Top diplomat returns to Nagle

Harinda Sidhu with Nagle College students
Harinda Sidhu with Nagle College students

How far do you want to go in life? This was the question Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Harinda Sidhu, asked the students at her old school Nagle College.

Ms Sidhu was a source of inspiration to the girls to urged them to “spread their wings”, not limit themselves, and follow their dreams.

Her inspirational speech in which she talked about her rise from a Blacktown high school student to representing her nation in a country or 1 billion people, was timely considering it coincided with International Day of the Girl. 

“There still is a glass ceiling for women in today’s society, however we can impose a glass ceiling on ourselves so we must believe we can do what we want,” she said.

“My mother said it was too hard to get this job (at the Department of Foreign Affairs). There were 3000 people applying for a job at the  and they only selected 28. 

“But I did not let that bother me, and I am proof that this can happen.”

Ms Sidhu attended Nagle in the 1970s and after finishing a law degree joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade worked her way up to the top of ranks.

In her address to the students, Ms Sidhu encouraged the girls to study hard and not put a limit on themselves.

She looked across the audience and commented on the multicultural makeup of Nagle’s student body relating it to her own personal journey.

“It was very challenging to be a brown women from Blacktown. I was told ‘you don’t look Australian’ but I am Australian as they come,” she said. 

“I am the new face of Australia and there is enormous strength in drawing from all our cultures and presenting that to the world.” 

Ms Sidhu reflected on her time at Nagle and said the most important element was the values she learnt and the importance of spiritual value in your life and I have that today.

 “I am Sikh family however my parents were adamant that I participate in all the religious activities at school and not be “just an observer”.

“But it was really the values, a sense of service back to the community and that has driven me to this day.

“I studied law and I saw this was a way of giving back to society. I’ve become a public servant and I have taken seriously how I can serve the community and I think a lot of that comes down to that value set that Nagle really instilled in me.”

Before her appointment she was serving as First Assistant Secretary of the Multilateral Policy Division and had previously served overseas in Moscow and Damascus.
Ms Sidhu said India was a dynamic country and she was honoured to be serving for her country.

“India is one of the most exciting places for a diplomat to be at the moment. India’s economic prospects are bright and it is becoming a more influential and active international player,” she said.

“The Australia-India relationship has grown substantially over the past few years and I will dedicate myself to building that relationship further.” 
Posted By CathEd Parra at 11/10/2017 12:52:56 PM

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