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Brisbane Institute Brochure Australia

Video Strengths Based Practice

Australia Strengths Based Practice Institute, Brisbane Institute

Strengths Strategies



The Brisbane Institute

of Strengths Based


Brisbane Institute of Strengths Based Practice


Propagates, and Supports Strengths Based Human Resource Development

Through Strengths-Based Strategies, Appreciative Inquiry,

Asset Based Community Development and Counselling Approaches




Kathmandu Conference Nepal

10-12 December


17-19 June Bali, Indonesia


Hyderabad Conference Brisbane Institute

Hyderabad Conference India


Kathmandu Conference Nepal


Sarajevo Conference 2011

Sarajevo Conference

Bosnia and Herzegovina


Brisbane Institute of Strengths Based Practice Australia

Brisbane Conference

Queensland, Australia


Coping Resilience International Conference Dubrovnik Brisbane Institute

Dubrovnik Conference Croatia


Hyderabad Conference Brisbane Institute

Hyderabad Conference India



Professor Lesley Chenoweth

A Charles Sturt University Initiative

 Curriculum Development on Environment Sustainability

in Social Work

Professor Lesley Chenoweth

Responding to the Challenges of Contemporary and Future Human Services - Beyond Survival to Proactive Change

The Role and Direction of Social Work and Human Services in the current Economic environment

Cooking for Social Work

New Zealand Workshops

Working With Challenging Clients: Motivation, Cooperation And Assisting Behaviour Change

workshops Sarajevo, Bosnia, Vive Zene, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina Workshops


Dr Venkat Pulla

AWARDED in India


3rd Right every Wrong Conclave


Brisbane Institute Brochure

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Brisbane Institute Strengths Strategies

Strengths Approach, Human Resource

Development, Social change, Transition societies, Role of youth, Entrepreneurship development, Governance and people strengthening practices, Volunteers development

Asset Based Community Development Micro credits and finance



Ignorance of Ability Brings Disability

"This is a short film I did in 2005

and it was nominated for

India-International Film Festival on disability ......"



5.4 million Australians volunteer with that figure representing approximately 35% of the population. The estimated value of volunteering is $70 billion.
The complete survey report is available on the

Volunteering Australia website.


Activities Report 2006 - 2007

Foundation Year

 Brisbane Institute History

Originally formed to deliver 2006 Indian conference, it started as a one man’s desire to do something different and through alliances and re-alliances grew into a not to profit organisation: the Brisbane Institute of Strengths based Practice. The Brisbane Institute of Strengths based Practice (Inc)  propagates, supports and encourages strengths based  human resource development and management consulting,  strengths based counselling, group and community training activities and projects in the Asia pacific region and elsewhere, through studies, visits, conferences and workshops and major training events. Its purpose is to promote individual and community development through the practice and promotion of various skills including:


·          Asset-based community development

·          Appreciative Enquiry


·          Strengths-based strategies

·          Strengths-focussed therapies


The range of experience to be found within the Institute’s members currently includes social work and community development, events management, accountancy, disability support, Informatics and graphic art, public sector management, Indigenous cultural education, business analysis and project management. We are looking forward to supplement the current range of experts from the fields of law, fund rasing and organisational development. 

Modus Operandi


The various members of the Institute contribute their personal and collective expertise and utilise their extensive professional networks as necessary to carry out particular projects. In addition, the Institute has built collaborative relationships with various international teaching institutes such as the National Institute for Small Industry Extension Training (NISIET), Hyderabad, and the Bala Vikasa Social Service Society, Sanghamitra, AUSAID and AYAD (Australian Youth Ambassadors Abroad). Since the resources available to the Institute do not reside with any one individual member of the organisation, projects are undertaken in a collaborative manner with joint ownership and pooling of available resources. Therefore all potential projects are discussed in detail and are endorsed by a sufficient number of suitably qualified Institute members before they may proceed. Projects undertaken by the Institute are regularly discussed and monitored by all members of the Institute throughout the project’s life.


