Pacific Circle Consortium 2019 Neil Baumgart Lecturer
The 2019 Pacific Circle Consortium Conference Memorial Lecture in memory of Emeritus Professor Neil Baumgart will be made by Mr. Julian Aguon.
Julian Aguon is a human rights lawyer breaking new ground at the intersection of international indigenous rights and environmental law. A native son of Guam, Julian founded his own law firm at the age of 28 to advocate for the myriad peoples of the Pacific region. His firm, Blue Ocean Law, works across multiple jurisdictions and develops innovative legal strategies to advance the self-determination struggles of native and non-self-governing peoples. Barred in Guam, Palau, and the Marshall Islands, Julian has provided counsel for governments, regional bodies, and civil society organizations. His projects have included working with the Marshall Islands to seek redress for the harms of nuclear testing, fighting to protect the land rights of the indigenous peoples of the Northern Mariana Islands, and providing lawmakers from small island states with legal and regulatory tools to better protect their natural resources.
Currently, Julian is working with the Pacific Network on Globalisation to ensure protection of indigenous rights as the emergent deep sea mining industry lays claims throughout Melanesia – in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Vanuatu. In Guam, Julian serves as legal counsel to the Legislature and was appointed Special Assistant Attorney General to defend the decolonization process, specifically the right of the native inhabitants of Guam to freely choose their political status. Julian was named a “human rights hero” by the Petra Foundation for his work advancing the rights of his own and other Pacific peoples. Julian also lectures at the University of Guam and the William S. Richardson School of Law, where he teaches International Law and Pacific Island Legal Systems. He has published numerous books and law articles on a range of international law and human rights issues. Julian’s most recent article, published in the Harvard Environmental Law Review, identifies the potential social and environmental impacts of deep sea mining and advocates for a comprehensive and rights-protective regulatory regime.
Neil Baumgart Lecture Award Background
Neil Baumgart played a formative leadership role at University of Western Sydney (UWS) as the Foundation Professor of Education at UWS, Nepean, during which time he also served as the Dean of the Faculty of Education and ActingDeputy Vice-President of UWS Nepean.
Emeritus Professor Neil Baumgart was an internationally renowned expert in assessment and evaluation who had a deep and unerring belief in the capacity of education to improve people’s lives and worlds. He practiced this commitment throughout his academic life and after he retired from UWS (1998), during which time he spent 10 years working as an advisor and consultant for the World Bank, AUSAid and other international organizations helping to build the education systems of developing countries in Asia and the Pacific.
Professor Baumgart was deeply committed to nurturing the scholarship and research capacity of others, particularly post-graduate students. As a beginning academic at Macquarie University, he worked with Colombo Plan students and UWSbuilt a strong cadre of international doctoral students, the majority of whom went on to take up senior roles in education in their own countries.
Professor Baumgart believed in learning by doing and, as Foundation Professor of Education, he made a point of establishing research projects to give research training to his colleagues. He provided many of the professors in universities and research institutes around Australia today with their induction into educational research, tackling this task with intense intellectual discipline and rigor, boundless energy for work, and a teacher’s patience for those willing to learn.
Professor Baumgart was an innovator. Some of the initiatives resulting from his leadership included the establishment of the Faculty’s first international program (BEd, Maldives) and the UWS EdD, a program that has been acclaimed as exemplifying a new generation of professional doctorates. Neil encouraged UWS involvement with the Pacific Circle Consortium (PCC) and the NSW Institute of Education, and staff from the School of Education have continued this affiliation and work. Professor Baumgart was to serve a term as Chair of the Pacific Circle Consortium, another as editor of the Pacific-Asian Education journal and he received the PCC’s Peter Brice Award in 2002 for his work in intercultural understanding.
Emeritus Professor Neil Baumgart passed away on 30 June 2009, after an illness of several months. His enthusiasm, commitment and disciplined scholarship touched all who knew and worked with him. He will be sorely missed and fondly remembered.In memory of Emeritus Professor Neil Baumgart, the Pacific Circle Consortium has established a memorial lecture to be presented at its annual conference.