Current Communications student Kody Dobson interviews Communication graduate, Avondale Alumni and Malgana Yamatji man – Jared Poland.
Kody: Jared when you graduated from Avondale, did you ever think you would find yourself delivering a statement at a United Nations?
How did you get this opportunity and what did you say?
Jared: I graduated from Avondale with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Development and Poverty Studies and a Specialisation in Communication.
I’ve always dreamed about going to the UN, however, no I never thought I would have this opportunity. I was fortunate enough to be selected to be an intern for the Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nation Human Rights Council for the 40th session of the Human Rights Council. I currently am studying a Juris Doctor at Monash University in Melbourne. I was selected by Monash’s Castan Centre for Human Rights Law for this opportunity.
The statement was at an event hosted by the Norwegian Mission about “Recognising Environmental Human Rights Defenders and the need for their protection”. The statement I gave was roughly on this subject, highlighting the important role and work that Indigenous people, especially Indigenous women play in advancing human rights. I also highlighted the need for their empowerment.
Kody: What do you do when you are not Speaking at UN meetings?
Jared: Well, I as I said I am interning for the Australian government (the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, DFAT) at the moment. I am a student, and I also work part time for a small Indigenous NGO where we run mentorship programs for Indigenous kids. Unfortunately, my internship is not a permanent position so I will have to return to Australia and resume my studies, though I do hope to be back here one day in a professional capacity. We’ll see what happens.
I have been passionate about human rights, in particular, Indigenous rights for quite some time. I am a Malgana Yamatji man so the issue of Indigenous rights is quite personal and important for me. Everyone is equal and so should have the right to realise and achieve their full potential. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Systemic and social inequalities mean that people all too often never start off on equal ground so as a result are disadvantaged. This for me is unacceptable. The treatment of Indigenous people in Australia (both historically and presently) is disgraceful. The fact that we die younger than the average Australian, and the disgustingly high Indigenous youth suicide rate, for example, is shameful, this needs to change.
For me, I became passionate about human rights after a fly and build trip overseas when I was younger, and my passion for Indigenous rights came from realising that only through Indigenous-led solutions will substantive change in this area ever occur in Australia.
Kody: You are very active on social media on the topic of Indigenous
Australian issues. What are some other projects or summits you have been involved in, what do these projects mean to you?
Jared: I work with young Indigenous kids in a community-based mentorship program where we work to instill self-confidence, helping them to realise the endless potential that they have within themselves. Growing up I’ve been in involved in a number of local community-based service projects. During my Bachelor’s degree study. I was fortunate enough to able to intern and gain experience working both domestically with NGOs in Sydney and the Torres Strait and internationally as well.
Kody: As an Avondale graduate if you had something to say to the students
coming through now as to what you would like to see them do in this
space you are working within, is there anything we can do to help?
Jared: Well, the area of Indigenous rights my advice would be to educate yourselves on the real history of this great country that we share. There is a lot that we need to reconcile with if we ever want to have a better future for all. Once you have educated yourselves, be ready to act on what you’ve learned. Also just listen to people and hear their lived experiences, growing up in Australia is a very different experience for some people.
Thank you for your time, inspiration and service to our country Jared. Avondale is incredibly proud of you!