News: Mutual relationships

In recent editions of Palms Post, we have featured our partnership with Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Thai/Burma border project. Since 2009, Palms’ volunteers Frank Morgan and Dr Rosaleen Smyth have tutored Burmese refugees studying for their Diploma of Liberal Studies degree from ACU.

There have been some outstanding results, with numerous graduates accessing further education opportunities or taking leadership roles in non-government organisations and community based organisations. You can read more about this program in Rosaleen’s article in our May 2013 Palms Post.

On page 18-19, you can also read about how Palms and ACU have worked together in Timor-Leste. This is the usual relationship between Palms and Australian partners – they call upon us to assist provide volunteers to projects in which they are involved.

Palms has always sought stronger, more challenging relationships though, and we are proud to announce two exciting new collaborations with ACU.

Palms Cross-Cultural

When ACU first entertained the idea of a Bachelor in International Development Studies degree, they called upon Palms Australia, Caritas Australia and other organisations to provide advice on course content, career pathways and internship opportunities.

When it was decided that each student would participate in a cross-cultural immersion, Palms was the obvious choice to provide pre-departure preparation to maximise the students’ learning from the experience.

This semester, Palms’ staff will be facilitating a tailored version of our Orientation Course for ACU students, as the Preparation for Immersion Experience unit.Students from ACU’s Strathfield and Melbourne campuses will benefit from Palms’ expert preparation, developed over 52 years of cross-cultural volunteering.

Palms Encounters

Encounter participants
Once the students have completed their preparation unit, they will undertake an immersion of their choice to a developing country to observe local community development projects.
Again, ACU recognised Palms’ experience in these matters and contracted us to run a customised four-week Encounter in Timor-Leste in 2014.

While four weeks is too brief to chip in and “make a difference”, these future development workers will benefit from exposure to communities and Palms volunteers working together on agriculture, education, health, disability, environmental management and youth projects, among others.

Whether they eventually work for development in the field or in an Australian office, their Palms Encounter will be an outstanding introduction to the various ways Australians can engage in international development.

Solidarity Awards

ACU’s Duncan MacLaren will speak at our Solidarity Awards on October 5th. Please reserve your tickets here.


You too can Partner with Palms

Would your workplace or community group be interested in

  • undertaking a Palms Encounter,
  • utilising some Palms Cross-Cultural training,
  • supporting a Palms volunteer placement,
  • switching to our Fair Trade Coffee in your office, or
  • partnering in some other way?

Please contact Sean Dostal at sean@palms.org.au to explore the possibilities.

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True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice. - Martin Luther King Jr