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Image of Sir Roland Wilson Pat Turner alumna Patricia Akee
SRW Pat Turner Scholarship Graduated 2022

Patricia (Trish) Akee

Alumni Ambassador

Torres Strait Regional Authority

The Australian National University

Master of Culture Health and Medicine, College of Arts and Social Sciences

Trish is a Meriam Neur (Murray Island woman), from Waibene (Thursday Island), Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait). She comes from a strong and proud family, with lineage to the Geuram tribe from Mer and family connections to Dauar Island, Yarrabah, New Caledonia and Jamaica. Trish’s professional journey has been quite expansive. Over the past 20 years she has worked in a variety of roles in government, non-government and community organisations. She is a key community advocate and leader, supporting the local Torres Strait Islander community both personally and professionally in her role as Director of the Kara Buai Torres Strait Islander Corporation in Canberra.

Trish commenced her career in APS with the Department of Health and Aged Care, influencing and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policy and programs. Following completion of a Master of Culture, Health and Medicine at ANU, she accepted a secondment opportunity with Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, in the department’s First Nations Policy – Closing the Gap team, where she has recently been promoted.

Her goal as a Pat Turner alumna and Torres Strait Islander leader in the APS is to elevate and strengthen the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the policy lifecycle.​

Dr Suzanne Akila
SRW Scholarship Graduated 2016


Suzanne Akila

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Australian National University

PhD title: Participation and the Protection of Citizens Abroad in International Law

Suzanne’s PhD examined how state and non-state actors participate in the protection of citizens abroad and why. It included in-depth studies of Australia, Germany and Mexico’s consular and protection frameworks and practice.

Suzanne is a Director in the International Legal Practice Group in the Legal Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has led the International Law Section, the International Law Advising and Treaties Section and the Sea Law and Antarctica Section. Suzanne was named Woman Lawyer of the Year for Government by the ACT Women Lawyers Association in 2018. She is a Visiting Government Fellow at the University of Melbourne Law School and has taught international law at ANU. She completed her LLM specialising in public international law at University College London and her LLB at the University of Western Australia.

Professor Hilary Charlesworth
  • Akila S (2015) Participation and the Protection of Citizens Abroad in International Law [PhD thesis], The Australian National University, Canberra.
  • Akila S, Cavenagh J, Mackay E, Smyth K (2010) ‘Australian Legislation Concerning Matters of International Law 2008’ The Australian Year Book of International Law: 273-306.
  • Akila S (2018) ‘Networks of protection’. In Cullen H, Harrington J and Renshaw C (eds), Experts, Networks and International Law, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Dr Talia Avrahamzon
SRW Scholarship Graduated 2019


Talia Avrahamzon

First Peoples Disability Network Australia (on leave from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet)

The Australian National University

PhD title: Everyday reconciliation at school: new celebrations and ongoing silences

Talia’s PhD explores how the education system engages in reconciliation at the policy, school and classroom levels as well as through the perspectives of children. Through a multi-disciplinary ethnographic inquiry into the everyday policies and practices in two urban primary schools on Ngunnawal Country, in the ACT education jurisdiction, the study responded to a gap in understanding how, why and for whom reconciliation is (re)constructed. The findings have implications for how individuals, organisations and the nation understand and engage with reconciliation beyond the education system.  They have been adapted to professional development for educators and Commonwealth and State/Territory public policy makers; university courses; and individual and organisational change evaluation frameworks on addressing intersectionality, anti-racism, and reconciliation.

Talia has been employed by the Department of Social Services (DSS) and then the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet since 2002 in various policy, implementation (including community engagement) and organisational culture (learning and development) roles. Talia is currently the National Strategic Partnership and Research Manager at First Peoples Disability Network, a human rights organisation. Previous to this she was the DSS Executive Director First Nations disability policy, where she established a national policy, research and data agenda in partnership with peak organisations, community and research partners. Since completing her PhD, she has also held research fellowships and teaching positions in the ANU College of Arts and Social Science, has been a Chief Investigator on intercultural understanding research and evaluation projects, and has co-designed and delivered Indigenous Affairs, Policy and intercultural capability professional development and training packages within the APS. During her scholarship, Talia was a visiting scholar at Queens University, Belfast (2015) and Victoria University, Wellington (2019) where she maintains strong research and policy collaborations.

Associate Professor Jerry Schwab
  • Bar-Tal D, Avrahamzon T (2016) ‘Development of delegitimization and animosity in the context of intractable conflict’. In Sibley C and Barlow F (eds), Cambridge Handbook of the Psychology of Prejudice. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Avrahamzon T and Gorringe S (24-28 July 2017) ‘Reconciliation in Australian primary schools’ [conference presentation], World Indigenous Policy Conference on Education, Toronto, Canada.
  • Avrahamzon T (24-25 August 2017) ‘“We don’t focus on reconciliation as we do it all the time, it’s embedded in everything we do”: how two primary schools deliver messages about Indigenous peoples and cultures, Australian history and reconciliation’ [conference presentation], Oceanic Ethnography and Education Conference, Deakin University, Deakin, Australia.
  • Avrahamzon T (11-13 September 2017) ‘Reconciling the Contradictions of Reconciliation – Primary School Children’s Perspectives’ [conference presentation], Oxford Ethnography and Education Conference, Oxford, England.
  • Avrahamzon T and Herron M (3 November 2017) ‘Celebrating Reconciliation or Racism in Celebration: Institutional racism towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures in primary and secondary schools’ [conference presentation], 50 Years of Institutional Racism Conference, Deakin University, Deakin, Australia.
  • Avrahamzon T (2019) Everyday Reconciliation at School: New Celebrations and Ongoing Silences [PhD Thesis], The Australian National University, Canberra.
  • Avrahamzon T (1-3 July 2019) ‘Settled Reconciliation: ‘Settled reconciliation’ in education policy and practice – how celebrations of reconciliation can silence diversity’ [conference presentation], 2019 AIATSIS National Indigenous Research Conference, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Avrahamzon T (1-5 December 2019) ‘Reconciling education policies and the everyday practices in schools in relation to reconciliation in Australia’ [conference presentation], Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Avrahamzon T and Avery S (3 November 2021) ‘Intersectionality: Closing the Gap and Australia’s Disability Strategy’ [conference presentation], Australian Social Policy Conference, UNSW Social Policy Research Centre Sydney.
  • Avrahamzon T, Dinku Y, Murray M and Bowen T (2022) Core Cultural e-Learning Impact and Currency Evaluation. Report to Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
The Sir Roland Wilson Foundation is a partnership between The Australian National University, Charles Darwin University and the Australian Public Service.