One hundred and twelve inspired Australians will travel throughout the world in 2019 as recipients of the prestigious Churchill Fellowship, offering them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit other countries and investigate inspiring practices that will benefit Australian communities.
The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established in 1965 to honour the memory of Sir Winston Churchill, and fulfil his wish for people from all walks of life to travel the world to gain new knowledge and share ideas and insights.
Fellowships are awarded to everyday Australians who are passionate about challenging the status quo to create or make a positive impact on our society.
“Being recognised as a Churchill Fellow is a celebration of curiosity, they are ordinary Australians with extraordinary abilities and aspirations,” said CEO of the Churchill Trust, Mr Adam Davey.
“The Churchill Fellowship recognises new ideas. It is a celebration of expertise, innovation, expanding knowledge and creating new and better ways of addressing issues that matter in Australia right now.
“It is 53 years since the first Churchill Fellowships were awarded in honour of Sir Winston, however the projects that will be aided by his legacy are still, as he intended, firmly focussed on the future.
“While the award we offer may be steeped in history, we are proud that it still remains extraordinarily relevant.
“Churchill Fellows are up for a challenge, they are people who can foresee an opportunity, know how to address it and will use this experience to work with and learn from their international peers and some outstanding thought leaders.
“Each and every one of the 112 Churchill Fellows will return to Australia inspired with the practical knowledge and experience needed to advance their projects and embed new opportunities in Australia.”
This year 112 people are being awarded Fellowships worth over $3.1 million, funding travel for up to 8 weeks.
Churchill Fellowships have been awarded to 26 people from NSW, 21 from VIC, 19 from QLD, 14 from WA, 7 from the ACT, 9 from SA, 7 from TAS, 7 from the NT and 2 from Norfolk Island.
“We will be sending Fellows from across Australia around the world. Projects range from preventing extremism in Australia to understanding how best to reduce shark attacks on Aussie beaches,” said Davey.
“One project is looking into elder abuse in aged care and the community, and another is looking to improve gender equality in local councils.
“It has been very interesting to see the diversity of topics that have come through this year in the successful Fellowship applications, no two projects are the same.”
Churchill Fellowship applications open again on 1 February 2019.
Five decades ago, just four weeks after the death of Sir Winston Churchill on 28 February 1965, the “Churchill Memorial Sunday” doorknock appeal was held across Australia.
The doorknock was to raise funds for an unusual type of memorial to Sir Winston – something like Rhodes Scholarships, but more egalitarian, and available to all people and on a much wider basis.
The concept, endorsed by Churchill before he died, was Fellowships, bearing his name, for ordinary people – providing a unique opportunity to travel, learn, and bring knowledge back to their country.
Such was the admiration and respect that Australian fighting men and women of World War II held for Churchill, that this became the greatest one-day doorknock in Australian history.
Funds collected from everyday Australians together with donations from Government and Australian companies totalled the princely sum of 2,206,000 Pounds ($4,412,000).
That laid the foundation for an incredible opportunity – Fellowships offered annually and worth on average $27,000 each, available to Australians who want to make a difference.
The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established to administer not only the total funds raised by the 1965 Appeal, but also the Churchill Fellowship award scheme.
Since the inception of the Churchill Trust, more than 4,000 Australians have identified projects where overseas research allowed them to bring back vital networks and skills.