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Dr Kerry Arabena was awarded the prestigious JG Crawford Prize for academic excellence on 15 July 2011. Dr Arabena is the first Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander to receive this prize from the Australian National University (ANU), recognising the best intellectual contribution of any thesis in the arts, science and interdisciplinary categories. Dr Arabena was awarded a Doctorate in environmental science in the field of human ecology at ANU in 2010 for her thesis titled: Indigenous to the universe: a discourse of Indigeneity, citizenship and ecological relationships.
Much of the thesis was informed during Dr Arabena's time living and working in many different communities across Australia in regional and remote areas. ‘This work was an exploration of new ways of bringing Indigenous people's sciences together with environmental and quantum sciences to create alternative ways for people to live in and consider the environment. We have a magnificent country and I want to make sure I do my part to guarantee that it is here for generations to come,' she said.
Dr Arabena is the Chief Executive of the Lowitja Institute, inaugural Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples and advisory board member of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.