Whitireia and WelTec | Te Pūkenga host Australia’s Ambassador for Gender Equality

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Whitireia and WelTec | Te Pūkenga hosted Australia’s Ambassador for Gender Equality, Stephanie Copus Campbell at its Whitireia campus to meet with students and staff of the Bachelor of Nursing Pacific programme.

Ambassador Copus Campbell spoke about the benefits of incorporating cultural knowledge and practices into tertiary education: “Nursing is the backbone of the health sector. What you are doing is so important, particularly because of the essential skills you will bring home to your communities.”

Students from the Bachelor of Nursing Pacific programme shared with the Ambassador their aspirations for the future and what led them to train as nurses. This included helping their elders, following in the footsteps of family members and giving back to their communities.

Jean Mitaera, Chief Advisor, Centre for Pacific Health & Social Practice said: “As well as the Ambassador’s substantive role in advocating for gender equity, she has also chaired a health authority in Papua New Guinea and worked on aid programmes with Fiji and Tuvalu. For our Pacific nursing students to hear her views on how and why their gender and heritage should be valued was extremely interesting. We also welcomed the opportunity to share our experiences, aspirations, and strategies on being a woman of Pacific descent in the New Zealand health sector with the Ambassador.”

Ambassador Copus Campbell is visiting Aotearoa New Zealand to continue the conversation on how best to advance gender equality and the human rights of women and girls in the region, and globally. 

The Ambassador will engage in several initiatives in Wellington which support these causes. This includes visiting Te Whare Tiaki Wāhine Refuge and participating in discussions on workforce diversity. Ambassador Copus Campbell will also attend a performance of Prima Facie at Wellington’s Circa Theatre, followed by a panel discussion on the play’s themes of violence toward women, hosted by the Australian High Commission.

Further information on the Ambassador for Gender Equality

On 20 December 2022, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong, appointed Stephanie Copus Campbell as the Ambassador for Gender Equality. The Office of the Ambassador for Women and Girls was established by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and former Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis in September 2011.

The Ambassador for Gender Equality is a lead advocate for Australia’s work on gender equality and the human rights of women and girls. The Ambassador engages in international advocacy, public diplomacy, and outreach in support of Australian Government policies and Programs. Ambassador Copus Campbell has served as head of Australia’s bilateral aid programs with Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Tuvalu and head of Australia’s Pacific Regional programs. Ms Copus Campbell has worked in senior executive roles with CARE Australia and the Oil Search Foundation.

From 2018-2023, Ambassador Copus Campbell was the Chair of the Southern Highlands Provincial Health Authority Board (the third largest province in PNG). She is also the founding Director on the Femili PNG Board (providing services to survivors of family and sexual violence) and actively involved in a not for profit, social impact coffee business that supports female coffee growers in PNG with all profits funding domestic violence services in PNG.

Ambassador Copus Campbell holds a Master of Philosophy from Cambridge University in international relations and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California in political science, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.

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