Winston Churchill Fellowship News No 1

                               Matthew Wills has been awarded the 2009 Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Foundation Churchill
Fellowship.

Why were you chosen and what does the award entitle you to? The Fellowship will enable me to travel overseas to the US to
visit people and organisations involved in promoting and enriching the teaching of Philosophy and Ethics. I am particularly interested in
the US regional and national “Ethics Bowls�. An Ethics Bowl is a US college based competition which is similar to a
competition we have initiated at our school called a “Philosothon�. Interest in our Philosothon has grown phenomenally in
Australia over a very short time with over 20 WA Schools now involved annually and recently other Australian states have picked up
on this model. Ascham College in Sydney, in conjunction with Sydney University, recently ran a very successful NSW Philosothon
and other Australian states are intending to do likewise. My fellowship will help to development a national Philosophy and Ethics
competition. It should also provide a wealth of opportunities to strengthen what we are doing not only with the running of the
Philosothon but in the new Philosophy and Ethics course here in WA.We have a website set up if you would like to know more
about the Philosothon at; www.philosothon.org

What is a Winston Churchill Fellowship and how are the Fellowships awarded? The aim of the Trust is to provide an
opportunity for Australians to travel overseas to conduct research in their chosen field that is not readily available in Australia. It also
aims to reward proven achievement of talented and deserving Australians with further opportunity in their pursuit of excellence for the
enrichment of Australian society.Applicants are short listed from their written applications. Then they have to front up to a panel and
answer questions about their fellowship application. If shortlisted names are submitted to a national selection panel in Canberra where
each applicants fellowship is scrutinised by the National Churchill Fellowship Committee. Awardees are notified about 6 months after
their application is submitted, usually in late June. It was a long process but frankly job interviews are far more arduous.

I understand you’ll be going to the US to explore ways of improving Philosophy and Ethics in Australian schools.
Why did you choose this?
I see a void in the areas of critical thinking, logic, philosophy and ethics in the education of most young
people. All schools are encouraged to teach ’Values Education’ but if you look at the fine print there is little to encourage
independent thought, critical thinking and reflection. Students can go through Primary and Secondary education without the most
basic understanding of how to put a cogent argument together or how to critique another person’s argument. I know the
fellowship will go a long way towards developing my own skills in the area and the contacts I make will be vital but I hope this
Fellowship also draws attention to this void and stimulates others to think about ways of promoting Philosophy and Ethics in schools.

What else do you hope to learn and how will it affect your work in WA? I want to find out more about the Ethics Bowls in the
US I want to gather resources and ideas in the area of Philosophy and Ethics. I will also have the opportunity to share with others our
experience here in Australia, particularly with regards to the Philosothon and perhaps in time there might be a way of involving
ourselves in an international competition.

What did it feel like when you were told you’d won the fellowship and would you encourage others to enter, too? If felt
wonderful and yes I would encourage others to apply  It is not only for teachers but people who have a vision for some aspect of
Australian life. While I was initially elated I realised very early on that this would be an immense amount of work to set up this
fellowship and difficult to co-ordinate as the academic years differ across counties and I am confined to do this in my holidays. I teach
Year 11 and 12 Philosophy and Ethics and it is therefore impossible to take time out of the school term.

When and where exactly will you be going?
San Francisco –California –California Ethics Bowl California State University
Tampa – Florida - Meeting with the director of Pre College Ethics Bowls in Florida and visiting various colleges and schools.
Boston – Massachusetts- Visiting Mt Holyoke Colleges and various other schools and colleges.
Bloomington – Indiana –Meeting with the Director of the Poynter Center for Ethics and visiting colleges and schools.
Philadelphia - Pennsylvania – Visiting the Centre for Ethics and Various Colleges and schools
New York - New Jersey Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Society and visiting the Squire Family Foundation.
Syracuse -New York State- Visiting Colleges and Schools
Los Angeles – California – Meeting with the National Director of the US Ethics Bowls and visiting various schools
Honolulu – Hawaii International Conference on Education and various Colleges and Schools.

