Alumni News Articles

Professor Michael Dodson reflects on his year as Australian of the Year 2009

8 January 2010

“I have tried to pass on encouragement and motivation through school visits and if something good comes of that, that would have made it all worthwhile,” says Professor Michael Dodson.

In an article published by the National Centre for Indigenous Studies (NCIS) titled “It’s wonderful going to school”, Professor Dodson reflects on his time as Australian of the Year 2009.

 With the announcement of the Australian of the Year 2010 just weeks away, he looks back at the last 12 months and says the most meaningful thing for him at the end of his tenure would be to have made a real difference in schooling and education.

Professor Dodson visited schools in every Australian state and territory, meeting and speaking to thousands of young Australians, sharing his own life experiences and stories. He even visited schools overseas, including Masakhane Primary School in South Africa and Nome-Beltz Senior and Junior High Schools in Alaska.

Through his school visits, Professor Dodson has been articulating one powerful message:  to not give up and to always keep striving.

“You know…I have fallen over and fallen down a few times in my life,” he says. “I have spoken of how I have sometimes failed and I have spoken to the kids about failure.”

“I have also told them about the importance of picking themselves up and having another crack.
I have also talked to kids about sadness, and how you shouldn’t let sadness consume you. I firmly believe you have to get going, to keep going.”

As part of his year, Professor Dodson also made a number of key note addresses, gave several lectures, and attended numerous launches and award ceremonies.

Professor Dodson has certainly had a busy year. He has achieved a lot in his tenure as Australian of the Year and has used the title to further his passion for educating the future leaders of Australia.

Professor Dodson received the Australian of the Year Award 2009 in recognition of his commitment to improving the lives of Aboriginal people, for promoting understanding between all Australians, and for pursuing justice and reconciliation through education, awareness and dialogue, at both the community and international levels.

To read the full review of Professor Dodson’s year as Australian of the Year 2009 click here.