Next generation of leaders sought for Alice Springs

A new generation of leaders is being sought to build a strong and sustainable future for Alice Springs.

The Desert Leadership program, developed by Desert Knowledge Australia and guided by the current leaders of Alice Springs, is uniquely aimed to actively tackle the issues of intercultural leadership and find shared solutions for the community.

It is seeking participants for its 2013 program, which begins in March.

According to Desert Knowledge Australia CEO John Huigen, the Desert Leadership program is the first of its kind in Australia.

“ It uses what is called an adaptive leadership approach for Aboriginal and other Australians working together – focusing on starting real conversations, listening and learning to respond to entrenched and difficult issues that have not been tackled before,” he said.

The program’s guidelines have been developed through consultation with a reference group including community leaders Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan, President of the Chamber of Commerce NT and Director of Ross Engineering, Julie Ross, CEO of Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, Dr Pat Miller, AO and past Desert Leadership Program participant, Ian McAdam.

The 2013 program builds on the success of the first Desert Leadership Program which had 18 participants and finished in November 2011. It also includes lessons learned through the 2011 and 2012 Youth Desert Leadership Programs.

Mayor Damien Ryan said the town’s unique geographic and demographic situation in the heart of Australia required a unique approach.

“This leadership program has to be a collective journey for the next generation of Alice Springs leaders,” he said.

“It is based on the understanding that the future of Alice Springs will be determined by the way its people and leaders work and interact. This program has the bold intention to help change the way things work in Alice Springs and to help create a shared positive future for the town and its people.”

Fellow reference group member Dr Miller agrees:

“The method of development of the Alice Springs Desert Leadership program carefully takes the local situation into account. We make sure we get the support and interest of the town’s leaders in the development of the program. Participants will need the support of existing leaders and their families and their community,” she said.

“Remote Australia needs a shared future that embraces both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, an approach that reflects a sense of connection to its grass roots but also understands its place in wider Australia.”

Mr Huigen said the 2013 program has been made possible through the funding and in-kind support of key partners including TIO and ARUP, a global design and project management firm and the Australian Football League (AFL).

Mr Huigen said the 2013 program aims to build the capacity and capability of the next generation of Aboriginal and other leaders from Central Australia. Participants will be chosen by the reference group, based on their potential for leadership and commitment to the future of their community.

“We seek to get a group who truly represent the Central Australian community,” he said, “Therefore participants come from a broad cross-section of backgrounds and with a range of formal educational levels. “

Desert Knowledge Australia is calling for expressions of interest from participants and mentors for the next program. To learn more about how you can become a mentor or participant, click here.

For more information, photographs or to arrange interviews with past Desert Leadership participants please contact:
Jeanette Wormald
M: 0428 874 153
E: jeanette.wormald@desertknowledge.com.au