The Indigenous People’s Organisation (IPO) Network Australia recently promoted a global first in the launch of the World Indigenous Nations University which was profiled at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York City.
The World Indigenous Nations University will be launched by the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) in August after a decade of negotiations and consultations with Indigenous Elders, academics and Knowledge Holders from 8 different countries and many different Indigenous nations across the world.
IPO Spokesperson and WINHEC Executive Committee member, Professor Boni Robertson said the University would establish an education system that honours and respects Indigenous cultural knowledge and knowledge systems and profile the scholarship of Indigenous Elders and Knowledge holders who work in close collaboration with Indigenous academics to address the needs of Indigenous peoples at the local level.
“The World Indigenous Nations University (WINU) programs will be multi modal in delivery, accessible via the internet and face to face to ensure access for local, national and international communities to engage in an education system that is meaningful and relevant to them.
“This is an exciting initiative which will further the education and collaboration of Indigenous Peoples in Australia and across the world,” Professor Robertson said. It is also an exciting opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous higher education systems to work collaboratively together to address the educational needs of Indigenous students whilst addressing the needs of communities through collaborative evidentiary research.
“The launching of the WINU epitomizes the depth of mobilization that is taking place amongst Indigenous academics, Elders and Knowledge Holders.
“The global members of World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) have worked on the curriculum for the past 11 years in order to allow Indigenous Peoples across the globe access an education system that meets the needs of their own peoples.
“Working together we can protect and promote the sovereign rights of Indigenous Peoples to systems of education that embed the scholarship of their cultural knowledge in the development of curriculum and research.
“The Pacific region has been specifically influential with Australia, NZ and Hawaii in collaboration with Sami in Norway having had a major influence in the development of this initiative. I am proud that Australia has played such a strong role in the development of the University.
“This initiative can play a role in closing the gap in education standards between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”
Professor Robertson said the establishment of the University will be at the regional and global level and based upon the involvement of local community in the education for and about their own young people.
“Involvement of community Elders and representatives will foster other forms of engagement to address the ongoing disparities that have occurred for Indigenous Peoples, within the sector.
“It is imperative that western education systems committed to working with Indigenous Peoples at the local level, demonstrate respect for the cultural rights of Indigenous Peoples and profiles and promulgates these rights as determined by the people themselves.
“This philosophy is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and underpins the drive by the WINHEC to establish the WINU as a historic and progressive shift in the sovereign rights of Indigenous peoples being exercised.”
The IPO is a broad affiliation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s organisations and individuals, who engage with United Nations mechanisms and frameworks to advocate for the implementation of the Declaration.
IPO Media: IPONetworkAustralia@gmail.com
IPO Australia Ph: +61 409 763 684 (Professor Boni Robertson WINHEC Executive Board)
IPO Australia Ph: +61 425 820 658 (Amala Groom IPO Communications Coordinator)
Other contacts Ph: +64 276 811 221 (Trevor Moeke WINHEC Executive Co-Chair)
Other contacts Ph: +61 424 156 562 (Berice Anning WINHEC Chair Academic Working Party)
IPO Twitter: https://twitter.com/IPOAustralia
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