Click here for the Philosothon website

Click here for the Winston Churchill Trust Website
     Winston Churchill Fellowship News No 2

On Thursday 20th August the 2009 Winston Churchill Fellows gathered at Government House to be presented with their Churchill
Fellowships by the Governor his Excellency, Dr Kenneth Michael AC. The assembly including family and friends were reminded of the
aim of the Churchill Trust. These Fellowships give opportunities, through financial support, to Australians from all walks of life who, having
exhausted opportunities within Australia, and who desire to further their search for excellence overseas. There are no prescribed
qualifications, academic or otherwise, for the award of most Churchill Fellowships. Merit is the primary test, whether based on past
achievements or demonstrated ability for future achievement in any walk of life. A major determinant is to what extent all Australians will
benefit through that Fellow bringing home knowledge, new skills or experience in their particular field. All thirteen West Australian
recipients were then presented to His Excellency and awarded their certificates and badges. After pre dinner drinks at Government House
the guests then met with past winners, family and friends at a  formal function in East Perth. One hundred and seventy guests gathered for
the Annual Churchill Fellows Annual Dinner and to be introduced to the 2009 recipients. Each recipient had to give a short three minute
speech about their fellowship and the projects were broad and interesting. For example Dr Julie Mc Morrow is travelling to the US to
develop pharmacist roles in blood conversation. Miss Ellen Hickman is travelling to Guyana, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba and the UK to
research to Haemodoraceae plant family of the Americas,  and Mr Gordon Fairman is going to Mexico, USA and Canada to examine
child sexual abuse intervention strategies in remote Indigenous communities.

The following speech was delivered by Mr Wills. "I will start with a brief background to my fellowship. The Hale School Philosothon has
been a wonderful success to date. We started three years ago with seven schools. Each school sent a team of five students and we mixed
them up into groups of 8-10. We called the event a Philosothon. Over 2 hours on the evening they discuss topics such as;
• Is there life after death?
• Can a Robot be Conscious?
• Why are human beings easily deceived?
• Given that roughly 50% of the population is female should our political institutions be required to have 50% female representation?

From the initial seven schools involved in 2007 we now 25 schools are involved this year. Also since I ran a series of seminars interstate
last year the idea of a Philosothon has caught on in other states - Ascham College and Sydney University are running a Philosothon later
this year and other schools are running Philosothons in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane.

My Winston Churchill Fellowship will enable me to visit the only equivalent national ethics and philosophy competition which I have come
across. The competition is called an ‘Ethics Bowls’ and these are run throughout the US and culminate in a national final held each
year in a different state. Therefore I will visit colleges and schools in the US which participate and run Ethics Bowls and where Philosophy
and Ethics is being taught in order to develop networks and gather resources and ideas for our own competition and for teaching
Philosophy and Ethics in secondary schools in Australia. I would like to thank the Vincent Fairfax trust for making the finds available for
this Fellowship, the selection panel for choosing me, Nevill Marchant from the panel for his support and guidance, my wife, Kathryn and
two sons Lachlan and Alexander who are with me this evening. Thankyou"

Click here for the Philosothon website                                        Click here for the Winston Churchill Trust Website
     Winston Churchill Fellowship News No 3

In this newsletter there is a focus on the projects that other 2009 WA recipients of Winston Churchill Fellowhips are involved in. For
those interested in Mr Wills fellowship you will need to look at Newsletters 1 & 2 below.  Here are some of the other fascinating
projects which were recently awarded to people in WA..

Ms Tiffane BATES is travelling to New Zealand, USA, France, Germany to study the breeding of bees that are resistant to the
parasitic mite Varroa.

Mrs June COUNCILLOR was awarded The WA Department for Child Protection Churchill Fellowship to travel to Canada and the
USA to study prenatal alcohol exposure and the impact on parenting especially in Aboriginal communities.

Mr Stuart CUMMING is travelling to the  U.K. to visit schools identified as being examples of excellence in Learning Outside the
Classroom -

Detective Senior Sergeant Gordon FAIRMAN is traveling to Mexico, USA, Canada to examine child sexual abuse intervention
strategies in remote Indigenous communities.

Mr Chris HALL is travelling to the USA and the U.K. to study the role of mergers, alliances and related strategies in enhancing the
future effectiveness and sustainability of not for profit organisations

Miss Ellen HICKMAN was awarded the Geoffrey Allen Churchill Fellowship to travel to Guyana, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, U.K. to
research the Haemodoraceae plant family of the Americas in order to illustrate a definitive text.

