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Announcing the $72,000 Australia for UNHCR Beddie Scholarship

Today we launch an exciting new tertiary scholarship, the Australia for UNHCR Beddie Scholarship. This scholarship is for a refugee intending to pursue a career in the creative industries. It will support study at the prestigious Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS).

This scholarship has been established with the generous support of the Public Education Foundation Australia and AFTRS for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the daughter of Rurer Beddie to help the scholarship recipient develop their storytelling talents. The scholarship, valued at over $72,000, covers full tuition for a Bachelor of Arts program, living expenses and internship opportunities at Australia for UNCHR.

AFTRS CEO Neil Peplow said, “AFTRS is committed to finding Australia’s most distinctive, creative voices from across our diverse community and to empower and train those people to tell their stories for the screen. AFTRS is proud to be partnering with the Beddie Prize, Public Education Foundation and Australia for UNHCR to create this scholarship opportunity for a refugee student to tell their own stories”.

Australia for UNHCR National Director Naomi Steer said, “I’ve heard first-hand the incredible stories of people fleeing conflict, persecution and disaster and I hope this is an opportunity talented storytellers take hold of with both hands. We want to open up the depth of storytelling talent among refugee communities and encourage greater understanding across our community of the refugee experience.”

“We’re proud to partner with the Public Education Foundation and AFTRS, with the generous support of Francesca Beddie, to give people who arrived in the country as refugees the opportunity to tap into their creativity at one of Australia’s most prestigious media schools,” Ms Steer said.

Francesca Beddie is delighted that from an idea to remember her mother, a lifelong devotee of the arts, a scholarship has been established, “It demonstrates what partnerships between like-minded people can do. I would like to thank Australia for UNHCR, the Public Education Foundation and AFTRS for helping to mould a scholarship that will help to show what marvellous talent and resilience refugees bring to our country.”

“This wonderful scholarship helps a refugee student gain a tertiary qualification in the sought-after film, television and radio industry. It will also provide them with the skills to tell stories of their own as a way of building greater understanding of the refugee experience,” the Public Education Foundation’s Executive Director, David Hetherington, said.

Australia for UNHCR is the UN Refugee Agency’s national partner in Australia, raising awareness and funds to support UNHCR’s global emergency response to humanitarian crises. It achieves this through the generosity of Australian individual donors, trusts, foundations and other organisations who donate to and partner with Australia for UNHCR to support its goals.

Rurer Beddie first came to live in Australia during World War II. Until the age of 10 she lived in China. Her father was a naturalised Englishman, whose Jewish parents left Germany in the 1890s. Her mother was English. War meant that Rurer had to leave three childhood homes: Tientsin, Jersey and Melbourne. She returned to Australia in the mid-1950s and lived in Canberra for the rest of her life. This scholarship honours her strong sense of social justice and her support for the arts.

Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) is the nation’s premier screen arts and broadcast school. AFTRS empowers Australian talent to shape and share their stories with the world by delivering the most future-focused education, research and training.

The Public Education Foundation works in collaboration with the schools, communities, business and both the state and federal governments to provide equity and excellence scholarships for students and educators in public education; and enhance the value and reputation of public education.

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For more information please contact: Melanie Morrison, Public Education Foundation
Tel: 02 9266 8247 | Email: melanie@publiceducationfoundation.org.au