Types of projects which the Institute may undertake

There are various types of projects in which the Institute may choose to become involved. These include:


·          Conferences about strengths-based strategies and community development

·          Minor fund raising for small projects that promote community development or resilience

·          Training in strengths-based strategies

·          Providing a secretariat  function where other institutions are collaborating in a community development exercise

·          Making its collective resources available to other organisations that are engaged in projects that are close to the aims and objectives of the Institute.


Human values at work workshop August 2006



A one day program on Human values at work was delivered  in collaboration with University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, on Saturday 12 August 2006 for a group of 20 by Venkat Pulla, Rita Kugler, Chartered Accountant and Management Consultant) & Coralie Graham, Psychologist centrelink and PhD candidate. The workshop addresses questions such as how do you work? How do you view your career and your contribution to the world? Does something require change? Human Values at Work focuses on how you can work in accord with your own spiritual view of life and five Human Values that are found cross-culturally in all spiritual traditions: Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-violence.

The Brisbane Institute of Strengths based Practices and Indian-based NGO Sanghamitra held this inaugural International Conference. It aimed to create a global interconnectedness between people seeking solutions for their local problems. This major activity in the year has been the first Australian organised international Strengths based strategies 2006 Conference in Hyderabad India in November of 2006. Principal collaboration was with Sanghamitra a rural development organisation in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh. Generous funding was made available to fly two resource persons from the pacific region, Papua New Guinea and Australia by AUSAID ISSS scheme. Equally generous assistance was made to cover partial costs of three speakers by Australia India Society.

 A number of small but genuine fund raising events have boosted our strengths and bonded our managing committee members in more than one event. Credit for such planning goes to Ms Christine Radke. From Pie runs, dine for development nites to wine sales- all of them demonstrated one thing – that there was deep sincerity in rasing much needed bucks for developmental activities. The International conference in India was also supported by other generous donations of Rs 50000.00 by UAE Foreign Exchange principally initiated and recommended for us in Australia by Ram- (Mr Karuppiah Ramanathan), the State Manager of the UAE Foreign Exchange, and handtowels, pens and bags by Family of Mr Sunil and Rajeshwari Gurram of Ipswich. The handtowels are hand loomed in Solapur by entrepreneur weaver families.  The Australian Association of Social Work gave a grant towards the preparation do CD ROMs and the Rural Social Workers Action Group of Victoria gave three scholarships for students attending the conference. The AASW several government agencies websites, Australian Institute of Families and several NGOs hosted the conference publicity free of cost.  We were also awarded website from Charity focus for our use and during the conference year it received some of their highest ranking on Google hits.

Mariam HI from Malaysia now a permanent resident of Australia assisted in managing the websites and for 5 months worked with me as a Conference Associate based in Malaysia dealing with Public Relations and advice to me on the Asian region. The website was also attended by Amanda Vos.

Design, Designe by Duncan Williams & Dragan BombekDuncan Williams donated his painting which was later fabulously digitised by our Informatics and Graphic design member Dragan Bombek. Dragan designed the conference volume and the CD ROM and negotiated with printers overseas. Mr Palani Thevar donated T Shirts with Brisbane Institute’s logo.

We had an American Auction of  art works and culturally significant items that were brought by delegates of the conference coordinated by Christine Radke and the collections were given away to purchase Christmas gifts for children in Sanghmitra villages. The Conference had a large contingent of Australian delegates. More on this conference through its site at

The Conference management was provided by Chris Montgomery and the key note speakers from Australia were Dr Bob Lone President, AASW, Mr John Armstrong, SRV Guru from Sydney, Mr Wayne McCashen, Author and strengths based practitioner, Dr Irena Yashin Shaw from the cutting edge party. The Co- convenor of the Conference in India was father John Vattamottom of the Sanghmitra rural development organisation.

