University is named, Professor Langton’s speech described the toll and historical burden that colonisation and the frontier wars took on the First Nations People of Australia.

Professor Langton was recently appointed as co-chair of the Senior Advisory Group by the Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt to lead the way on achieving a Voice to Parliament for Australia’s First Nations people.

She spoke candidly about the need for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice that is supported by not only Indigenous Australians, but by non-Indigenous Australians who also just want to live in a nation in which we are all treated with respect.

“Without meaningful constitutional recognition Australia remains trapped in Deakin’s idea of “Australia for the White Man.” This idea is deeply ingrained in Australian life and we see it played out in most encounters between government officials and Indigenous people. It underlies the life-threatening disadvantages we face.”

Running since Professor Fethi Mansouri’s appointment and now in its sixth year, the UNESCO Chair Oration is an annual lecture delivered by a preeminent thinker in social justice, cultural diversity and human rights. Previous orators include Professor Raimond Gaita, Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Arnold Zable, Rigoberta Menchú, and Gillian Triggs.

For more information about the UNESCO Chair, visit the UNESCO Chair website.


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