Notre Dame Fulbright Scholars honoured at Parliament House

Xavier Symons, Siddanth Sharma, and John Rees each received awards at the 2020 Fulbright Presentation Gala Dinner held on Thursday 27 February at Parliament House in Canberra.

The Fulbright Program is the largest educational exchange scholarship program in the world, operating in more than 160 countries and aimed at increasing the exchange of ideas, binational research collaboration and cultural understanding. This is the first year Fulbright Scholarships have been awarded to academics at The University of Notre Dame and the three scholarship recipients will go on to undertake research as well as teaching opportunities in America this year.

Professor John A. Rees, Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Ethics & Society (IES) and Professor of Politics & International Relations at the School of Arts & Sciences in Sydney, is the recipient of the 2020 Fulbright Scholar Award funded by the University of Wyoming (UW). Professor Rees will conduct research and teach at UW on the theme of “religious literacy in international relations theory and practice” during this year’s Fall Semester (August-December).

I am honoured to receive the Fulbright Senior Scholar award,” Professor Rees said. “The research and teaching components of the fellowship at the University of Wyoming reflect the best practice standards I have been encouraged to cultivate at Notre Dame. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the program at UW.

Another Research Associate at IES, bioethicist Xavier Symons, has been awarded a Fulbright Future Scholarship (Postdoctoral), which will take him to the Kennedy Institute for Ethics (KIE) at Georgetown University to complete a research project on the ethics of dementia, focussing on issues identified in the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Having volunteered in nursing homes for several years, Xavier has experienced first-hand both the human and organisational challenges facing aged care providers in Australia and is passionate about aged care reform.

Xavier said he felt honoured to be joining the Fulbright community. “It’s an immense privilege to be given the opportunity to travel to the US for research, and specifically to Georgetown University, the ‘home’ of modern bioethics.”

Dr Siddhanth Sharma, who graduated from Notre Dame with a Doctor of Medicine in 2018 and currently works as a junior doctor at Royal Perth Hospital, was also awarded a 2020 Fulbright Future Scholarship (funded by The Kinghorn Foundation). Dr Sharma will pursue a Master of Public Health while in the US. “I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to study unperturbed and learn from academics at the forefront of knowledge,” he said. “America is home to some of the leading tertiary institutions in the field of public health, excelling in both creativity and scientific rigour. Being able to absorb material from world renowned experts at these institutions is an extraordinary privilege that I hope will translate into tangible benefits for individuals across populations.”

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