Consortium to Assist Sri Lanka School of Social Work

As part of the Conference two delegates from the School of Social Work of the National Institute of Social Development, Sri Lanka were invited. Professor Ranavera Amaravamsa and Mrs Shamini Attanayaka presented an overview of the training and faculty development needs of the School of Social Work.

This meeting was attended by Professor Parasuraman, Director of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Professor Lesley Chenoweth, of Griffith University, Amanda Vos of AASW, heads of the Departments of Indian Schools of social Work such as Professor Uma vennam from Tirupathi Mahila Vidyalayam University, Professor Hazel  Lima Director Roshini Nilaya, Mangalore University, Dr Mrs Miriam Samuel Madras Christian College, Professor Janki Andharia, and several other academics. The meeting was convened by Venkat Pulla and a number of immediate action plans to assist the Sri lanka school of Social Work were drawn up. 

Professors: Parasuram, Janki, Uma, and Hazel

Professor Lesley Chenoweth

Chris and Venkat Pulla

Shamini Attanayaka from Sri Lanka  - far right

15 Hours with Wayne McCashen

 A two day workshop was held on introduction to strengths based practice with Brisbane Institute’s Consultant Mr Wayne McCashen on 31st March and 1st April 2007 Wayne is author of the books The Strengths Approach: a strengths-based.

Resource for sharing power and creating change and Communities of hope: a Strengths-based resource for building community and co-author of the card-based resource Name the frame: reminders for building respectful socially just decisions. Wayne was also a keynote speaker at the inaugural international “Strength-Based Strategies 2006” Conference in Hyderabad, India in November 2006. Brisbane Institute of Strength Based Practice is delighted to be collaborating with Wayne on these workshops which aim to provide all community practitioners with an introduction to Strength Based Practice, as well as concrete strategies for planning and goal-setting with clients and communities from a Strength-Based perspective.

Wayne presently is with Education and Training Coordinator for Family and Community Services in the Northern Territory, Australia, and was until recently the principal trainer and consultant for St Luke’s Anglicare.

Dinner in honour of Wayne at Coal Falls: Wayne, Christine, Venkat, Amanda, Bart, Hahn and Chris Montgomery

As a recent Australian Partner Organisation of the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program we sought AASW accredited Social Workers, Social Work Graduates and Post Graduates to work with us in our Projects in Sri Lanka as well as and also in our future projects with local counterparts in partner host organisations in the developing countries to achieve sustainable development outcomes through capacity building, skills transfer and institutional strengthening and make a difference in the Asia pacific region.

Three outstanding candidates with leadership, public speaking, tutoring and lecturing skills, child protection and community development skills and one candidate, a practising Bank Manager, with business acumen and interest in human values educational and micro enterprises were chosen. Kat Oglive and Katherine Burke will form our team in Sri Lanka project to assist a School of Social Work to partake in core competencies teaching and field work curriculum, Abbie Catterall and Hahn Nguyen will form the Vietnam team.

Kat Oglive sees herself as a competent, motivated, adaptable fast learner who would love to work in international setting. Kat sees this as a chance to be involved in this program would allow her to explore and build on her passion and interest in international social work, community development and community capacity building.  Kat enjoys immensely interacting with other people, sharing knowledge, learning both from and with them. 


 Katherine Burke Social work graduate from New Castle University has previously undertaken three months volunteer work with Youth Challenge Australia in Costa Rica and was part of a team of ten that engaged in community development and capacity building work. Katherine believes that she is apt for the Sri Lankan position as she has experience in both working overseas in a different community and culture, and also with working with strengths based practice which is required by Brisbane Institute and its partners. Katherine has strong personal belief that strengths-based practice is effective in all settings of social work practice and that it contributes to social justice.

Abbie Catterall is a graduated from a Bachelor of Business Management and Human Resources with minor studies in Human Rights in 2005 and is completing a Bachelor of Social Work 2007. Abbie majored in Community Development and has travelled to Costa Rica in 2005 as part of a Community Development project which focussed on sustainable development for local communities. This was a volunteer position and involved great amounts of hard work. Abbie is accustomed to working within a team environment but also have excellent interpersonal skills through my work with children in child protection and as the President of the Social Work Students Association at the University of Queensland. Abbie works with strengths based frameworks and has been chosen for Vietnam projects of Brisbane Institute.

Hahn Nguyen is a Vietnamese born Australian Citizen and a graduate of Business Management from the University of Queensland. She holds a branch management position in the Commonwealth Bank. Hahn is positively passionate about using educational means to bring about change. For years and years she has dreamt of starting schools in Vietnam. Friends advised her that for that to happen she needs to become a millionaire first. This dream apart, integrating human values in to development, the micro finance strategies for enterprise development and working within strengths based strategies with local governments, NGOs, stake holder groups interests her very much. Hahn and Abbie make a great strengths based partnership for the Vietnam project of Brisbane Institute.


 An AusAID initiative, the Australian Youth Ambassadors program (AYAD) aims to strengthen mutual understanding between Australia and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and make a positive contribution to development. AYAD assignments cover a diverse range of sectors including Education, Environment, Gender, Governance, Health, Infrastructure, Rural Development and Trades. Besides Irene’ –

On 23 May 2007 at the BTP Technology & Conference Centre a one day training program has been specially designed for Anam Cara-Centacare and was exclusively made available to Anam Cara team of ‘Irene’; Team Essence (Centacare) relief staff and Alpha Community Agency relief staff. Venkat Pulla was assisted by Chris Montgomery in this training and also by Fraser- from Evolve- Centacare


Session Photos of participants of Anamcara training



In Collaboration with


A panel discussion on ‘what is international social work all about?’ led by Venkat Pulla, Chris Montgomery, Nicholas Haines, Professor Lesley Chenoweth  and other Queensland participants at the Strengths based strategies 2006 conference, was held under the auspices of Australian Association of  Social Work , Queensland Branch.  This was organised by the International Special Interest Group of AASW. On Friday 23 March 2007.  Wine Cheese and Nibbles and soft drinks were provided to an audience of over 60 interested participants.


11 February 2007

Bart van Beukering, a practising Project Manager who works with public sector in Queensland as a Consultant facilitated a strategic focus discussion with the members of the managing committee with a view for Brisbane Institute members to gain a   better understanding of the direction of the institute.

Members took away assignments to write some very important Policy re Roles and Responsibilities.

Bart’s facilitation let us identify the skills matrix present within the institute and consolidated the shared values and common vision of institute’s members.  Venkat Pulla as the initiator of the Brisbane Institute of strengths based practice shared his vision as follows:



Conferences in the Asia-Pacific region

 Transfer of learning through and by being involved in grass-roots projects



Literature publications

 Venkat Pulla was a key note speaker at the 8th Biennial  Rural Social Workers Action group Conference this

year and addressed issues relating to strength based strategies to lead a social work life and living up to our inner strengths. Martin Butler, the Convenor of the RSWAG Victoria has been a firm supporter of Brisbane Institute of Strengths based practice and at his behest the RSWAG made a cheque towards three scholarships for SBS 2006 Conference. These scholarships were awarded to three Post Graduate students in India.

The Conference was held on 12 and 13th of July 2007 at Echuca, in Rural Victoria.  

 We gratefully thank the following for their involvement in 2006-2007 foundation years.           

