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The Menzies Brief - Vol 18, No. 5, 2015

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  Vol 18 No. 5  | 8 October 2015  

Hello Visitor,

This is the latest edition of the Menzies Brief - Vol 18, No. 5, 2015


October 2015

President’s report – leaving you in good hands

Dariel de Sousa

It is with considerable sadness and nostalgia that I approach the end of my term as Secretary and then President of the MMSA.

First and foremost, I would to thank all of you for electing me to the MMSA Committee. I originally approached the role with a certain degree of trepidation, wondering how I would be able to juggle work and personal commitments while fulfilling my MMSA and Menzies Foundation responsibilities. As it turns out, the role has been among the most rewarding activities I have taken on in my career.

I have been able to witness first-hand the expertise and wisdom of the Foundation's Board members, the commitment and energy of the Foundation's staff, as well as the amazing contribution that the Foundation makes to society – the scholarships which we have all benefitted from are only a part of that contribution!

Secondly, I would like to take the opportunity to thank fellow MMSA scholars with whom I have worked on the Committee, including Marie Estcourt (Medicine), Liisa Laakso (Allied Health), Adrian McCallum (Engineering) and, most recently, Josie Barbaro (Allied Health). Apart from being an absolute pleasure to work with all of you, it has enabled me to have a very clear vision of what a fully engaged MMSA, including scholars from all disciplines, might look like in the future.

Thirdly, I would like to thank those of you who have actively participated in MMSA events over the past four years. Your participation has invigorated the MMSA and made us feel confident that the Committee is on the right path. Special thanks go to all of you who participated in the sub-committees that were established last year to get the MMSA's first ever strategic plan off the ground – thank you for sharing your insights, which proved to be very valuable.

Finally, I would like to thank the Foundation's Board for providing me with the opportunity to participate as a Board member. It has been a true privilege to have worked with such an impressive group of people. I would also like to thank the Foundation team, including Sarah Hardy, Kate Nolan, Alexander Epstein and the lovely Pam Shearman. They have all worked tirelessly to help make life easier for Josie and me but also to support all of you.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it to the annual gathering in November in Canberra, which, no doubt, will be an inspirational event. Nevertheless, I hope to see you all again in the near future. In the meantime, good luck with your endeavours and please do keep in touch with the MMSA – you are what makes the association so special.

Dariel De Sousa

Secretary’s report - Canberra awards event opportunity to meet new MMSA Secretary

Josie Barbaro

I would like to welcome 2007 Menzies Engineering Scholar Adrian McCallum back to the position of Secretary of the MMSA for 2016. I am very much looking forward to working with Adrian given his enthusiasm and passion for our alumni and the Foundation. Congratulations Adrian.

Thank you to everyone who nominated for the position and to all of you who voted – it was very close, with Adrian just coming out on top. Prior to his appointment, both Dariel and I, along with the staff at the Foundation, interviewed the top two candidates to ensure the selected candidate would have both the passion, as well as sufficient time, to take on this important role, and a place on the Foundation’s Board. It is quite exciting to think that so many people were interested in the role and we will seek to find important ways to keep those people engaged.

Speaking of which, the National Capital is the location for this year’s MMSA AGM and presentation of the new Menzies Scholars at Government House on 26 November.

It’s a great opportunity for all of us to get together and support the new scholars, not to mention the opportunity to see Government House and meet the Governor General.

This promises to be a great event in Canberra, with a formal awards ceremony for the new scholars and a cocktail reception in the evening, with the alumni having the opportunity to discuss the direction of the MMSA and hear some updates on important work, such as the Legal Sector Alliance.

I hope to see you all there. 

Josie Barbaro

Events in Canberra – RSVP due 19 October 

As you would have now received your invitation to the Menzies Scholars’ Award Ceremony and the Menzies Foundation Cocktail Reception on 26 November, please let us know if you will be attending by Monday 19 October. The reason for the early RSVP is to ensure those of you wanting to attend the awards ceremony receive a printed invitation, which you will need to bring with you for entry to Government House. 

The whole afternoon has been designed to give our alumni some excellent networking opportunities, both with each other and with other VIPs at the cocktail reception.

