Australia Day honours for Robert Johanson – still changing relations of India and Australia for the better

Below (L-R) Robert Johanson, Chairman Bendigo Bank and Australian Friends of Asha Slums; Dr Kiran Martin; Anne Rathbone, Owner of Yering Station Winery, and Harish Rao from Friends of Asha Australia

Robert Johanson AO was honoured in the Australia Day honours by appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia. This recognises his distinguished service to the banking sector, to relations between Australia and India, and to tertiary education governance and financial administration.  
Robert has brought respect for all and considered commentary to his many roles and especially as Chair of the Australia India Institute – from 2010 to 2019.   He served for 31 years on the board of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, 13 of which were as Chair of the bank’s board.
 
Robert was also Deputy Chancellor of University of Melbourne from 2007 to 2017.   He has also been the Chair of the Board of the Australia India Institute in Delhi since its inception in 2015, a role which thankfully he continues to hold – this continues his relationship with India and ongoing support of Australia India connections. 
 
Robert has a strong personal commitment to making a difference for those in need and has served as the Chair of the Australian Friends of Asha, the Australian branch of Asha India. Asha is a charitable organisation created by Dr Kiran Martin in 1988 which works with people in India residing in slums and benefiting more than 700,000 people from over 91 slum colonies of Delhi. Australian Friends of Asha was launched by former Governor of Victoria The Honourable Alex Chernov AC QC in November 2012 and aims to provide support to Asha and promulgate its work throughout Australia.

Gandhi exhorted us to “be the change you want to see in the world” and Robert has contributed more than any other to the positive change in the relationship between Australia and India.  
Below is Robert Johanson with Mahinder Shrivas who thanks to Asha went from a Delhi slum to Trinity College at Melbourne University

Author: Stephen Manallack

Former President, Australia India Business Council, Victoria and Author, You Can Communicate; Riding the Elephant; Soft Skills for a Flat World (published by Tata McGraw-Hill INDIA); Communicating Your Personal Brand. Director, EastWest Academy Pty Ltd and Trainer/Speaker/Mentor in Leadership, Communication and Cross Cultural Communication. Passionate campaigner for closer western relations with India. Stephen Manallack is a specialist on “Doing Business with India” and advisor/trainer on “Cross-Cultural Understanding”. He is a Director of EastWest Academy Pty Ltd which provides strategic advice and counsel regarding business relations with India. A regular speaker in India on leadership and global communication, his most recent speaking tour included a speech to students of the elite Indian university, Amity University, in Noida. He also spoke at a major Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) global summit, the PR Consultants Association of India in Delhi, the Symbiosis University in Pune and Cross-Cultural Training for Sundaram Business Services in Chennai. He has visited India on business missions on 10 occasions and led three major trade missions there. He provides cross-cultural training – Asia and the west.

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