By Olivia Bunter
Dr Nathan Leber does not seem to mind keeping a busy schedule as he currently balances a part-time study load with his new role as Justice Educator at Caritas Australia.
Dipping his toes in every pond, Nathan has garnered skills as a musician, lectured in university halls, and has also taken the role of a deputy principal in his stride before embracing his new role at Caritas.
He described his career to date as a wonderful experience as he has circulated around Perth to different schools, discussing and raising awareness about social justice issues to students and teachers.
“We’re trying to do something really good in the world,” Nathan explained in a recent interview with The Record.
“There’s great opportunities to expand what we do at Caritas, and that’s something I’m excited about pursuing.
“I want to make sure the job that I do here is meaningful and we set things up for the future.”
According to Caritas Australia website, the global education team at Caritas Australia works to enable people to learn more about poverty, providing resources, student workshops and professional development for educators.
Nathan explained that a popular topic that he speaks about is Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Laudato Si’, which highlights the idea of stewardship of creation, the awareness that humankind has this world entrusted to us and that we need to look after it.
“We look at the scriptural relevance, the obligations,” Nathan explained.
“We also look at Laudato Si’ to demonstrate that we have an obligation to this planet, not just to get out of it what we can, but to actually look after it and also the idea of fair distribution of the wealth of the world.”
But the road to his current role certainly has not been drawn in a straight line.
Nathan described his academic and professional past as of “varied existence”.
“I was trained at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts,” he noted.
“I was trained in both jazz and contemporary music, before injuring in my arm which ended my professional music career.”
Undeterred, Nathan decided to continue his studies elsewhere, focusing on Latin, Classical Greek and Ancient History.
He later gained his doctorate before teaching at the University of Western Australia and venturing to the eastern states.
“The spirit takes me where the spirit takes me and I always find I’m exactly where I need to be at whatever time.”
Over the course of the next few years, Nathan stated that he would like to as busy possible, talking to students and teachers about social justice issues and the importance of doing good deeds.
Nathan said he is keen to encourage students that he meets to follow the see, judge act mindset, not only for assessment purposes but to encourage them to do something for themselves.
“It’s important that we look at the Catholic teachings of why we need social justice, why we need to act on social justice issues,” Nathan said.
“I look to the Epistle of James, where he talks about faith and good deeds (2:14).
“This is what we do to engage with young people and help them to understand and appreciate that we do have an obligation to social justice as Catholics,” he concluded.