Professor Jim Cavaye, from USQ’s Institute for Resilient Regions, has become the first Australian to be awarded the prestigious Community Development Achievement Award by the International Community Development Society. The award recognises an outstanding career contribution to community development and recognition of Professor Cavaye’s work in rural community development.

Professor Cavaye is well-known for his applied approach and practical engagement with rural people. Throughout his career he has assisted more than 130 rural communities across Australia and internationally with economic development, improved access to services, fostering entrepreneurship, and in supporting volunteering and the function of community organisations.

“We research in a way that connects with the communities. We don’t ‘study’ people – we work with them in their communities and help them develop practical outcomes,” he said. “It is quite humbling to be recognised by my peers in a major international organisation, but also rewarding to see the work that I am doing here is making a difference and noted on a global scale.”

Professor Cavaye believes regional Australia, with its rich resources, diversity and value, is the catalyst for the future. “Research and practice in rural communities is important because we are a regional nation, and the strength and vitality of regions is critically important to our economy and the social wellbeing of our country,” he said. “We need people to live in our regions. It is imperative that we have employment opportunities, liveable communities and access to services in rural areas.”

Professor Cavaye will be presented with the award at the annual conference of the Society in the USA in July.

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