A shared passion for education – and empowering developing countries and disadvantaged youth – has led to two alumni from the ANU College of Law and ANU College of Asia and the Pacific being awarded prestigious scholarships to undertake postgraduate study at Stanford University.
ANU Law alumnus, Arjuna Dibley, has been awarded a John Monash Scholarship to the Stanford Program for International Legal Studies, where he will investigate how developed nations translate international climate change commitments into domestic law and policy.
While ANU College of Asia and the Pacific alumna, Rachelle Cole, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study with The Graduate School of Education, where she will explore how teaching practice can be improved to better engage disadvantaged youth in learning a second language.
Arjuna and Rachelle met at ANU, sharing a joint interest in Indonesia and the Indonesian language: Arjuna studying a Flexible Double Degree in Law and Asia Pacific Studies, and Rachelle studying a Flexible Double Degree studying a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Asian Studies.
Since graduating, they have travelled, lived and worked in Indonesia and are currently based in Melbourne, where Arjuna works in climate change law at law firm Baker & Mackenzie, and Rachelle is the Head of Languages at Glenroy College.
Arjuna said his motivation to apply for the Monash Scholarship had its genesis at ANU where he became fascinated by the way law intersects with the delivery of global public policy objectives, particularly in the area of climate change.
Through his studies at Stanford, Arjuna said he was particularly keen to explore how international climate change obligations that countries have committed to through international forums in the United Nations will would translate into laws and policies ‘on the ground’.
“At the end of last year, at the UN Climate change conference in Paris, developing countries were asked to develop achievable laws on climate change. That’s great at the level of principle but figuring out how to introduce climate change laws is a vexed issue and very challenging for developing countries which already have an underdeveloped rule of law.
“I want to explore how to innovatively translate international obligations into the legal context in the developing world, particularly in our own region.
“This is an emerging area of law with just a small community of people working on it and we are going to have to quickly develop our expertise if we are going to achieve action on climate change,” he said.
Rachelle said she was attracted to studying at Stanford given its position as one of the world’s best universities, and its expertise in the design and delivery of education.
“Stanford has significant expertise in solving problems related to educational disadvantage, disengagement and language learning. Having taught in both Indonesian and English, and worked as an Additional Language teacher in a disadvantaged school for the last four years, I’m especially interested in these two areas.
“I am attracted to Stanford’s emphasis on emerging educational technologies - technology is a going to be a big part of the future of education, so I’m keen to develop my knowledge and skills in this area. What better place to do this than Stanford?”
Arjuna and Rachelle will spend a year studying at Stanford beginning in August.
BY LYN LARKIN