BCE hosts national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Education Conference – empowering schools, staff, and students



​Best practices and innovation by First Nations educators from across the country will be showcased at the 2023 Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Education Conference (Monday, 7 to Wednesday 9, August) - hosted for the first time by Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE). 


The goal of the conference is to encouraggreater engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in cultural learning - and all students in cultural competencies, said BCE’s Senior Manager of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Dr Mayrah Driese. 


“We’re excited for Principals and teachers to hear directly from distinguished First Nations speakers, which will empower them to transfer their learnings back into their classrooms,” said the Gamilaraay and Yuwalaraay woman from Southwest Queensland and Northwest New South Wales. 


“The Conference will provide educators access to valuable insights and knowledge, resulting in real world impact. 


“At the Conference, we will have the opportunity to showcase the initiatives that BCE schools are embracing, including the teaching of First Nations languages in our school communities and how we are fostering a mindset where school communities embrace reconciliation.”   

Mayrah added that BCE is proud to be hosting the national conference for the first time, an accolade that affirms the current focus of BCE’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (2023 – 2025). 


“BCE launched its newest Reconciliation Action Plan in May this year, with the commitment to work towards genuine and sustainable reconciliation in our community,” she said. 


“The conference will facilitate opportunities for our community to further deepen their understanding and genuine appreciation of First Nations peoples, as we commit ourselves to walking the journey of reconciliation together. 


“At BCE we are proud to commit ourselves to the ongoing cultural,spiritual, and deep connection that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have to Country.” 


Keynote speakers for the Conference include: 

  • ​ ​​Inaugural Dean Learning and Teaching (Indigenous) at Griffith University within the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Indigenous, Diversity and Inclusion, Professor Marcus Woolombi Waters, 
  • Author of 19 books and international public speaker, Dr Anita Heiss,  
  • Member of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative of southern Victoria, and award-winning Australian writer, editor, and anthologist, Professor Bruce Pascoe,  
  • Educator and Professor, Jay Phillips, 
  • Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne, anthropologist, and geographer, Professor Marcia Langton AO, 
  • Founder of Darkies Designs, Dion Devow,
  • Aboriginal artist and cultural advisor, William Quillam, and 
  • Cultural Educator, Aunty Eva Jo Edwards. 

 For more information about the 2023 Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Education Conference and Keynote speakers click here. 


The Conference acknowledges the Traditional Custodians the Turrbal and Yuggera Peoples, paying respects to the Elders past, present, and emerging. 


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