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Standing waiting for the Skytrain at Singapore Airport, Dr Sally Percival Wood thought for a moment about the question: How important had the Neil Archbold Travel Scholarship been to her obtaining her PhD?
“In the end, it was probably crucial,” she said.
“It allowed me to travel to Bandung and to really round off my research in a way that could never have happened without it.”
And then as the Skytrain disappeared in the tropical Singapore rain, she was gone, back to Kuala Lumpur for the Asialink Commission after attending a conference in New Delhi, then home to Australia to receive her doctorate.
Now the Manager, Applied Research and Analysis at Asialink, life has been nothing but hectic for Dr Percival Wood since she completed her PhD at Deakin.
Working with Professor David Walker, Dr Percival Wood’s thesis concentrated on the Asian-African Conference at Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955.
After the Geneva Conference in 1954, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the People’s Republic of China’s Premier Zhou Enlai signed the “five principles of peaceful co-existence” agreement, otherwise known as Panchsheel.
The Bandung Conference the following year represented an opportunity for Asia’s two largest states to assert this independent foreign policy position as a ‘third way’ to peace at the height of the Cold War.
Dr Percival Wood’s interest in the Bandung Conference stemmed from her undergraduate studies which focussed on Asia and the postcolonial restructuring of the international system.
“The timing of the Neil Archbold award was perfect,” she said.
“I was about to start work on the first draft of my thesis, so being able to attend the Asian-African Conference Museum in Bandung in October, 2009, it rounded it all off brilliantly.”
Dr Percival Wood is one of a number of talented researchers to have benefited from the Neil Archbold Travel Scholarship and Medal.
Others include Liza John, Alison Carver, Ben Allardyce, Chris Hindson and Fiona Gray.
“These scholarships make a tremendous contribution to bringing on a new generation of Deakin researchers,” said Grant Michie, Executive Officer Higher Degrees by Research.
“Neil Archbold was a great Deakin researcher and for his name to be remembered in this way is extremely appropriate.
“He was always encouraging young researchers.”
Neil Archbold was Professor and Personal Chair in Palaeontology at the School of Ecology and Environment at Deakin University.
He was also the Coordinator of Earth Sciences at the University. Professor Archbold spent much of his professional life as an educator and researcher in the fields of earth history, stratigraphy, biostratigraphy, palaeobiogeography, evolution of life, extinction events and the history of science.
He authored over one hundred scientific works and was an active, long-term member of many top scientific bodies including the Royal Society of Victoria, the Geological Society of Australia and the Paleontological Society of USA.
He died in 2005.