Professor Shirley Randell was born on 8 March 1940 in Perth, Western Australia. She was educated at Perth Modern School and the Universities of Papua New Guinea, Canberra, New England and London where she completed degrees in education and philosophy.
After teaching Aboriginal children in isolated schools in Western Australia, Prof. Randell had four children before moving with her family to Papua New Guinea where she lectured at Uniting Church teachers colleges and was Director of the Teaching Methods and Materials Centre at the University of Papua New Guinea.
Returning to Australia, Prof. Randell began a 15-year career in the Commonwealth Public Service, including the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Public Service Commission. She was made a Fellow of the Australian College of Education (now Australian College of Educators) for contributions to the administration of major national initiatives in rural education, disadvantaged schools and professional development as Director of Commonwealth Schools Commission Programs. While Director of Programs in the Australian Capital Territory Department of Education she became a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (now Institute of Managers and Leaders) and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and was awarded membership of the Division of the Order of Australia for contributions to public service, particularly in education. Her appointments in Victoria before starting her own business in 1997 were Chief Executive Officer, City of Whitehorse, Director and Chief Executive of the Council of Adult Education, and Dean of Academic Affairs at the University of Ballarat.
As a leading expert in Public Sector and Institutional Reform in Developing Countries, Prof. Randell has provided specialist technical assistance to governments in the Asia Pacific Region and in Africa over the last 20 years. This has included several assignments in Vanuatu (1999-2003), including Team Leader for the AusAID Human Rights Project, Performance Improvement Advisor with the AusAID Public Sector Reform Project, Executive Officer for the five-donor sponsored Vanuatu 2002 Elections Observer Group, Advisor to the Vanuatu Government’s Decentralisation Review Commission, Adviser for Regrading of Teachers for the European Union’s Junior Secondary School Expansion Project in the Vanuatu Teaching Service Commission and the Ministry of Education, and Executive Officer for the UNHCR Assisting Communities Together project. She is an author who has written numerous journal articles and books, including secondary education textbooks on Ni-Vanuatu Role Models: Women in their own right and I Stret Nomo: Girls in Vanuatu can do anything, and has edited gender and development training manuals for public servants, NGO workers and water professionals.
In other countries Prof. Randell has been Human Resource Adviser with the NZAID Human Development Project for the Government of Niue; Local Government Consultant for an ADB Provincial Government Review for the Solomon Islands Department of Provincial Government and Rural Development; Women, Youth and Non Government Organisation Specialist for an ADB study on skills development for the Papua New Guinea Government; Quality Assurance and Gender and Development Specialist for a skills development study for the Sri Lanka Government; and Performance Management Systems, Business Process Re-engineering Training, Human Resources Management, and Gender and Development Specialist for an AusAid funded project for the Fiji Government’s Department of Customs and Excise. She has lectured Chinese, Korean, Thai, East Korea and Indonesian students at the Research Institute of Asia and the Pacific at the University of Sydney.
In 2004-2005, Prof. Randell was appointed Program Implementation Specialist with the UNDP Capacity Building for Gender Mainstreaming Project of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Government of Bangladesh and she returned to Bangladesh in 2013 to undertake a position with the Ministry of Education’s Teachers Quality Improvement project. In between these two assignments she worked in Rwanda. From 2006-2008 Prof. Randell was Senior Adviser Gender/ Education/ Governance for Empowerment for the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) East and South Africa Region, and in 2009 she established and directed the Centre for Gender, Culture and Development Studies at the Kigali Institute of Education (now the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Rwanda). In 2010 her international work was recognised when she was awarded Officer of the Division of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to international relations, particularly through the promotion of human rights of women and through public sector reform in developing countries. Prof. Randell is also a distinguished alumni of the University of New England and the University of Canberra.
Prof. Randell has spoken at a wide variety of Australian and international conferences, given talks, occasional addresses, openings, launches, lectures, seminars and workshops for parent associations, teacher organisations, industry groups, community groups, universities, schools, adult education centres, neighbourhood houses, government departments, service organisations, and professional associations, and been a frequent speaker at luncheon and dinner meetings about international, educational, ecumenical, gender and human rights issues. She has written extensively on public sector reform, education, gender and human rights and been a regular broadcaster, particularly for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Among the many government, community and university committees Prof. Randell has served on are as President of the Australian College of Educators and Phi Delta Kappa Australian Capital Chapter; Chairperson of the Australian Council of Churches Commission on International Affairs, Healthy Cities Canberra and the Sexual Assault Working Party for the Central Highlands Wimmera Region; foundation member of the National Board of Employment, Education & Training and the Schools Council; and a company director of the YWCA of Australia, National Foundation of Australian Women, the Sir John Monash Business Centre, Australian Council for Educational Administration, Institute of Public Administration Australia, Australian Institute of Management and Australian Institute of International Affairs.
In 1999-2001 Prof. Randell was President of the Rotary Club of Port Vila, in 2004-5 International Director of the Dhaka North West Rotary Club, and in 2007, Director Administration of the Rotary Club of Kigali. After returning to Bangladesh in 2013 she transferred back to the Dhaka North West Rotary Club and became Vice President in 2016. Prof. Randell is founding Secretary General (2006-8) and mentor of both the Vanuatu Association of Women Graduates and the Rwanda Association of University Women, currently serving as Assistant Coordinator of International Relations for RAUW. She was International Projects Convener for the Geneva-based International Federation of University Women (now Graduate Women International- GWI) in 2004-2007 and world Vice President in 2007-2010. She is currently a member of the GWI Project Development Committee. Prof. Randell has been a Board/ Committee member for the NewYork-based Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund since 2007.
Prof. Randell was one of Australia’s 100 Inaugural Women of Influence in 2012 in the Global category, and one of the 2013 International Alliance of Women World of Difference 100 Awardees in the Community category. She has had businesses in Sydney, Rwanda and Vanuatu, has interests in physical fitness, cinema, theatre, music, art and travel, and celebrates four adult children with their partners, fourteen grandchildren and one great grandchild living in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Australia.
Prof. Randell’s academic qualifications, awards and recognition, ambassador, patron, board, committee and council memberships are detailed in her curriculum vitae below. She continues her public speaking engagements both in Australia and around the world.