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Ambassador Q&A: Bernard Pearce

Bernard Pearce
August 2016

Vocal advocate and White Ribbon Ambassador Bernard (Bernie) Pearce shares his experience and knowledge in his challenge in fighting violence against women in his everyday role in DFAT and as a father.

What is your day job?

I head up Australia’s Early Recovery policy and practice in the Humanitarian, NGOs and Partnerships Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

How long have you been a White Ribbon Ambassador?

Since 2011.

Why did you decide to become an Ambassador?

  • In 2011, I was the Ending Violence Against Women Adviser for the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID was merged with DFAT in 2013) and we (AusAID and White Ribbon Australia) believed that the work we were doing was complimentary to each other.
  • I also saw becoming an Ambassador as an opportunity to increase my contribution to my community here in Canberra and Australia; as I was an international development specialist, focused on people who were poor and vulnerable overseas.
  • As a father of a wonderful young man, I wanted him to see his Dad involved in helping men and boys (in our society, country and world) to be better at respectful relationships with women and girls.

In what ways have you been involved in the White Ribbon Campaign?

  • I have attended many White Ribbon events in Canberra, and advocated within my workplace on both an advocacy and policy level.
  • I’ve represented White Ribbon Australia at Parliament House.
  • I’ve represented White Ribbon Australia at diplomatic functions in Canberra.
  • I was appointed to the Board of White Ribbon Australia in 2016.

Why is Gender Equality important to you as an Ambassador?

  • I have been a Social Worker since 1992 and believe equality is essential for all people in all societies.
  • Gender equality exposes the impact of power (overt or covert) as it affects women and girls to reach their full potential. It also calls out those who excuse acts of violence against women and girls to maintain some self-described right of control.

What goals do you hope to accomplish as an Ambassador in the future?

  • Continue to be an advocate for ending all forms of violence.
  • Continue to contribute to societal change, including fostering the development of a community of interest that focuses on ending violence against women and children.
  • Deepen my representation for the Canberra region on the White Ribbon Board.

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