Dream big and aim high – The Honourable Julie Bishop MP
It was both an honour and privilege to host The Honourable Julie Bishop MP at our School this morning. Through three separate events held across the morning, we sought to maximise the opportunity of her wealth of experience in leadership, politics and world affairs.
Ms Bishop has served as the Member for Curtin in the House of Representatives since 1998. She was Australia’s first female Foreign Minister serving from September 2013 to August 2018, following four years in the role of Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. Ms Bishop was the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party from December 2007 to August 2018.
Our VCE Global Politics and Legal Studies students participated in a boardroom style meeting with Ms Bishop in the Dining Room of Sherren House. The students utilised this extraordinary opportunity to strengthen their understanding of the VCE curriculum content with pre-prepared questions focused towards their learning from her extensive experiences, both in parliament and as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
During her time with the VCE classes, Ms Bishop shared her unrelenting focus as Minister of Foreign Affairs on empowering women and girls in our neighbouring countries. Her belief of ‘our region, our responsibility’ was the driving force behind the distribution of Australia’s financial aid. This reminded me of the value of own Heyington2Highlands program which is underpinned by an education of the UN Sustainability Goals, most notably – empowering Women and Girls.
In appreciation of our very generous supporters for the recent ‘Her Future Begins Here’ fundraising campaign, invited guests enjoyed a Foundation Breakfast with Ms Bishop entertaining all with her keynote address. Ms Bishop shared the highlights of her twenty year career in politics. As the Head Prefect of her old School, St Peter’s Girls School in Adelaide, she attributed the success of her career to the encouragement and education she received at school.
Through her schooling experience, she felt an enormous sense of opportunity, optimism and inspiration. She described her teenage self as ‘busy, active, organising everything, loving sport and enjoying the company of her friends immensely’. Her closing suggestion to fathers in the room was somewhat poignant, imploring Dads to ‘invest in your daughters as this will be an investment in our future’.
During the Senior School Assembly, our senior students enjoyed hearing firsthand Ms Bishop’s encouragement to ‘dream big and aim high’ and to not allow others to define you.
In recent months, Ms Bishop was awarded the inaugural United States Mission Award for Leadership Excellence, in honour of Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote “example is the best lesson there is” and Ms Bishop was honoured as an exemplar for this very phrase. A woman who has steadfastly represented her country with dignity, grace and courage and an admirable work ethic; this is something we as educators at St Catherine’s aspire to for the girls today.
At the close of the morning, I trust Ms Bishop walked through the Heyington gates with an understanding of the unique St Catherine’s culture, coupled with a sense of great hope for preparing young women to step forward with confidence to the boardroom table.