Registrations open for the Atlantic Fellows Social Equity Program

Atlantic Fellows
Left to right: Alison Bentick, Penny Jones, Karrina Nolan, Janine Mohamed and Huti Watson from the 2019 cohort. Photo: James Henry

The University of Melbourne is calling for applicants to register their interest for the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity (AFSE) program.

Applicants can check eligibility and register their interest now for the 2021 cohort ahead of formal applications opening on 26 June.

The AFSE is a year-long intensive program hosted by the University that is open to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian and New Zealand applicants.

The program develops powerful understandings of inequity and social change, grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing, doing and being.

Successful applicants enter the program as Fellows and go on to join a growing community of AFSE Senior Fellows and global Atlantic Fellows. They also have the opportunity to complete a graduate qualification in Social Change Leadership through the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.

Elizabeth McKinley, Executive Director of AFSE and Professor of Indigenous Education at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, said the AFSE program is needed now more than ever.

“With many people protesting around the world calling for social change, the AFSE program will foster Fellows’ capacity to accelerate the change needed for Indigenous communities to build a society in which we all wish to live,” Professor McKinley said.

“We are working for Indigenous-led social change to build on the incredible strength, resilience, knowledge and understandings Indigenous people bring to the world.”

Shaun Ewen, Pro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous) at the University of Melbourne said the opportunity to join the AFSE program is timely.

"The single most important thing a University can offer is, through knowledge, discovery and partnerships, to make our communities and societies better places for all of us,” Professor Ewen said.

“There is now a profound opportunity for social change. The global Atlantic Fellows community, of which AFSE is an Indigenous led and focused member, is working hard to find sustainable, inclusive and equitable pathways to a ‘new normal’ post-COVID."

Shane Webster, an AFSE Senior Fellow and General Manager of Regions at Jawun (an AFSE founding partner) has experienced the benefits of the ASFE program.

“As a Senior Fellow, my experience is translating into major changes in my projects,” Mr Webster said.

“The opportunity to meet and collaborate with Fellows has also had a transformative impact on how I approach systemic change. I’ve always seen lifelong fellowship as an obligation to support current and future fellows above and beyond other interests.”

The Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity is one of seven global and interconnected Atlantic Fellows programs to which the foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, has committed more than $US660 million worldwide.

Established by American/Irish businessman Chuck Feeney, the co-founder of the Duty Free Shoppers Group, Atlantic Philanthropies has given away $US8 billion over the course of Mr Feeney’s lifetime, largely anonymously.

More information about AFSE program can be found at