Sue Blundell, who helmed the organisation for 13 years, was awarded the Order of Australia in this year’s Australia Day honours for her outstanding contribution to English Australia and the country’s international education sector.
The Governor General Peter Cosgrove announced the award commending Blundell “For significant service to education, particularly to the teaching of languages, and to professional learning and tourism bodies.”
She was instrumental in guiding English Australia to be a widely respected and influential national peak body
Her services include being executive director of English Australia from 2002-2015, general manager of the International Education at the Australian Centre for Languages from 1991-2002 and member of the Ministerial Coordinating Council for International Education in 2015.
She was also convenor of the Global Alliance of Education and Language Associations (GAELA) from 2008- 2011 and board member of the Association of Language Travel Organisations from 2011-2012.
Blundell also served on The PIE New‘s advisory board for four years. Speaking with The PIE News, she said she was thrilled and honoured by the award.
“Reading the list of other people who were honoured as well it is truly humbling be among the diverse range of people who have made such an amazing contribution to our society, many of them immigrants like myself!,” she said. “I have always tried to make a difference through my contribution, and maybe that is enough.”
“Sue’s passion for English Australia, the ELICOS sector and international education more broadly was known by everyone she interacted with and this award publicly honours her dedicated service,” commented Brett Blacker, Blundell’s successor as executive director at English Australia. “This is a wonderful honour to a very deserving recipient.”
Blacker replaced Blundell when she retired in 2015.
Commenting on Blundell’s contribution to English Australia, chair Marc Weedon-Newstead said she was instrumental in guiding the evolution of English Australia from a professional association representing English language teaching to a widely respected and influential national peak body.
“Her passion for statistics and market data greatly contributed to a wider understanding of the fundamental role the ELICOS sector plays in Australia’s international education industry,” he added.
He also commended her role in developing the first-ever National Strategy for International Education and in the industry’s successful recovery from the 2009 to 2013 global downturn.
“This award fittingly confirms Sue’s leadership role in Australia’s international education sector,” he said.
Established in 1975, the Order of Australia is the principal and most prestigious means of recognising outstanding members of the community at a national level.