A/Director Katalin KRASZLAN is travelling to USA, Israel to study the development, provision and evaluation of re-entry services
for prisoners.

Ms Helen McMAHON is travelling to Canada to study the use of and support for Indigenous kinship networks to provide safety for
children at risk of harm.

Dr Julie McMORROW is travelling to  USA to develop pharmacist roles in blood conservation through the study of multidisciplinary
patient blood management programs.

Dr Simon NAGEON DE LESTANG is travelling to USA, Mexico & Cuba to investigate key issues faced by highly exploited
crustacean fisheries in relation to climate change.

Ms Annette THOMPSON is travelling to USA, Canada o collaborate with trainers and writers of software resources for vision
impaired people.

Miss Rebecca WHITE was awarded the Mr and Mrs Gerald Frank New Churchill Fellowship to travel to the USA undertake
intensive tuition with Professor Oleh Krysa at the Eastman School in Rochester.

Click here for the Philosothon Website                                       Click here for the Winston Churchill Website
RECENT MEDIA REPORTS
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     Winston Churchill Fellowship News No 4
September 2009

A couple of weeks ago the Asham College Philosothon was held in Sydney. This event is significant for this Winston Churchill Fellowsihp
because the fellowship has been established to promote Philosothons in each Australian State. This Philosothon was the first of a.number to
be replicated in other Australian States and the success of the event was vital to the potential growth of a national identity. The following
report was written by Mr Michael Parker the Head of Senior School at Cranbrook in Sydney
Philosothon
I was lucky enough last Thursday night to attend a ‘competition’ unlike anything else I have ever seen: a Philosothon. It sounds
bizarre. It is a competition in which people from different schools sit around in circles and discuss the meaning of life. However, it worked
incredibly well.

The idea started in Perth (at Stuart Meade’s school, actually) and Ascham led the way in inaugurating a competition in Sydney. And so
at 5.30pm last Thursday fourteen different schools brought four students each to the foyer of the Packer Theatre at Ascham. Cranbrook
was represented by James Deacon, Luca Moretti, Paul Boukatos and Frederik Nielssen. Each student had already read material on four
topics:

• Can a robot be conscious?
• How can an all powerful God allow human suffering?
• Is there a right to be rescued?
• Why are Humans so easily deceived?

The students were broken up into groups of about half a dozen. Each group sat around in a circle in a different classroom. No group had
more than one student from each school, which meant each of the Cranbrook contestants had to speak about the weighty issues of life with
a set of complete strangers. Each group had a PhD Philosophy candidate contestants discussed whether programming speech abilities and â
€˜learning’ into a computer could ‘switch on’ consciousness. They wondered whether silicon consciousness would be the same
thing as carbon-based consciousness. They thrashed out whether a computer thinking it was conscious could be the same thing as actually
being conscious. Our contestant, Paul Boukatos in Year 9, pushed the idea of humans having an intangible something that bound together
all of our ideas and brain chemistry, and that something disappeared at the moment of death. This quality he stated couldn’t be
replicated in a robot. It was this intangible quality that meant you couldn’t reboot a person an hour later in the way you could a
computer, even if the person’s chemistry was still intact. The other three conversations were every bit as profound. In the group that
discussed; ‘How can an all powerful God allow human suffering?’, the roles of free will and the testing of faith were explored by
some, and the existence of a benevolent God was doubted by others.

The ‘prize’ for the students was just being in the discussions ... Contestants discussing ‘Is there a right to be rescued?’
pondered whether some lives were worth more than other lives and contemplated the intrusiveness of a society that would expect people
to risk themselves to save others. Contestants discussing ‘Why are people so easily deceived?’ began by asking how they knew that
what they saw as green was also seen as green by others. They quickly got into wondering whether the world existed at all and whether we
were all being tricked by a giant Matrix style virtual reality machine. And all the time the Philosophy Professors scribbled notes down
furiously. In terms of constructing arguments and thinking on your feet it was a little like debating. However, the Philosothon was much
more intellectually ‘honest’. Instead of taking a side and then defending it using any argument fair or foul, the Philosothon expected
you to work with all of the others in the group. It was okay to change your mind. It was fine to listen and build on others’ arguments.
Everyone was working together to come up with the most intellectually sustainable understanding that they could. Another extraordinary
thing was that although the Philosothon was a competition it hardly felt competitive at all. Students almost forgot that they were being
judged against each other. The ‘prize’ for the students was just being in the discussions and being able to thrash out these things. A
medal for winning was just the icing on the cake. Everybody walked our feeling like the proverbial winner.

