Professor Ngiare Brown (Photo courtesy of James Cook University)

The appointment of Yuin nation woman, Professor Ngiare Brown as Chancellor at James Cook University  has been celebrated during a ceremony at James Cook University in Townsville. 

Professor Brown was appointed to the role in April but the investiture ceremony, officially welcoming her to the role was held yesterday.  

She says even the invitation to apply for the role came as a surprise. 

“It’s not always something that people think about in their career trajectory. But what a real privilege and an honour to have the opportunity to be in this role. To represent the institution, to be engaged locally with community, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to be part of the consolidation and the growth of the institution as we strengthen our position in the region. But also hopefully beyond borders and into the Pacific and Southeast Asia.”

Professor Brown is no stranger to James Cook University, having completed her Masters in in Public Health and Tropical Medicine there in 2000. 

While she acknowledges the role is about contributing to the University’s core business and strategic direction, she also has a clear vision of what she’d like to achieve in the role. 

“A focus more on how we address issues of learning and not just education. How we incorporate aspects of the local leadership into the everyday business of the institution. A being of place is incredibly important to the DNA of James Cook, so how that then looks to local contribution, I think is super important. 

I’m really keen on elevating and leveraging Indigenous expertise, as well as local industry, and other partnerships into that space. I really want to look at how we better support growth in the Pacific, as well as of course in Far North Queensland and in Queensland more generally, provide leadership and set an example for the rest of the country. But we can also do that across the tropics and that equatorial band, so I think that’s super exciting.”

Professor Brown was one of the first Aboriginal medical graduates in Australia when she completed her medical degree at the University of Newcastle in 1992 and was a founding member and foundation CEO of the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA).