The Monash University Fellows and Distinguished Alumni Awards recipients for 2017 were announced at a ceremony at Monash, Clayton on 25 October, acknowledging extraordinary contributions and achievements. Two Monash Arts graduates received awards: Dr Lachlan Strahan and Ms Anna Burke.
President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AO congratulated this year’s recipients for demonstrating what a Monash education can make possible.
“Monash aspires to excellence and the Distinguished Alumni Awards are an opportunity to celebrate that excellence when it occurs,” Professor Gardner said.
“Monash alumni make a transformative impact in communities across Australia and worldwide, and the Distinguished Alumni Awards are one important way of recognising their contributions.”
Monash Arts alumnus Dr Lachlan Strahan was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award
Dr Lachlan Strahan is the First Assistant Secretary of the Multilateral Policy Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), leading the UN, Commonwealth, conflict prevention and peace-building, gender equality, international indigenous and human rights teams. He is also a Senior Advocate for the Indigenous Employees Network and a Senior Straight Ally supporting his LGBTI colleagues.
Dr Strahan has served in Australia’s diplomatic missions in Germany, South Korea and India. He covered North Korea from Seoul, 2002 to 2005, visiting Pyongyang during a bitter winter in 2003 when the DPRK left the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. As Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to India, 2009 to 2013, he led Australia’s security and safety response during the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and coordinated Oz Fest, Australia’s biggest ever cultural promotion in India in 2012 to 2013.
Dr Strahan has published two history books, Australia’s China: Changing perceptions from the 1930s to the 1990s (1996 and 2010) and Day of Reckoning (2005), which was shortlisted for the 2006 New South Wales Premier’s Australian History Prize, and several articles, including ‘Fathers and Sons’ (Meanjin 2006).
Monash Arts alumnus Ms Anna Burke was the recipient of the Distinguished Fellows
Ms Anna Burke was the elected representative for the Victorian electoral division of Chisholm in the Australian Parliament from 1998 until 2016; she served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 43rd Parliament from 2012 to 2013. During her time as an elected representative Ms Burke saw herself as a parliamentarian and not a politician.
As a Presiding Officer of the Parliament, Ms Burke had the opportunity to work with Parliaments in the South Pacific developing their capacity and strengthening their democratic processes. She has been able to continue in this work by facilitating training with the Samoan Parliament and working with the International Parliamentary Union in Kenya undertaking gender sensitivity audits and exercises.
Since retiring from parliament, Ms Burke has been actively involved in leading a range of public purpose organisations. She is currently serving on the Boards of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia, RedR Australia, veski, Institute of Breathing and Sleep, Alkira foundation, and she is Chair of the Advisory Group for Transforming Humanities Focus Research Area at La Trobe University.