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Best and brightest awarded Government prizes

MEDIA RELEASE Embargoed until 6 September 2011, 7pm

Best and brightest awarded Government prizes

Three "straight A students from Victoria University's School of Government were awarded special Prime Minister's Prizes by Deputy Prime Minister Hon Bill English last night.

The Prime Minister's Prizes are awarded to the students with the highest grade point average in their overall Masters Programme. Six additional prizes are also being awarded.

One of the Prime Minister's Prize winners Diego Gonnet Ibarra, who came to Victoria University from Uruguay on an NZAID Scholarship, is donating his prize money to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal to show his gratitude to New Zealand for funding his scholarship.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh says, “As New Zealands only School of Government, Victoria's School of Government plays an essential role in helping to prepare and equip the next generation of public sector leaders in our country.

“We attract a high calibre of students to our Masters programmes—and I look forward to following the successes of this years award winners.”

The annual prize giving event for the School of Government programmes is now in its ninth year. The Prime Ministers Prize winners are:

The Prime Minister’s Prize in Public Policy—Diego Gonnet Ibarra

Diego Gonnet Ibarra graduated in 2005 with a BA in Political Science (Hons) from Universidad de la República, Uruguay. He worked as a researcher for his „alma mater university between 2004 and 2008, investigating democracy and civil-military relations, defence policy, United Nations peacekeeping operations and military law. He completed the Master of Public Policy programme between 2009 and 2010 at Victoria University with support from NZAID.

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The Prime Minister’s Prize in Public Management—Alison Lewes

Alison Lewes finished her Master's degree in Public Management (MPM) after four and a half years of part-time study at Victoria University. She also studied as an undergraduate at Victoria from 1992 to 1997, completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Bachelor of Laws degree. She began her career as a public servant in November 1997 and is currently employed by the Department of Internal Affairs which has supported her study.

The Prime Minister’s Prize in Strategic Studies—Charmian Taylor

After moving from Rotorua in 2002, Charmian Taylor attended Victoria University, obtaining a BA in Psychology and Criminology, followed by a BA (Hons) in Criminology. After graduating, she worked for the Ministry of Justice followed by a move to Police National Headquarters where she began working in the field of intelligence. With encouragement from her managers she applied to undertake Victorias Masters in Strategic Studies programme, and she now works for the Department of Corrections as a Senior Intelligence Analyst. Her research examined how terrorist, extremist and organised crime groups are utilising the internet and web-based technology, and identified points of convergence where intelligence operations can share resources in order to achieve the most effective results.

Other prize winners are: • Laurie Cameron Scholarship—Nicholas Bowden • Institute of Public Administration New Zealand Prize—David Bullock • NZ Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM)/Local Government Careers Academic Prize in Public Policy—Richard Law • Marsh Postgraduate Prize—Gabrielle Roberts • Holmes Prize—Keith Miller and Catriona Robinson • Bernard Galvin Prize—James Smart


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