It has always been said that death and education are life’s great levellers to social inequality.
Edmund Ignatius Rice was one such man who believed in the latter; education was vital to achieve a more just and fair community by empowering people with the tools to break the cycle of poverty.
He may have lived in the early 1800s but his philosophical legacy continues to this day through the efforts of the Edmund Rice Centre for Justice & Community Education, Christian Brothers and organisations such as the Edmund Rice Chair at Australian Catholic University (ACU).
The Edmund Rice Chair in Education, Social Justice and the Community operates from ACU’s Mount Saint Mary campus at Strathfield. Aside from providing leadership and guidance in education-based community projects, the Chair also grants research scholarships that addresses questions of educational justice and equity.
Emeritus Professor Daniel Stewart cfc OAM at ACU, who proposed the creation of the Chair to commemorate the work of the Christian Brothers, states their work prioritises a relationship with indigenous communities, refugees and asylum seekers, and people in the Pacific.
“A preferential option for providing education, health or social justice to the poor is not an optional extra, but fundamental to the life of the Church and a fully human society. They must get the main attention and support as they don’t have the resources of the majority,” he said.
Canterbury League Club has supported the Edmund Rice Chair by donating $5,000 annually for the past three years. In total, $15,000 has gone towards establishing the Chair to continue Rice’s work.
“Everyone should have a basic human right to education regardless of the socioeconomic condition they live in and Canterbury is proud to work with an organisation that champions that right,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.