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Next generation of First Nations leaders emerge from Monash’s Master of Indigenous Leadership

Brendan Foster -

Mununjahli Yugambeh woman Alice Currie is one of the emerging next generation of First Nations leaders poised for big things.

Ms Currie was part of a cohort of the first graduates of Monash University's Master of Indigenous Leadership.

What makes this master's course so unique is that was created by Indigenous people for Indigenous people and focused on First Nations knowledge systems, culture and leadership.

The students got to explore the different cultural, political and economic contexts faced by businesses in Indigenous communities, which is aimed at not only creating a better future for First Nations people but all Australians.

"This degree was unlike any other degree I've done," Ms Currie said.

"Any time I needed to go back to country or back home - I was supported.

"I took on the challenge of engaging with academics, sharing the realities of our communities and the industries we are a part of."

Ms Currie, who works as a marketing and communications coordinator at Thirrili Indigenous Suicide Prevention Service, said the First Nations students were supportive and empowering of each other.

She said the course was invaluable because it incorporated Indigenous cultural traditions and Western models of doing business.

"By combining our ways of doing business with a deep understanding of Western business concepts, I applied this unique perspective to address real-world problems," she said.

"As students, we walked together - we uplifted each other. We helped each other grow as a leader and learned how to practice these principles in the workplace - to uplift Indigenous people to work together.

"I'm proud I did this. If you want to pursue education - Do it, just do it. Education is the tool."

Course co-director Katrina Johnson, a Gooreng Gooreng woman said the master's program, which was the first of its kind in Australia, placed a strong emphasis on both First Nations and Western business leadership concepts.

"It is crucial for our leaders to be confident in walking and working in both worlds so they can access the resources needed and build power together to create the change we need now and into the future," she said.

"Through robust strength-based conversations, sharing knowledge, live business cases, exposure to diverse Indigenous leaders and wisdom from our Elders about our origins of business and where the future of business is heading, these graduates can confidently proceed using Indigenous terms of reference to design business strategy."

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