President Dr Venkat Pulla, Vice President Peter Binyon, Secretary Chris Montgomery, Treasurer Rita Kugler Committee Members Chris Radke, Amanda Vas, Palani Thevar, Dragan Bombek, Duncan Williams


President’s Report 2008  Presented on 19th September 2008

  • The year did start with an Ayad retreat of the two candidates selected for Srilanka and one selected for Vietnam, facilitated by Amanda, Peter and myself, held at Moiya O’Brien’s place at 70 Mark Street, New Farm.
  • Our candidates to Sri Lanka that is Kat and Katharine could not make to Sri Lanka due to Australian government advice on the political climate in Sri Lanka. This has been a major setback to them, very disappointing as candidates but also to me as the key facilitator of Sri Lanka School of Social Work’s five year planned assistance and projects.
  • AYAD for Vietnam was successful. Bart and Amanda made a visit to the project.
  • We were invited to join the Not for profit network as its foundation member. This invitation was accepted by me in the capacity of president.
  • Attendance at Reproductive Health Asia Pacific Summit, in Hyderabad. President Venkat Pulla’s talk on strengths based strategies in the field of reproductive health was attended by 60 participants
  • Visit to Sri Lanka School of Social Work: workshops in strengths based practice. Over 300 participants in all.
  • Venkat did training for two days to corporate responsibility groups in India at Mumbai with Tata’s sponsoring the training event for 30 senior executives.
  • Invitation to Barcelona conference planning show and impacts there after.
  • Dubrovnik Planning meetings in Sydney organised by Dragan Bombek and Venkat Pulla attended by 7 people from the former Yugoslavian region, but current residents of NSW and Queensland.
  • Dubrovnik Planning meeting arranged and attended by Venkat Pulla  at Zagreb. Professors Dean Ajdukovic,, Dr Dinka Corkalo Biruski, and Dragan Jusupovic attended this meeting.
  • Consultations on Strategic planning to Australians Counsellors Association was provided by Peter Binyon.
  • Strategic Planning meetings of BISbP  were also internally facilitated by Peter binyon
  • Dine for development  was held on October 4th first gala Indian dinner and dance Palani Thevar and Ram  Velliam assisted by the Managing committee
  • 26th of November, 2008  Venkat attended  Karam Veer Puraskar by ICONGO and Indian Industry and addresses on Principles of governance
  • 25th November  2008. Venkat inaugurated an international social development congress in Nepal

Special Appreciation:

To outgoing members of the managing committee Amanda Vos and Bart Bunkering. Amanda’s association starts with pre-conference of 2006 and her outstanding creative web support – a very useful component of the conference. Bart’s entry was through a strategic planning meeting ‘what after the conference2006? With outstanding facilitation, he prepared well, asked us questions, and spent time with most of us to find out what our individual thinking was. I don’t think we have moved much from that rather outstanding deliberation. Overtime his contribution has been through imparting project management skills to most of us in the organisation. Bart and Amanda volunteered to spend their money and visited Vietnam to support Hahn and took part in some rather crucial discussions with host agencies. Although they left the committee are  always ready to offer constructive suggestions in the interest of the organisation.  Bart especially is still keen on assisting us in a consultant role looking at our project plans etc on a need basis. As president, I am personally grateful to both of them.

A word of Appreciation to the committee members:  I must acknowledge as the initiator of the BiSbP , the support that I receive from Christine, Christopher, Dragan, Peter, Ram and Palani.

Warm re-welcome: to Duncan Williams who technically never left us- except that whole of last year he was on a sabbatical.  He continues to be on the committee in right earnest the forthcoming future.

Welcome to Dr. Coralie Graham, Psychologist and Lecturer Central Queensland University as Committee Member.  Coralie was a participant of 2006 Conference and has been part of the faculty of Human Values initiatives at work series that started in 2006.

      Dr Venkat Pulla


President’s Report 2009 Presented on 11 December 2009


·       The year has been very rewarding and extremely busy.

·       We continued our foundation membership for the second year with the Non Profit Network, NFPN.- Australia ( E- minute decision of BISBP 19/01/2009)

·       We have continued to remain members of Australian Youth Ambassadors for development Network for the second year.