Please RSVP online through the Survey Monkey form which can be accessed here: 

Canberra’s New Acton precinct is attracting a lot of attention right now and we expect to host an excellent cocktail function, with ABC Science Broadcaster, Bernie Hobbs, doing the emcee duties and also interviewing a selection of our scholars.

Hotel Hotel and Nishi Gallery

If you have any questions about the event, please email us at 

New scholars in Allied Health and Engineering

Liz Killen Superwoman A chemical engineer with a passion for science outreach and communication and a dietician and researcher looking into the links between better nutrition and cancer recovery times are the latest additions to our alumni.

Congratulations to Liz Killen (pictured) who is the 2016 Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Scholar in Engineering and to Teresa Brown, who has been awarded the 2016 Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Research Scholarship in the Allied Health Sciences.

We are expecting to hear a whole lot more about the achievements of these scholars. In the meantime, read more about Liz and Teresa on the Menzies Foundation website. 

Australia-wide living tumour bank

Cancer researchers from around Australia will share resources to create a living tumour bank.

The tumour bank has arisen from discussions between some of the world’s best colorectal cancer researchers who have been in Australia in the past week, sharing their most recent findings in two seminars funded by a Menzies Foundation symposium grant.

2009 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow, Dr Dan Worthley, hosted the young researchers in gastrointestinal oncology at the World Congress of Gastroenterology (Gastro 2015) in Brisbane and at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) in Adelaide. Read more. 

Dimboola Prize winner all in the family

Nikita Bell has been awarded the $10,000 Menzies Centenary Prize for 2015 as recognition for her academic achievement and contribution to the Dimboola Memorial Secondary College community.

Every year the MMSA and the Menzies Foundation contribute to the Menzies Centenary Prize, awarded to an outstanding student at the school. The Prize was established in 1994 to mark the centenary of Sir Robert’s birth in neighbouring Jeparit.

Nikita is studying nursing at Deakin University and she’s also the third of her siblings to take out the Prize. The funds contribute to the cost of the first and second years of tertiary education. 

Menzies Scholars achieve amazing things…

Josie Barbaro Autism CRC awardOur fellow alumni have continued to demonstrate their high quality skills and leadership. Here is a selection of the latest stories:

  • 2006 Menzies Scholar in Allied Health and Secretary of the Menzies Memorial Scholars Association, Dr Josephine Barbaro (pictured with Yvonne O'Neill, Aboriginal Liaison Officer with Autism Queensland), has been awarded the Inaugural Autism CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) award for best translation of autism research at the Asia Pacific Autism Conference in Brisbane. Read more. Josie and her team have also been published this week in the journal Autism Research, with a paper on screening and diagnosis in low-resource settings.
  • Health Minister, Sussan Ley and the National Health and Medical Research Council awarded 2015 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow, Dr Si Ming Man, with the Frank Fenner Early Career Fellowship. Read more.
  • 1993-94 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Dr Esther Charlesworth, launched her new book Sustainable Housing Reconstruction along with the launch of a new Master of Disaster, Design and Development at RMIT. Esther’s work as part of her ARC Future Fellowship ‘Architecture on the edge’, heavily influenced both the course and the book. Read more.
  • Our latest Allied Health Research Scholar, Teresa Brown, has been published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  

In the media

Menzies Scholars from all professions have been getting their fair share of media coverage in recent weeks too. Here’s just a sample of what we’ve heard or read from them:

Matt Tyler

  • One of this year’s Harvard Menzies Scholars, Matt Tyler (pictured), has been published this week in The Age, with a provoking and personally-inspired piece for Mental Health Week, focusing on how governments could better support people with mental illnesses through improved policies across all portfolios.
  • Deputy Director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Prof Jamie Vandenberg (1989 Menzies Scholar in Medicine), spoke to Channel 9 news about statins, side effects and cardiac health.
  • Dr Helen Nugent AO (1980-81 Harvard Menzies Scholar) has been leading a review into the National Opera (check out the government website). To read this story in The Australian you will need to be a subscriber.
  • Economist and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Dr Justin Wolfers (1997-98 Harvard Menzies Scholar), spoke recently about the relationship between money and happiness.
  • The Secretary of the Department of Employment and public service medallist, Renee Leon (1995 Menzies Law Scholar), visited remote communities in Cape York with the former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, to talk about community needs and help with the upgrade of a community hall.
  • As part of an ongoing series of interviews with ABC radio, Professor Julian Savulescu (1994 Menzies Scholar in Medicine) spoke to ABC Sydney about whether organ donors should get preference if they ever need a transplant themselves.

