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The Talloires Network’s steering committee is an international collection of accomplished scholars, administrators, and practitioners. Those selected to lead our coalition bring together decades of experience in making higher education accessible, insightful, and community-oriented.

One of those leaders, Janice Reid, has  been honored with a prominent recognition for her impacting work: the Companion of the Order of Australia. Reid, vice-chancellor of the University of Western Sidney between 1998 and 2013, recently stepped down as vice-chair of the Talloires Network steering committee.

Each year, Australia’s Governor-General selects a number of distinguished members of society who have dedicated their life’s work to the betterment of the nation. Since 1975, more than 40,000 Australians have been recognized by the different levels of the Order of Australia. The four levels of the Order of Australia are Companion (AC), Officer (AO, Member (AM), and Medal (OAM). In the general division on 2015 list there are five ACs, 38 AOs, 156 AMs and 414 OAMs – for a total of 824 awards. Jenice Reid is one of the only five AC recipients – and the only female to receive this distinction – this year.

In an interview with the Sidney Morning Herald, Reid focused on the minority students that have inspired much of her efforts for a more inclusive higher education system in her country:

“It was such a joy to see first-generation Sudanese or Iraqi or Sri Lankan refugees graduating with bachelors of art or degrees in engineering and medicine,” said the current Member and newly appointed Companion of the Order of Australia. “You know that they had really understood the value of their degree and worked against the odds to get there.”

Awards are not the end goal of the work that higher education professionals do to ensure their universities are civilly engaged. But when governments notice that work, and communities speak up about its importance, the university world moves a little closer to true engagement across the board. Congratulations, and thank you, to Janice Reid for her wonderful contributions.