Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2014 Contents AAG 50th
The AAG has successfully modelled a multidisciplinary
approach for other countries to follow.
Along with its focus on
research and knowledge
within Australia, the
AAG has played an
active leadership role
internationally, being instrumental
in establishing the Asia/Oceania
regional committee of the International
Association of Gerontology and
Geriatrics in 1978.
Ruth Inall, a founding member and
long-serving secretary treasurer of the
AAG, says that along with the Japanese
Society for Gerontology, members of
the AAG leadership petitioned the
international body to create a third
regional committee in recognition of
the growing field of gerontology in the
Due to its leadership role, then
AAG president Dr Richard Gibson
was appointed inaugural chairman
of the region and Inall was asked
to be its secretary. The first Asia/
Oceania regional congress was held in
Melbourne in 1980.
Inall says the AAG has always been
a very outward-looking association,
driven in part by Australia's migrant
She says the Asia/Oceania
committee has developed into an active
and dynamic region of the IAGG with
now more than 16 member countries
including Taiwan, China, Hong Kong,
Malaysia and India.
Inall still serves as the region's
executive secretary and Professor Keith
Hill from Curtin University is currently
the elected regional chair of the Asia/
In advocating for the growth of
the region, Inall says Australia played
a major role in supporting countries
within the region to set up local
associations of gerontology and host
At the 1982 First World Assembly
on Ageing in Vienna, then chairman of
the Asia/Oceania region Professor Gary
Andrews offered to travel to any country
in the region to help them establish a
local association, and Inall provided
support in writing draft constitutions.
"He went off to Malaysia and
Singapore and other countries would
write to us for assistance," Inall recalls.
"That's how we got the regional
"There has been a great deal
of interchange of information and
Australia has always been prepared to
go to countries and contribute in the
way of knowledge and skills."
Inall says the AAG has also
successfully modelled a multidisciplinary
approach for other countries to follow.
"Australia has been the glue to make
the region work and for me it has been
a wonderful opportunity of creating
this network and working with so many
professionals in different countries and
making many friends in the process.
"I have learned a great deal about
how you work with countries in South
East Asia and I found a wonderful
mentor in one of my Japanese
colleagues, with whom I have worked
with since I first met him in 1975."
In a recent development within
the Asia/Oceania region, last year Inall
launched the Gary Andrews Academy for
Education and Training in Gerontology
and Geriatrics to commemorate the
contribution the former regional
chairman made to the Asia-Pacific. The
travelling academy, which is registered
in Australia and designed to support
training in the region, will offer short
courses and workshops in four streams
of focus for IAGG.
The academy is overseen by a
steering committee of five directors
-- two of whom at any time have to
Beyond the region, the AAG has
also looked to be a player in the
international gerontology community.
Since the 1970s, AAG members have
travelled to all parts of the globe
to study other aged and healthcare
systems and in 1972 made its first bid
to host the World Congress.
In 1997 Adelaide was host to the
16th Congress of the International
Association of Gerontology, which
attracted 2,500 delegates and put
Australian gerontology firmly on the
world stage. A joint UN and IAGG
project to develop a Research Agenda
on Ageing for the 21st century was also
established at the Adelaide congress.
Former AAG president Anna
Howe also acknowledged the positive
interaction and networks that have
grown and strengthened in the region
throughout AAG's history. n
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