AILC had the pleasure of interviewing alumnus Jasmine Graham this week.  Jasmine was one of our first course participants back in the early 2000s and is now Deputy Director at the Kaiela Institute in Shepparton, Victoria.

AILC: Tell us about your job and the Kaiela Institute.

Jasmine: I pinch myself in this role.  I am so grateful I can use my leadership skills and cultural knowledge to help drive reform that will create systemic and sustainable positive outcomes for the Aboriginal community. 

Our approach at Kaiela Institute is to create an environment that will promote collaborative visioning and aspiration for a positive future for our community. I am passionate in my role and being able to work in partnerships with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations across four key areas - Aspiration, Enablement, Responsibility and Opportunity. Kaiela's services deliver in education, employment, health, social inclusion, cultural expression and cultural affirmation.

AILC: Can you tell us a little about yourself and where are you from?

Jasmine: I am from the far west coast of South Australia and have lived in Adelaide and Victoria most of my life. I am proud Wirangu, Kokatha and Bungarla woman currently living on Yorta Yorta country.

I love spending as much time as I can with my two children and husband taking our dog for walks or bike rides. Being close to the water is a way for me to find calm so I often will run or walk along a nice track near the river. Whenever I go back to SA I head straight to the ocean. I am in awe of our country and love my culture and often my imagination goes wild imagining the old people and the old ways. I strive to bring language to life especially with my children.  I also have a consulting business and find energy through assisting non-Aboriginal Australians with their cultural competency journey of learning and reflecting on their own cultural frameworks and understandings of the institutions that have influenced and defined their values and beliefs.  I want to try and help people shift their paradigms so that true inclusivity can become a reality. 

AILC: Where and when did you complete the AILC leadership course?

Jasmine: It was the first one ever held - in Adelaide, 2002 I think.  I was completely humbled by the experience being in the company of the likes of Uncle Mick Dodson and Kirstie Parker. I am still in touch with many of the other participants and am so proud of them and what they have achieved. 

AILC: What do think completing the course has done for you and your career?

Jasmine: I have met so many amazing Aboriginal people who have been involved with the course and who inspire me to challenge and trust myself. 

I was very young when I was accepted into the AILC course.  I gained many insights and learnt how to become more articulate. I also developed a much deeper sense of pride in my culture and have so much respect for our people who have gone before us during such challenging times and who did their best to carve the path that we are now walking on.  The work is far from over and we owe it to our predecessors to honour them by continuing the work that is needed to ensure we can be culturally strong and proud and achieve parity.

AILC: Would you recommend doing an AILC course to others?

Jasmine: Yes!  Some of the most amazing people are involved in the program’s development and delivery.  Undertaking the program could change your life, as it has mine.