The promotion of global citizenship through learning at Milpera State High School, and the reflections and insights gained

Adele Rice, AM1

1Chair of the Friends of HEAL Foundation; Board Member of The Global Learning Centre; Churchill Fellow

Milpera truly is a place of global citizenship. Some call it “the world in one school”. Much more than just a multicultural high school, the practices of Milpera encompass the whole person, recognising pre-migration experience including the individual’s possible lack of learning opportunities. Despite the challenges that Milpera learners have, the evidence shows that they complete their education. This school provides vivid examples of methods to change vulnerability at the point of a student’s arrival, offer confident transition through to mainstream schooling, and enable greater opportunity toward achieving success.
This presentation will provide Adele Rice’s reflections on experiences of 1979-83, as Corinda Special School Principal, and as founding Milpera Principal 1984-2012, examining the way this one school has helped to create and build a creative society through holistic and inclusive provision of education, settlement and well-being services to newly arrived refugee background young people in Brisbane.
Intrinsic to good global citizenship is good settlement, which includes peace education, and successful methods will be shared during this talk. We will examine notions concerning education for a just society, for valuing peace, and the role which English language proficiency plays in future success, as well as the important role of good mental health care. The talk will elaborate on partnerships with three tiers of government, and with non- government organisations, the role of volunteers, the professional development of teachers, the employment of bilingual support staff, and the benefits of an onsite mental health and well-being provision.


Since 1984 when Adele Rice was the  founding Principal of Milpera, Brisbane’s state high school for refugee and migrant students and intensive English language preparation centre, until her retirement in 2012, Adele Rice has been recognised as an expert in multicultural education, with awards including:  Churchill Fellowship; Save the Children White Flame Award; Paul Harris Fellowship (Rotary); QLD  Multicultural Achiever Award; Professor Betty Watts Memorial Award; Honorary Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders; People of Australia Ambassador; QLD United Nations Award. It is however her students who inspire her and she describes her work as an ‘amazing privilege.’

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