Dr Elizabeth Kath is a Lecturer with RMIT's School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, an Honorary Research Fellow with the UN Global Compact Cities Programme and Co-Director of Global Reconciliation.
Elizabeth has a political science background and now works within the interdisciplinary field of global studies. Thematically, she is interested in the ways in which people navigate boundaries of difference, including theories of reconciliation, intercultural communication, and social inclusion/exclusion.
Regionally, she has a long-standing interest in Latin America and the Caribbean (particularly Brazil, Cuba and Mexico). This has included a major study of the social and political dimensions of Cuba's public health system, which explored the system’s institutional arrangements and the formal and informal ways in which Cubans navigate and negotiate access health care, and was published in a highly acclaimed book Social Relations and the Cuban Health Miracle.
Elizabeth also has a deep interest in Australia’s engagement with Latin America, which is the focus of a pioneering book – Australian-Latin American Relations: New Links in A Changing Global Landscape – that is now in press with Palgrave Macmillan. She has worked with organisations in Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro seeking to improve health, wellbeing and social inclusion for favela communities, and on an action research project that includes intercultural exchanges between Australia and Brazil focusing on themes of sport, wellbeing and reconciliation. She speaks Spanish and Portuguese and has spent periods living and researching in Latin America intermittently over the past decade, mainly in Cuba, Brazil and Mexico.
While at RMIT, Elizabeth has played a key role in establishing 'Global Reconciliation', a global network of partners around the world that focuses on researching and promoting ‘reconciliation’, or ‘dialogue across difference’.
Elizabeth's work has been published in many academic journals and edited books and presented at international conferences around the world. She has received several awards and fellowships and has been reported widely in radio, TV and print media. Elizabeth maintains strong collaborative research partnerships across numerous Australian and international universities and has worked with a range of industry partners. She regularly serves as a referee for academic journals and both undergraduate and higher degree research theses.
- RMIT Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellowship – awarded June 2011 and commenced September 2011.
- Nominated for the International Center for Qualitative Inquiry’s “Qualitative Book Award” for Social Relations and the Cuban Health Miracle.
- ‘Meritorious School of Political Science and International Studies Tutor Award’ – awarded October 2006.
- First prize winner of the ‘Jorge Perez-Lopez Graduate Student Paper Award Competition’, The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) Miami – awarded August 2006.
- ‘2006 Daphne Elliott Bursary’, Australian Federation of University Women (AFUW, SA) – awarded June 2006.
- Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) scholarship – awarded January 2003.
- MEAA Queensland Media Awards, highly commended for Outstanding Journalism Student Award – 1999.
- Reconciliation Research Projects. Funded by: Robert Costa (2014 to 2015)
- Changing the Score: An Australia-Brazil Sport for Reconciliation Exchange. Funded by: Karoon, Richmond Football Club, Korin Gamadji Institute, Rio Tinto, Costa Assett Management, and Drapac Group. Project run in partnership with Bluestone Edge, Global Reconciliation, Korin Gamadji Institute, and Richmond Football Club (2013 to 2014)
Academic interest areas
- Social inclusion
- Latin American and Caribbean society politics and culture in particular Brazil and Cuba
- Public health in particular maternal-infant health
- State capacity/institution building
- Social capital
- Informal and second economies
Elizabeth is a registered research supervisor in the areas of reconciliation, social inclusion and Cuba’s health system.
Current key roles
- Co - Director, Global Reconciliation
- Honorary Research Fellow, UN Global Compact Cities Programme
- Executive member,
Elizabeth currently teaches four courses within RMIT’s International Studies undergraduate program and the postgraduate Master of International Development program.
- PhD, University of Queensland (UQ), School of Political Science and International Studies, 2008
- Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours (Political Science), UQ, 2002
- Bachelor of Arts (Journalism and Government), UQ, 2000
20 September 2012: Opinion piece in The Conversation “Australia finally discovers Latin America: time now to forge relationships”
22 February 2012: Opinion piece in The Conversation, “Party Time: how carnaval does not paint an accurate picture of modern Brazil”. Republished in RMIT Blog "What you see of Carnaval is not a true picture of life in modern Brazil".
