I am deeply honoured (and a little trepidatious) to step into the role of AFAA President. AFAA has been ably led for over 6 years by Dr Ian Butterworth and he is indeed a hard act to follow. Iain’s substantial legacy includes a revised governance structure including a national committee and policies such as our code of conduct (2015). He led AFAA migration to a new membership platform and an independent web presence (fulbrightalumni.org.au) in 2016. Iain hosted numerous conferences and annual salons including celebratory salons for Fulbright’s 70th Anniversary. Working with committee member Angela Heise, he led strategic reviews and program implementation to guide growth of the association in 2015 and 2019. Before the close of his presidency, Iain helped initiate the scoping and resourcing of our recently launched mentorship program.
Iain’s contribution to Fulbright has been substantial and I very grateful he has agreed to remain on the national committee and that I can continue to call on his experience and counsel. I am also ably supported by an experienced committee notably Dr Vanessa Adams who has been on the committee for some 6 years including 3 years as secretary and now Treasurer. Vanessa’s corporate knowledge and her highly competent and practical support for AFAA are invaluable. Angela Heise, who led our strategic review in 2019 has also remained on the committee and her strategic thinking will be invaluable as we emerge into a COVID-normal world. Dr Caroline Smith our secretary brings some 3 years AFAA committee experience and a background in policy and strategy, executive leadership and not for profit boards. Our committee has also been invigorated by several new members including Dr Aiden Warren, Professor Peter Jarvis, Dr Farrukh Mateen and Professor Jon Adams. I’m excited and honored to be working with such a talented and experienced group of people.
Recently, I enjoyed a highly productive meeting with Dr James Arvanatakis the new Executive Director of Fulbright Australia and with Alex MacLaurin (FA Communications Manager). I’m confident that AFAA and FA will enjoy a strong and productive relationship starting with co-hosting a leadership workshop in 2022.
I believe that one of the great strengths of Fulbright is the huge diversity of disciplines, interests, experience, and culture that the scholars and alumni represent. I look forward to working with all to promote the values and goals of the Fulbright and to ensure that membership of AFAA is a rewarding and supportive experience.
I wish you all the best for the remainder of this challenging year and for the approaching, and doubtless very welcome, holiday season. I look forward to the rewards and challenges that 2022 will bring.