·       I was invited to be on an International Advisory Committee of MorphoSys Institute of Behavioural Health, Hyderabad, India The MorphoSys Institute which was conceived by young and dedicated professionals with national and international experience with a vision and mission to develop the best approaches and interventions in behavioural health for the well-being of individual and society. MIBH aims at bringing a change and promote healthy behaviours among individuals, families, academic institutions, health organizations, corporate and industries to maintain good quality of life.  (E-minute decision of BISBP 20/01/2009)

·        Formation of Soul-Gypsy. Much appreciation for the concept, dedication and passion of Dragan Bombek. Soul-Gypsy was nearly born overnight this year.  A show that started on the election day in the month of March, 2009  with a blurb in the local newspaper that asked people to escape the Queensland State election night Dragan Bombek then went ahead and established the Soul Gypsy as a talented ensemble of experienced musicians who reside in Queensland’s great south east. Our current relationship with this group is that it is treated as community project of the Brisbane Institute of Strengths Based Practice with Peter Binyon is Project management seat is considered as part of a broader “nurturing” strategy to strengthen and promote the diversity of our Queensland community through the preservation of the arts and culture heritage. The Second performance of Soul Gypsy was even spectacular at Logan Entertainment Centre on 18th July 2009 with dinner tickets. The third most impressive performance of this group was at the Multicultural Festival in September, 2009 at Roma Street Park Lands which was attended easily by a couple of thousand people. The third programme was free to public and was recognition of the Group and their identity by Queensland Government. We have not made money on this activity. But consider this which music group ever launched it with two ticketed performances straight away?  I would like to congratulate Dragan Bombek and Peter Binyon in that order and pat my family for research help on who are gypsies- that was evidently useful to Peter in his comments.

·       I have good news for this group. They will perform live once again on July 9th 2010 at the Coping, Resilience and Hope Building Asia Pacific Conference and I am also discussing with Malaysian stake holders to carry the group to Sarawak and KL for future performances also at the Conference and the Global world Music festival at Sarawak.

·       AYAD for Vietnam was successful. We have also concluded payment of outstanding agreed resources to Amanda Vos from the surplus generated from Dubrovnik  Conference.

·       Members Chris Montgomery and Dragan Bombek attended skill development courses in membership and sponsorship area. This year.

·       Barcelona and Frankfurt meetings of Eibtm and Imex were attended by Dragan Bombek and Venkat Pulla respectively

·       Venkat used the opportunities to address professional gatherings in Europe for the purposes for Dubrovnik.

·       Sarawak Conference planning visit facilitated by Malaysia Government resources.

·       New Website commencement discussions


2010 Minimal activities.

·        Two New Conferences coming up next year. July 2010 and November 2010

·        Consultations with CTN group New Zealand for joint training with them in Pacific region.

·        Visitors this year A Chinese delegation of 30 senior government and industry officers exploring our approaches to Human Resource Development. Visit and exposure to BISBP was facilitated at Metro College, Greenslopes.

·        Ausaid development project for Nepal

·        Marketing visits for Sarawak Conference to UAE

·        Marketing Victoria Australia and New Zealand

·        Some endorsements from Griffith, AASW, APS

·        Planning visits to Sarawak.

·        New Website development underway

·        4 meetings of the BISBP in 2010

·        Continue to utilise conference meetings and explore new markets in Europe and Asia

Special Appreciation:

To outgoing members of the managing committee Ram. Ram’s entry was critical after Rita Kugler’s interstate move. Ram has been with us as treasurer. Christopher moves side ways today and Ram with his expertise moves into the consultants group. As president, I am personally grateful to Ram for his support during these two years.  A word of Appreciation to the committee members:  I must acknowledge as the initiator of the BiSbP, the support that I receive from Christine, Christopher, Dragan, Peter, Ram and Palani. There are also new members joining us today. Duncan Williams moves into consultants group. Dr. Coralie Graham and Rita Kugler continue to be on the membership.

 Dr Venkat Pulla


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