CDU and Mawul Rom launch pioneering Masters program 


Higher education opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have taken a major step forward with Charles Darwin University launching Australia’s first Master course in mediation and negotiation.

The Dhurili Clan Nation, Yolngu leaders from Galiwin’ku in the Northern Territory have been working in partnership with the CDU to accredit the Mawul Rom Program as a qualification that recognises the knowledge and skills gained from the knowledge traditions of two cultures.

Mawul Rom is the law of peace-making and is offered by the Dhurili Clan Nation as a legitimate point of entry into ceremonial life and law of the system of Madayin Law.

Now accredited as a Masters course at Charles Darwin University’s newly formed Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education, the program explores and encourages participation in learning about contemporary peace-making, mediation and negotiation in cross cultural contexts.

The new course is a symbol of two knowledge traditions working side by side, respecting each other and providing a model of how mediation and negotiation should work in a cross cultural context.

CDU Pro-Vice Chancellor Indigenous Leadership, Professor Steven Larkin said the new masters offering marked giant leap forward for knowledge and skills in mediation and negotiation in cross cultural contexts.

“This is probably one of the first, if not the first time, that Indigenous ceremonial law has been acknowledged as part of a qualification within the western academy,” Professor Larkin said.

“This is an important signal to the rest of the world about the process of reconciliation in Australia and an acknowledgement of the crucial value of Yolngu and all Indigenous Knowledges in and of themselves as well as within the academy.”

The course is the culmination of seven years of negotiation between the Mawul Rom Association and the university, to plan for and develop, the course in a way that respects the knowledge, skills and traditions that both institutions bring to the program.

Co-Chair of the Mawul Rom Association and barrister, Pat McIntyre said he was confident that the masters program was the start of a long and fruitful relationship between Mawul Rom and CDU.

“We’ve been working on this for many years now and Yolngu people are more than excited about the possibilities that this dual recognition of knowledge affords,” he said.

The program is a full-fee paying course that requires student attendance at an initial workshop at Dhudupu, in Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island for one week from the 10 – 17 July 2011. Completion of the course requires ongoing participation and attendance at workshops across the four years.

More information can be accessed by contacting the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education on (08) 8946 6482 or by email on