Luca Moretti felt like a proverbial winner and also got to feel like a medal winner. He won the award for Best Philosophical Thinker in
Year 11, even though he was in Year 10. I heard one of his group’s discussions and he was a powerhouse of rational, persuasive,
original thought. However, all of our boys did really well. Indeed, all of the contestants from fourteen schools did really well.


Quite simply, the night was a triumph.

Mr Michael Parker BA LLB MEd DipEd(Sec)(Syd)
Head of Senior School
Cranbrook School

Click here for the Philosothon Website                                       Click here for the Winston Churchill Website
     Winston Churchill Fellowship News No 5
                                    October 2009

The 2009 Hale School Philosothon was a wonderful evening.  Sixteen WA schools entered the Philosothon this year and sent their best
and brightest students to participate in this now annual event. The evening commenced with a warm welcome from the Deputy
Headmaster, Mr David Bean. Following a light supper in the foyer the students then gathered in eight separate rooms to discuss the
topics they had been preparing for, in some cases since the beginning of the year.

Topics included;
1. Given that roughly 50% of the population is female should our political institutions be required to have 50% female representation?
(Political Philosophy)
2. How do we know whether or not something exists if it only exists in theory? (Philosophy of Science)
3. Is torture ever permissible? (Ethics)
4. Does sport necessarily develop good character? (Philosophy of Sport)  

The initial two topics were discussed in age specific groups and then after a short break students were mixed up into mixed age groups.
The depth and profundity of the discourse belied the age of the students participating and many adults came away asking how can a
young person show such intellectual maturity.

This year we tried a new idea suggested by one of our judges which was to have an “Exhibition Community of Inquiry�. This
involved senior students various schools on the stage at the end of the evening discussing the topic “How can an all good and all
powerful God allow suffering?� This was not assessed but rather was meant to be an example of best practice for others to aspire
to. The students did not let us down in this regard.

Following the exhibition Community of inquiry Professor Stephan Millet presented the winning teams with their medals and the 2009
Hale Philosothon trophy went to Wesley College. Philosothons have been and are being replicated in several other Australian states.
Mr Wills was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to travel to the US at the end of the year to build on the event by bringing back
some insights and networking with organisers of the US Ethics Bowl Competition. He will also be speaking about the Philosothon at an
international Education Conference in Honolulu in January.

Click here for the Philosothon Website                                       Click here for the Winston Churchill Website
     Winston Churchill Fellowship News No 6
                              November 2009


Around this newsletter you will find images of a series of plates commissioned for this fellowship. These aboriginal dot painted plates have
been hand painted by the Wiraduri people and these will be given as gifts to the various schools, colleges and universities I am visiting in
the U.S.

At this time next week I will be at California State University for the California Ethics Bowl. Dr Becky White has been instrumental in
helping me arrange my visit there. She has arranged for me to stay with a collegue faculty member at CSU, Dr Robert Jones who sent the
following email to me recently;

 " G'day, No worries, mate, I'll put you up. I learned a little Aussie speak this summer, so I think I might be able to
    communicate with you blokes. Unless you are a drongo, but I doubt that. Onya, R"

I have assured Robert that I will be leaving my pet kangaroo at home and have asked that we have Fosters and prairie oysters for
breakfast.

Following on from the visit to California State Ethics Bowl I will be visiting a similar program but one which is used in High Schools in
Florida. I will be visiting the Pinellas County High School in Tampa where they run a pre-College Ethics Bowl. Dr George Sherman is
kindly hosting this part of my Fellowship. From there I will be travelling to Mt Hollyoke College in Massachusetts where they have an
outreach program promoting Philosophy in Schools. Dr Tom Wartenburg is kindly hosting my visit. Later I will be travelling to Boston
and visiting Binu Jayawardina who is a recipient of the 2008 Beazley medal, and a member of our Hale school community and the Hale
Philosophy Club. I will then be flying to Bloomington Indiana where I am visiting Professor Rich Miller at the Poynter Center for the
Study of Ethics and American Institutions. Indiana State University has won the national Ethics Bowl on two occasions and so I am going
there to speak to those involved in training the team and various lecturers involved in teaching Ethics and Philosophy. From there I head
to Philadelphia and the Centre for Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Art Caplan is the director of the Centre and I will
meeting with him along with Dr Dominic Sisti who co-directs a Bio-Ethics program for pre-college students along with Craig Merlow at
Germantown Academy.

