Kenyan refugee receives award for outstanding commitment to education studies at Notre Dame

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 20-11-2009

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



Education graduate, former political activist and Kenyan refugee, Peter Kintonga was recently presented a special award from the Australian College of Educators (ACE) for outstanding commitment to education studies.

The award acknowledges Peter’s dedication and hard work in the Practice of Teaching Program at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Sydney Campus.

Mr Kitonga grew up in Kenya, and came to Australia to seek political asylum after protesting against the ‘oppressive’ Kenyan Government and fleeing before the state security police could arrest him.

“I came to Australia to seek protection from persecution because this is a safe haven far away from the Kenyan state security agents. I thought that life would be normal here, but could life really be normal without the unconditional love of family and friends, the confidence that comes with familiarity, or the tastes and sounds of home?

“I decided the first thing I should do in Australia was reengage with learning - In 2001 I joined Macquarie University, graduating in 2004 with a BA degree. It wasn’t until 2007, after buying a newspaper and seeing that Notre Dame were offering a Graduate Diploma in Education, that I thought of becoming a teacher.

“When I started learning I had a wonderful experience and after completing my internships I knew I was meant to be a teacher. I am very grateful to Notre Dame for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to excel in my studies, I have learnt so much.” said Mr Kitonga.

Associate Professor Mark Tannock, Dean of the School of Education, Sydney commented that, “Peter’s story is an inspiring one and the award well-deserved. His dedication to his people and to the vocation of teaching has been most evident since he began at his studies at the University. We are thrilled that he will be such a wonderful ambassador for our pre-service teacher programs when he commences full-time employment in 2010.”

The ACE awards are given out annually to recognise and celebrate the exceptional achievements of the teaching profession from early childhood through to senior secondary schooling.

Media contact:

Moira Saunders 02 8204 4407