February 2012: News stories in Brazilian press covering Elizabeth Kath’s 2012 visit to Porto Alegre as representative of the UN Global Compact Cities Programme in relation to the slum resettlement sustainability project supported by the programme.
- Correio do Povo, “Australian UN Researcher Visits Vila Chocolatão: the Australian accompanies the community’s resettlement process”
- Prefeitura de Porto Alegre, “UN Researcher Praises Experience of Vila Chocolatão”
- Sul21, “Researcher linked with UN visits the new Vila"
February 2012: Stories covering Nanko Van Buuren’s receipt of the 2012 Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Award (offered annually by Global Reconciliation), including Elizabeth Kath’s visit to present the award.
- Radio Netherlands Worldwide, “Desmond Tutu Award for Dutchman in Rio”
9 June 2011: Australian Financial Review magazine insert ‘Making Cities Work’. Pg 20. Story featuring Elizabeth Kath’s visit to Porto Alegre as representative of the UN Global Compact Cities Programme.
8 September 2010: Radio interview. 774 ABC Melbourne Afternoons with Richard Stubbs. (Interview with Richard Stubbs about the book Social Relations and the Cuban Health Miracle).
25 August 2010: Radio interview. 3CR ‘Palestine Remembered’. (Interview with Yousef Alreemawi about the book Social Relations and the Cuban Health Miracle).
1 March 2011: A news report by the Prefeitura de Porto Alegre covering Elizabeth Kath’s 2011 visit to Porto Alegre as representative of RMIT’s Global Cities Institute and the UN Global Compact Cities Programme “Chocol Photographs of the visit".
6 August 2010: Mention of Social Relations and the Cuban Health Miracle in ‘Letters to the Editor’ in the leading journal Science. The letter from Katherine Hirschfeld titled ‘Cuban Health Care: Consider the Source, ’recommends the book as one of the “small but compelling array of recent publications in the social sciences” that critically analyse some of the common assumptions about healthcare in Cuba. (Science 2010: Vol. 329. no. 5992, pp. 627–628).
Elizabeth Kath’s collaborative work under the umbrella of Global Reconciliation has been mentioned in a wide range of print, radio and television media outlets around the world including The Age, SBS World News, Jordan Times, Fox News, Sunday Observer, Times Newspaper, Rupavahini TV (Sri Lanka, National coverage), and Derena TV.
- Kath, E. (2016). On transculturation: Reenacting and remaking Latin American dance and music in foreign lands In: Narratives of Globalization: Reflections on the Global Condition, Rowman and Littlefield International, London, United Kingdom
- Kath, E. (2016). Australia and Latin America in a global era In: Australian-Latin American Relations: New Links in A Changing Global Landscape, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, United States
- Urribarri, R.,Perez De Leon, V.,Favoretto, M.,Kath, E.,Sinclair, J.,Fergusson, A. (2016). A tale of two waves: Latin American migration to Australia In: Australian-Latin American Relations: New Links in a Changing Global Landscape, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, United States
- Kath, E.,Knijnik, J. (2015). The end of football and fiesta? Social insurrection and national identity in twenty-first-century Brazil In: Globalizations, 12, 872 - 885
- Kath, E.,van Buuren, N. (2014). Soldados Nunca Mais: Child soldiers, football and social change in Rio de Janeiro's favelas In: Global Sport-for-Development: Critical Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan, United Kingdom
- James, P.,Kath, E. (2014). Global reconciliation: Responding to tension through a local-global process In: SAGE Handbook of Globalization, SAGE Publications, London, United Kingdom
- Kath, E. (2014). Changing the Score: An Australia-Brazil Sport for Reconciliation Exchange: Research Report In: Globalism Research Centre, Richmond Football Club, Bluestone Edge Melbourne, Australia
- Kath, E. (2011). Revolutionary health: State capacity, popular participation and the Cuban paradox In: Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 17, 213 - 229
- Komesaroff, P.,Kath, E.,James, P. (2011). Reconciliation and the technics of healing In: Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 8, 235 - 237
- Kath, E. (2010). Social Relations and the Cuban Health Miracle, Transaction Books, United Kingdom
- Reconciliation Research Projects. Funded by: Robert Costa from (2014 to 2015)