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Janine Mohamed talks about experience on an Indigenous-led pathway towards social equity

Janine Mohamed -CEO of the Lowitja Institute and Senior AFSE Fellow Source: Supplied

"The Atlantic Fellowship program is unique, profound and timely in the realm of social equity as it revolves around Indigenous knowledges and Indigenous ways of knowing and doing." -Janine Mohamed

Key points

  • For her Atlantic Fellowship, Janine Mohamed submitted a project about creating a global network of Indigenous nurses.

  •  Being a Senior Fellow opens opportunities to get involved in discussions about social-equity policies on a global scale.

  • The Atlantic Fellowship for Social Equity (AFSE) is an Indigenous-led program harnessing Indigenous knowledge, ingenuity, and creativity geared towards transformative change.

The Atlantic Fellowship for Social Equity (AFSE) has been newly revamped and has just opened applications for 2021.

Janine Mohamed CEO of Lowitja Institute, Australia’s National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research is also one of AFSE's Senior Fellows.

In a conversion with NITV Radio, Janine Mohamed said that she drew many benefits from her fellowship including the opportunity for a deep immersion and being led on a track of life-long learning about social-equity.

“There may be other benefits such as friendships and connectivity. I think what I walked away with was that being an Atlantic Fellow is now part of my identity.”

Indigenous nurses from around the world have been thrust at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19

She added that the Atlantic Fellowship also exposed her to different narratives and ways of thinking as through this program she was able to reflect and gain an understanding on where people were as well as meet them in their time and their language.

“My experience was that it was welcoming and yet there was a lot of discomfort, and there was growing in that discomfort and a lot of reflective practice and critical thinking; and of course the growth of my project.”

It is a requirement for all fellows to submit a social equity project. Janine Mohamed’s initiative was about the creation of a global network of Indigenous nurses aiming to get them to explore their commonalities, their common goals and strive towards reaching their objectives together.

This project has proven timely and poignant during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic as Indigenous nurses from around the world have been thrust at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19.

Throughout the current health crisis, her network of Indigenous nurses have stayed in contact and have taken part in conversations on how to tackle the pandemic.

“We kept abreast about some of the programs with Indigenous nurses globally. Indigenous nurses were at the forefront of the management of the current crisis of Covid.”

Janine Mohamed lauds Indigenous leadership in how, together with government, they have managed to keep community safe from Covid-19 in Australia.

She emphasises on the importance of culture and Indigenous knowledge as key determinants of Indigenous peoples' health outcomes.

I think the role of being a Senior Fellow is really important. As a Senior Fellow, I’m aware of the legacy that I have and the possibility I have, as a Senior Fellow to continue to learn and to share and give back.

Janine Mohamed further explained that being a Senior Fellow also opens many opportunities to get involved in social equity discussions and policy-making on a global scale.

During her fellowship, she travelled to the US where she met academics at a NY university and introduced to them Indigenous concepts of sustainability and the centrality of water.

In her trip to the US, she also met senior officials of the Obama administration and had discussions with some of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. But her involvement did not stop there.

“Just recently I was a part of a BLM panel that was curated by the Atlantic Fellowship Hub in Oxford in the UK. This was a perfect space to meet people in the BLM movement and definitely participate in the ongoing discussions.”

What she found unique, profound and timely in the realm of social equity, is that the Atlantic Fellowship was really about centering Indigenous knowledges and Indigenous ways of knowing and doing.

“I think the role of being a Senior Fellow is really important. As a Senior Fellow, I’m aware of the legacy that I have and the possibility I have, as a Senior Fellow to continue to learn and to share and give back in my culture what I call reciprocity. That means intentional participation and the ability to be able to mentor.”

“I feel, walking as a Senior Fellow, a real pride and excitement for the future.”

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