Vincent Fairfax Fellowship History
The Vincent Fairfax Fellowship leadership program was offered by the Ethics Centre for 15 years. It is now provided by the University of Melbourne.
A history of the Fellowship with the Ethics Centre
The Vincent Fairfax Fellowship program is designed to increase the capacity of each Vincent Fairfax Fellow to exercise and support ethical leadership in their fields of influence and thereby create a better world.
Most recent Fellows
Read about the most recent group of Vincent Fairfax Fellows.
What we look for in applicants
Up to fifteen Fellowships are granted each year. Successful applicants can come from any background, any occupation, any level and are usually aged between their late twenties and late thirties. They will demonstrate the potential to grow as mature leaders and will:
- possess and exhibit moral courage
- have a capacity for ethical reflection
- recognise the inherent dignity of every person
- see leadership as an opportunity to serve
- appreciate the richness and diversity of Australian society and the societies of our region
We look for applicants who are already well rounded individuals, with some feel for the balance of material and non-material dimensions of human life and whose growth in leadership would benefit significantly by taking part in the Fellowship program.
In the short term we aim to:
- select participants who have the potential to grow substantially as leaders within their fields and who will exercise that leadership with a view towards the good of all within our society
- develop the participants' understanding of domestic Australian issues and the ethical questions involved
- develop the participants' leadership skills and awareness of the ethical challenges of leadership
- expose the participants to some of the ethical issues which arise for Australians dealing with the distinctive cultures of our region
- provide the participants with a reference set of experiences which will enable them to make contact with a wide range of people within Australia and the region as well as to develop and strengthen those contacts in their roles as leaders
- develop the participants' practical capacity for ethical reflection using all these experiences and contacts as the source material.
In the long term we aim to:
- contribute to the development of a core group of Australian leaders who are committed to factoring the ethical dimension into their decision-making processes
- improve the overall quality of Australian leadership
- foster contact and understanding between Australian and regional leaders, which will encourage and support ethical leadership throughout the region.
It starts with experience - often vivid, sometimes unsettling - always instructive. Each experience is matched by an equally challenging process of reflection in which new ways of thinking are harnessed to develop leaders with the capacity and moral courage to break the shackles of unthinking custom and practice.
Just as there is no one approach to good leadership, so there is no one learning outcome; for each Fellow comes with their own particular strengths, approach and leadership setting. The reflection woven into the Fellowship ensures that each Fellow can learn from all these experiences, successes and failures alike.
The Fellowship itself is an enterprise - made up not just of the Vincent Fairfax Fellows, but of all those who engage in some way to support the above objective. From referees and selectors before the program starts through to those who join in celebration at the graduation, all are involved to support each Fellow’s growth and development.
The nature of good leadership
Good leaders have a presence, which attracts others to follow and participate in a common cause. This is not merely ‘charisma’ but an infectious goal to help bring about positive things for the good of their community and country.
To achieve this leaders need energy, drive, commonsense, wit and courage. They are motivated by a sense of duty and responsibility. Through their humour, integrity, capacity for hard work, self-restraint, openness, humility and sense of direction they generate enthusiasm.
Good leaders are clear-minded and decisive. They are at ease with themselves and others, displaying confidence without the need for self-aggrandisement. They foster a team environment, which brings out the best in others, generates action and inspires a shared sense of confidence.
To be a good leader also requires a capacity for ethical reflection. This reflection does not mean entry into a world of esoteric theory. The ethics of leadership is a practical wisdom; it is about answering well a very old and persistent question, “What ought one to do?”. This wisdom has roots both in a perception of human life which extends beyond the material, and in the formation of an inner character.
If a leader is to be truly responsible in making choices, many of which can present difficult dilemmas, then it is necessary to draw on such an inner orientation in weighing the issues that arise when determining a good course of action.
Read articles about the Fellowship
We have two key articles to help you learn more about the Vincent Fairfax Fellowship, both of which were originally published in our newsletter, Living Ethics:
Booklet about the Fellowship
Have you ever wondered what the Fellows say about their experiences and what they learned on the program? The 12th group of the Vincent Fairfax Fellowship wrote a booklet about this and distributed it at their graduation on 21 July 2007. You can download a copy of this booklet (PDF - 3.4mb).