NAIDOC WEEK 5-12 JULY 2020

Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney

2011
Scholar of the Year

Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney is a Nurungga man who grew up on Point Pearce Mission on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. Today he is one of the most influential Indigenous educationalists in Australia.

Even as a young apprentice diesel mechanic, Professor Rigney demonstrated outstanding commitment, winning both the state and national NAIDOC Apprentice of the Year awards in 1985.

Later qualifying as a teacher, he began working in secondary schools in 1989. He has a Masters of Education and a PhD, and is currently Dean of Aboriginal Education and Director of the Wilto Yerlo Centre at the University of Adelaide.

Professor Rigney’s international reputation spans Indigenous education, languages and knowledge transmission. He sits on several high-profile ministerial expert panels and has been a visiting research fellow at Cambridge University in the UK and the University of British Columbia in Canada. In 2009 he received an honorary United Nations award for his work on Indigenous education.