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Annual Report 2013-14

Feature profiles

Profile | Captain Mona Shindy, RAN

Building Defence capability through cultural understanding

Head of the Guided Missile Frigate System Program Office, Captain Mona Shindy, is also the Chief of Navy’s appointed Strategic Adviser on Islamic Cultural Affairs.

As part of her role as Strategic Adviser on Islamic Cultural Affairs, Captain Shindy works to help create a better understanding among Defence members of the Islamic faith, traditions and cultural sensitivities.

Captain Shindy explained how this work helps to improve Defence capability.

‘It gives our people, particularly when working with our close Muslim-allied navies, a better understanding and appreciation of serving Muslims, their needs and how they view the world’, she said.

Another key function of the role is to increase the appeal of the Navy as an employer of choice among the Australian Muslim community.

A member of a large, culturally diverse extended family, and involved in many community and school mentoring programs, Captain Shindy is determined to motivate and inspire others, and is passionate about encouraging more Muslims to think about the ADF and the Navy as a career.

In 2013, Captain Shindy participated in the Community Relations Commission’s outreach to the International Fleet Review. She was also instrumental in the establishment of an Australian Navy Cadet Unit, comprising many culturally diverse groups, in western Sydney.

‘The new cadet unit highlights the wonderful way in which the RAN gives back to the community, enriching and enhancing the lives of young Australians’, she said.

‘Through the Australian Navy Cadets Youth Development Program, teenagers are given great skills for life. I feel privileged to be involved with this and I am excited for the current and future youth of western Sydney.’

Egyptian-born Captain Shindy joined the RAN in 1989 as an undergraduate engineer. She holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Hons) and a Masters of Commerce (Advanced Major in Organisation and Management Studies) from the University of New South Wales.

She said her career has exposed her to a broad range of technologies and experiences in and around the Defence Materiel Organisation. She has seen everything from active service at the start of the 2003 Iraq War to shore positions involving overseeing myriad complex programs.

‘As a mother, I would like to think I am helping to create a future for my children where they feel understood, included, and respected’, she said.

Captain Shindy said that, although there have been challenges, the ADF and the Navy are well positioned to improve cultural sensitivity. She said she is honoured to be working with the Chief of Navy and Defence on this critical issue.