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Tom Calma to give ‘Close the Gap’ lecture

Dr Calma’s “Close the Gap” presentation will be held on Tuesday, April 8 at CDU Dr Calma’s “Close the Gap” presentation will be held on Tuesday, April 8 at CDU

Aboriginal elder and advocate for Indigenous rights and empowerment Dr Tom Calma AO will visit Charles Darwin University’s Northern Institute this week to deliver a public lecture and present the title of “Elder on Country” for the first time.

Dr Calma, who is also Chancellor of the University of Canberra, will discuss the origins of the Close the Gap Campaign and the journey that culminated in a record 1250 community-sponsored events to celebrate National Close the Gap Day in 2014.

“Health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will only be achieved if we address the social determinants of health, we empower people to understand their health challenges, we create opportunities to be healthy and we work in partnerships,” Dr Calma said. “Closing the gap is a generational challenge and we are just starting the journey.”

After his lecture Dr Calma will present the Northern Institute’s first ever “Elder on Country” title to Kathy Guthadjaka also known as Gotha, a senior elder from Gäwa, a small homeland community on Elcho Island in North-East Arnhem Land.

A part-time Senior Research Fellow at CDU’s Northern Institute, Ms Guthadjaka is passionate about not only preserving traditional knowledge, but also sharing this knowledge with the greater global community.

Dr Calma’s “Close the Gap” presentation will be held on Tuesday, April 8 from 11am to 12:30pm in the Mal Nairn Auditorium, CDU Casuarina campus. Entry to the lecture is free.

As the guest of the Northern Institute from April 7 to 9, Dr Calma also will launch the Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages on Monday April 7 from 5:00pm to 6:30pm at the Northern Territory Library, Parliament House.

Dr Calma, a Darwinian, is an Aboriginal elder from the Kungarakan tribal group and a member of the Iwaidja tribal group in the Top End.  He has been involved in Indigenous affairs at a local, community, state, national and international level and worked in the public sector for more than 40 years. Dr Calma was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from CDU in 2010.