Charles Darwin University
enews home

Global conference wrestles with reconciliation

By Katie Weiss

Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Law, Education, Business and Arts Professor Giselle Byrnes speaks on reconciliation Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Law, Education, Business and Arts Professor Giselle Byrnes speaks on reconciliation

The importance of political reconciliation in Australia and New Zealand between governments and Indigenous people has been discussed by a distinguished Charles Darwin University historian at an international conference.

Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Law, Education, Business and Arts Professor Giselle Byrnes made the presentation at the Conference on Political Reconciliation in Comparative Perspective.

Professor Byrnes presented her paper, “Wrestling with the past: reconciliation, apology and settling history in Australia and New Zealand”, at the conference, which was held recently at Hong Kong Baptist University.

“The paper considered a range of public gestures of apology and reconciliation at the level of the nation-state,” Professor Byrnes said.

“In particular, the process of saying ‘sorry’ to Indigenous people in Australia, and the modern Treaty of Waitangi claims process in New Zealand.”

Professor Byrnes said public awareness about political reconciliation was growing on an international scale, as was the academic discipline of reconciliation studies.

The conference was held as a platform for academic exchange and regional dialogue. Academics from Europe, North America, Africa, Oceania and East Asia presented at the two-day event.