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Wrap Up – ARLF Gala Dinner 2019

28 October 2019

The Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) Gala Dinner was a huge success for 2019. Over 220 people, including sponsors, Alumni, Board members, politicians and friends of the Foundation gathered at the National Arboretum for a wonderful night celebrating leadership across rural and regional Australia.

The theme of this year’s Gala was ‘People are the Difference’, echoing the amazing achievements of our Alumni and our commitment to investing in people and their passion for regional Australia. We captured our Alumni stories of change, success and impact with a display of mock magazine covers featuring each Alumni as a ‘Regional Leader’.

Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour the ARLF Board can bestow on an individual who has given their leadership service to rural and regional Australia. Rob Hadler, former ARLF Board Director (amongst many roles) received an Honorary Fellowship for his contribution to something beyond his own interest or that of his employer.

Pip Courtney, the host of ABC Landline, emceed the event with passion and charm.  Pip’s commitment to telling the real, raw and inspiring stories of regional people across Australia for many years, made her role as emcee a genuine pleasure for people at the event.  

Deng Adut delivered a moving and encapsulating speech as the 2019 keynote speaker. Reflecting on his challenge-fraught journey from Sudan to Australia, Deng encouraged guests to value our Australian life and that we each have a role to give back.   A vital facet of leadership is to be open to a diversity of views, perspectives and experiences, and Deng demonstrated how great leadership, happiness and the willingness to help others can emerge from great adversity.

As a welcomed addition to the night, the inaugural Alumni Scholarship recipient Yola Bakker recited an insightful poem about her experience on the Australian Rural Leadership Program, her newfound connections and her reignited passion for helping others.

Read Yola’s poem here

A short fundraising appeal was held on the night for the next Alumni Scholarship. There was a great deal of generosity shown by guests with nearly $5000 collected.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to making our Gala Dinner a wonderful event. We look forward to doing it all again next year! See all the covers here