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Meet our 2020 Westpac Future Leaders Scholar

2 July 2020
Prestigious scholarship for Australia’s future leaders
Master of Human Rights student Brianna Kerr is a 2020 recipient of the Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship, awarded to outstanding postgraduate students focused on finding innovative ways to create a better Australia.

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is proud to welcome 2020 Westpac Future Leaders Scholar Brianna Kerr. Brianna is one of 15 postgraduate students Australia-wide to be chosen for the Future Leaders Scholarship, which awards candidates with a strong academic record and leadership potential $120,000 to fund their postgraduate studies, leadership training and membership in a global network of alumni.

Brianna is Director and Head of Impact at Kua, a social enterprise that distributes coffee to workplaces in Sydney and commits 100% of the profits to climate resilience initiatives in Uganda where the coffee is farmed. Keen to develop ways of integrating human rights into daily life, business and decision-making, Brianna chose to study the Master of Human Rights, focusing on globalisation and human rights systems.

Brianna Kerr with Kua team

Brianne Kerr (middle) and the Kua team showcasing their reusable coffee canisters.

She is incredibly passionate about social change and has worked with refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia, profit for purpose organisations in Malawi and India, and volunteered with Rotary International, Papua New Guinea. As a Westpac Future Leaders Scholar, Brianna is determined to ensure that human rights aren’t just ideals, but real principles that can be implemented across various sectors in society.

Tell us about your work?

Running a social enterprise like Kua with a small team of six is a bit of a mixed bag, in that no two days are the same! Generally, I manage all of our partnerships and sales and I am currently working on how we can more effectively measure and report our social and environmental impact. 

What does the Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship mean to you?

The Westpac Future Leaders scholarship has to be one of the best in Australia. They don’t just hand you a cheque and send you on your way. They invest in you as an individual, focusing on your personal and professional development, during and long after your studies are completed. The opportunities are endless and the connections invaluable. 

What’s the most valuable skill you’ve gained from the Master of Human Rights?

As most social science degrees do, my Masters has led me to think more critically about the international human rights space and better understand its successes and its shortcomings. I am seeing human rights in a whole new light. They are fraught, complicated and often exclusionary and my degree is challenging me to problem solve for these gaps.

How will your study program benefit society?

Everyday I work with engineers, industrial designers, economists, musicians, data scientists, and sociologists and it’s within this diverse environment that creativity, innovation and ideas breed. Degrees like the Master of Human Rights build thinkers, critics and empathisers who deeply understand that every issue in our world today is social. This perspective is complementary and necessary in every single industry. If we want to change the world, we have to understand how it came to be. 

What’s next for Kua?

We currently supply 30 incredible companies across Sydney and are always looking for new partners. We’ve launched immersive sustainability workshops and tailored equipment packages for business wanting coffee machines and the beans in one. What’s next? Selling our two tonnes of coffee that just arrived from the misty slopes of Mount Elgon, Uganda! 

The Kua coffee story

Visit Kua to find out more about their world-positive coffee for workplaces.


Apply for the 2021 Westapc Future Leaders Scholarship. Applications close 2 September 2020.

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