On 21 March at Parliament House, Canberra, the Prime Minister Ms Julia Gillard officially launched the Zelman Cowen John Monash Perpetual Scholarships, with a major contribution to the John Monash Foundation. The first two Scholarship winners – to perpetuate the memory and vision of two great Australians – will be awarded later this year.
The event was attended by 80 leaders of politics, business, and academia. The Cowen family was well represented, as were John Monash Scholars, members from both sides of politics, and friends of the Foundation. Scotch College, of which both John Monash and Zelman Cowen were Dux, was represented by their principal, Mr Tom Batty.
Ms Gillard in her speech praised the contribution of Sir Zelman to Australia through his legal leadership and his term as Governor-General, and stated her Government’s intent to recognize his efforts through a perpetual, living legacy: outstanding Australian leaders. Ms Gillard highlighted the “transformative power of education” in Sir Zelman’s career. She then presented the Cowen family with a glass trophy to commemorate the launch of the Scholarships. To view the Prime Minister’s Media Release click here.
Lady Cowen, representing the family, thanked the Prime Minister for her gesture, describing this as “a wonderful day for her family. Zelman would be honoured and delighted at the tributes made”. Noting the presence of Scotch College Principal Mr Tom Batty, Lady Cowen said it was also “a proud day for Scotch College”. She further commented on the similarities between Sir John Monash and her late husband: “both men loved their country and loved serving it”.
The Chairman of the General Sir John Monash Foundation, Jillian Segal, followed the Prime Minister and spoke of the contribution John Monash Scholars are making to Australia. 72 have been elected since 2004, and 24 are already back in roles in business, government, and academia. The launch of the Zelman Cowen John Monash Scholarships provides significant impetus to the Foundation, whose Scholarships are recognized as the leading Australian accolade for emerging leaders.
2008 John Monash Scholar David Hume, a constitutional lawyer already prominent for his book People Power with Professor George Williams, then spoke of the parallels between John Monash and Zelman Cowen, and their joint vision for Australian leadership. To view David’s speech in full click here.
Two of the John Monash Scholarships for 2013 – and each year after – will be designated Zelman Cowen John Monash Scholars. They will be selected through a rigorous three-stage process from over 200 applications across Australia, and will be announced in November 2012. Recipients will be funded for A$50,000 per year for up to three years’ postgraduate study at a leading overseas university.