If we’ve missed anything, please email it to Kate Nolan

Professor Ian Young delivers the 2015 Menzies Oration

Outgoing Vice Chancellor of the ANU, Professor Ian Young AO, delivered the 2015 Sir Robert Menzies Oration on Higher Education at the University of Melbourne recently, calling for far greater investment in research and development in Australia.

Citing Sir Robert Menzies, Prof Young indicated he agreed with the former prime minister, that research should be at the forefront of educational thinking.

The Mandarin has published an edited extract of Prof Young’s speech. The full text will be available on the Menzies Foundation website. 

Menzies Legal Sector Alliance for Academic Excellence and Thought Leadership

As many of you will already be aware, with the support and assistance of the Foundation, the MMSA is in the process of establishing the Menzies Legal Sector Alliance for Academic Excellence and Thought Leadership. As indicated by its name, the Alliance will support and encourage academic excellence and thought leadership in the Australian legal sector.

Kate Petersen

Initially, this will be achieved through a series of regular seminars involving esteemed practitioners and academics as well as other relevant stakeholders on topics of current and future national interest that are linked to important, transformative global forces that will define the future for government, industries, business, communities and individuals – "megatrends".  Eventually, the Alliance's activities could be expanded to include activities such as undertaking collaborative legal research, making joint submissions on law reform issues and hosting national or even international legal conferences.

Dariel De Sousa had carriage of this piece of work and has recently handed it over to Kate Peterson (2007 Menzies Law Scholar, pictured), who has enthusiastically taken on the leadership of this initiative. Dariel thanked Kate for her involvement along with Oren Bigos (2002 Menzies Law Scholar) and Christopher Tran (2014 Harvard Menzies Scholar), who have kindly agreed to assist Kate with this important initiative.  In addition, thanks are extended to Mark Darian-Smith (1984 Menzies Law Scholar) for his continued help to make this initiative a reality. It is hoped that the inaugural Alliance event will take place in March/April 2016. 

If you are interested in assisting Kate, Oren and Christopher, please don't hesitate to get in touch either directly or via the Foundation team. 

Invitation to SymposiumX

The Gates Cambridge Alumni Association is hosting its first symposium at the Melbourne Business School on 14 November 2015. 

For our Menzies scholars based in Melbourne, if you are interested to attend, an invitation has been extended to SymposiumX; an event where young professionals can join together for a day of learning, inspiration and networking with some of Australia's most prominent leaders.

The speakers include:

  • Tim Costello - CEO of World Vision, Australia's largest development agency. One of Australia's most sought after voices in social justice, leadership and ethics.
  • Simon Sheikh - Former National Director of GetUp and Founder and Managing Director of Future Super Australia's first fossil fuel free superannuation investment program.
  • Alison Hardacre - Co-Founder and Managing Director at HealthKit.
  • Dr Craig Hassed - General Practitioner, leader in holistic and integrative medicine, expert research and author in Mindfulness.

 If you would like to go, please book online

Where are all the photos? 

Menzies Foundation BrochureWe’re guessing you’ve all been out perfecting your photography skills?! Things have been pretty quiet on the Menzies Scholar Photo Competition front and we’re keen to get some strong entries before we award a winner.

Josie Barbaro announced the competition in the last edition of The Menzies Brief. Here is a quick recap.

As an incentive we are offering a $100 book voucher for the best image we get this year. There is a catch. The images need to be high resolution images (and that means really big – at least 3600 x 2400 pixels at 300 dpi or larger, so the size of the image might be 2-4 MB or more) and of course we will need your permission to use them.

David Bowly and friends starred on this year’s Menzies Foundation annual report. You could be next. Or maybe you can see yourself on some of our new Menzies Foundation promotional material (like the invitation you recently received or our new brochure – pictured).  

Email your images and your approval to use the image to Kate Nolan or ask her for a link to the Menzies Foundation Drop Box. 

If you’d like a copy of the new Menzies Foundation brochure, you can download it from the website or ask Kate to send you some copies. 

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