Then I go to New York where I have a short break with my family in Syracuse. My wife did an exchange in 1976 and we will be
spending Christmas with her host families in the north of the state. After that back to New York city for a wonderful conference , the
American Philosophical Association Eastern Division conference. I will only be there for the first three days of the conference but the
program looks amazing. I will also be visiting Ms Robert Israeloff from the Squire Foundation and Professor John Kleinig who lectures in
criminal justine and ethics at ANU and City University of New York.

On the 29th December I travel to Los Angeles where I have a meeting with Professor Robert Ladenson who started the Ethics Bowls
back in the 70's and who has presided over their amazing success. Then to Honolulu where I am presenting a paper at the Hawaii
International Conference on Education. And back to Australia on the 15th January.

I intend to update this page regularly while in the US so please come back from time to time.   
M Wills (Nov 2009)

Click here for the Philosothon Website                                       Click here for the Winston Churchill Website
IMAGES FROM THE 2009 CALIFORNIA ETHICS BOWL
     Winston Churchill Fellowship News No 8
                              January 2010
     Winston Churchill Fellowship News No 7
                              December 2009
HAPPY NEW YEAR! My original intention was to update this section throughout my
fellowship, however, it became difficult due to irregular internet access and the time
necessary to contribute meaningfully to this newsletter. Subsequently, I am updating this
newsletter well into my fellowship, while in Los Angeles.

San Francisco – California – I have attached photos of this leg of my journey
below. (Dec -Newsletter) In summary it was a wonderful opportunity to see an Ethics Bowl in
action and to meet with organisers, coaches and participants. This photo to the right is of the
runners up team from California State University.


Tampa – Florida - This section of my fellowship enabled me to meet with people
involved in a High School based Ethics Bowl competition. I met with coaches and students
from many organising schools over my four days in Florida. This photo was taken at the end
of a meeting George Sherman and the Principal of St Petersburg College, Starla Metz.



Boston – Massachusetts- These days were very useful in giving me a first hand
insight into an exciting new initiative involving students from Mt Holy Oke College who
were involved in a program introducing elementary school students to Philosophy through
children’s literature. I visited several schools as part of this leg of the trip. I also spent a
day at Harvard with Halien, Binu Jayawardena  who is currently doing a scholarship there.
This photo is of Year two students at a Chinese Immersion school following a Philosophy
lesson.



Bloomington – Indiana - I visited Indiana State University and spoke to many people
involved in the preparation of the winning National Ethics Bowl team. This included lecturers
in critical thinking and Philosophy, Ethics Bowl coaches and Brian Schrag who was one of
the original organisers. This photo was taken following my meeting with Professor Leah
Savion who lectures in Critical Thinking.


Philadelphia - Pennsylvania – In Philadelphia I had the opportunity to visit
Germantown Academy for the day and speak to teachers involved in promoting Philosophy
and Ethics through the use of Agoras and then with Dr Dominic Sisti who is involved in the
Centre for Bio-Ethics. This leg of my trip was hampered by a snow blizzard which resulted in
a meeting with Prof Art Caplan not happening. This is a photo of Philosophy and Ethics
teacher Craig Merlow at Germantown Academy.



New York - In New York I attended the Eastern Division American Philosophical
Association for Philosophy Conference. This involved nearly 3000 people and was a
wonderful opportunity to see what is happening in this area. I also had the opportunity to
gather resources and I had meetings with Prof John Kleinig, who is interested in supporting
Philosophy and Ethics back in Australia through an endowment and with Roberta Israeloff
who is the director of the Squire Ethics Foundation. Both these meetings were extremely
useful and important to the success of the Fellowship.This photo is of Professor John Kleinig
during a meeting over drinks in New York.

Los Angeles – California – Meeting with the National Director of the US
Ethics Bowls.
Honolulu – Hawaii International Conference on Education.