What it takes to get from Charleville to the United Nations
FROM her ancient homeland on the edge of Outback Australia, to being one of the world’s most senior diplomats in New York, Lou-Ellen Martin has achieved enormous feats since her upbringing in Charleville.
The 40-year-old proud Indigenous woman is now delivering world-changing speeches to the United Nations, 16,000km away from home.
And it’s a long way to go for the Kamilaroi and Kooma woman’s roots, with her grandparents growing up on an Aboriginal reserve.
Her father Sonny Martin has described Lou-Ellen as an ‘inspiration’ to young Indigenous kids growing up in Charleville.
He said she was always interested in international politics and was always a high achiever back during her schooling years.
Starting off at Charleville State School, Lou-Ellen always had a knack for learning and putting in tremendous effort into her work.
“I always knew, she was gifted - she was very clever at school, always, Mr Martin said.
“She finished in the top five per cent of students in the state.
“I knew she was always destined to be a person that succeeded in life, whatever she decided to take on.”
She later moved to Oakey, then to Toowoomba to study at St Ursula’s College, an all-girls Catholic school.
At Griffith University, she studied a Bachelor of International Business and Bachelor of Arts - Politics and Government, before doing a cadetship with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
And her career has taken her all across the world, working as the Deputy Head of Mission in the Beirut Embassy in Lebanon, and a political counsellor in the Australian Mission to the United States.
“She’s in New York at the moment, that’s why she delivered the speech in the General Assembly,” Mr Martin said.
He said Lou-Ellen has been delivering speeches to the United Nations about biosecurity and
But due to COVID, Lou-Ellen is planning on moving back to Canberra next year to provide a better environment for her young five-year-old daughter.
Mr Martin said her upbringing played a huge part of where she is today.
“You become a parent from the moment a child is born,” he said.
“I think support is the main thing from home from an early age.