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Our 2022 Equality Prize Recipients

The Equality Prize and the Emerging Leader Equality Prize are awarded annually to a Burgmann resident and/or members of our alumni who have contributed significantly in any way to reducing inequality amongst people in any of its forms.

Sponsored byindigo foundation and the Billberry Blue Stocking Fund, each prize attracts an award of $1000.

Equality Prize

We were delighted that inaugural Equality Prize recipient Miss Louisa Yasukawa (2012-2014) was able to announce the 2022 recipients at our annual Valete Dinner. Our esteemed 2022 selection panel was comprised Acting Justice Richard Refshauge FAAL, Burgmann alumna and Council Member Dr Susanna Price, and Dr Susan Engels. The panel unanimously selected alumna Dr Emma Leslie (1990-1992) for recommendation as the recipient of the Equality Prize.

Dr Emma Leslie – Citation

Dr Emma Leslie has shown a substantial contribution to International Development projects throughout her working life in a wide variety of ways. She has contributed to advocacy and development, in a wide range of Asian and Pacific countries. She was a Researcher and Advocate for the project to ban land mines in Cambodia, has advocated for programs and participated or facilitated peace talks in Myanmar, East Timor, Malaysia and Indonesia and was co-founder and co-ordinator of the Asian Action Network. She made several peace missions to North Korea. Emma developed M.A. and Ph.D. programs for Applied Conflict Transformation Studies at the Pannasastra University, Cambodia, launched at the Cambodia Peace Museum.

Dr Leslie worked as a member of the International Contact Group facilitating peace talks in the Philippines and has been active in Myanmar for 25 years. She has been actively involved in women’s mediation groups in South East Asia and across the Commonwealth. Her contribution to peace, a fundamental to the respect due for human rights and equality was recognised when she was one of 1000 women nominated for the Nobel Prize in 2005. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Education by Charles Sturt University in 2014 for her outstanding contribution to peace and conflict resolution.

Acceptance remarks:

In my three years at Burgmann College I was an active member of what was then known as the Charity Sub Committee. We would come up with creative and crazy ways to make money for various good causes, and sometimes we would just blatantly go door to door reminding people of our privileged College live and collecting cash in buckets. Despite the fun Burgmann residents always were generous and heartfelt in their giving.

I am honoured to be this year's recipient of the indigo foundation Equality Prize, both as a proud Burgmann Alumni but equally as a fellow humanitarian and peace mediator. Indigo Foundation's motto is ’the first thing we offer is respect’. The very essence of the conflicts we have seen erupt in the world in the past 18 months, whether Afghanistan, Ukraine, Sudan, Yemen, Syria or the situation closest to my heart Myanmar - the fundamental cause is a deep lack of respect, loss of dignity, recognition or a sense of insecurity. Poverty and deprivation are of course important, but it’s our ability to see each other as people and understand there is a place for us all is fundamental. Equity, justice and peace are much needed, not just far away but here at home too. The awarding of such a prize is cause for reflection for me and for us all. How can we all be contributing to the great equality of us all in our everyday lives, to be sure we all feel at home in our community, country and the world.

Thank you to those generous souls who quietly nominated me for this recognition - John and Tim Payne and Alison Gerard. And to Burgmann and Indigo for the recognition of my work and thereby that of my team and organisation - the Centre For Peace and Conflict Studies: Cambodia based, building peace in Asia and beyond. I am thus challenged to continue on, and will use the name of the prize and its resources for our continued and collective efforts for peace. Sincere thanks and power for peace to you all.”

Emerging Leader Equality Prize

The esteemed 2022 selection panel were also unanimous in their selection of second year resident Margharita Dall’Occo (2021–) for recommendation as the recipient of the Emerging Leader Equality Prize.

Margharita Dall’Occo

Margharita Dall’Occo commenced her work in human rights as a student, using her own experience as a queer student with a disability to develop her activism and advocacy. She facilitated and lead the co-design of a series of resources on sexual and reproductive health and rights and contraception for people with a disability, those resources filling a significant gap, especially in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community. She spoke on a Report on Young Women and Non-Binary Peoples experience of Gender-Based Violence and represented Australia at the Commonwealth Children and Youth Disability Network supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat. She was an Australian delegate to the UN Conference of States Parties for the Convention on the Rights of People with a Disability.

Margharita was recently part of the facilitation team for the NDIS Jobs Summit and has been a member of the Children and Young People with Disabilities Youth Council, where she facilitated young people sharing their experiences with ableism in the community. She was also, last year a representative of Women With Disabilities Australia at the UN Equality Forum Mexico and Paris.

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