AuSI Annual Lecture: Craig Foster AM delivers a profound speech
"We, Australians, are capable of so much more."
On Wednesday 23 March 2022, Mr Craig Foster AM (Former Socceroo, Broadcaster, Adjunct Professor Sport & Social Responsibility, and Human Rights Activist) delivered the 2021 ‘Australia and the World’ Annual Lecture: ‘Human Rights, Democracy and Global Citizenry - Recovering Australia's Humanity and Place in the World’ at the National Press Club of Australia.
We sincerely appreciate Professor Mark Kenny for moderating the event, and our ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian P. Schmidt AC FAA FRS, the National Press Club of Australia, and our audience for supporting the event.
About the Lecture
Despite having colonised in boats and the decades-long rhetoric demonising innocent people fleeing persecution by water, Australia is itself lost in a sea of cruelty to asylum seekers and refugees that has afflicted the national psyche, normalised the 'othering' of foreign and local communities, weakened the international compact for vulnerable people, exported the dehumanisation of refugees and shattered Australia's sense of egalitarianism and fairness.
Recalcitrance on climate action and a withdrawal from commitments to the international community raises the question as to Australia's role in the world.
How can we contribute to an international humanitarian order when we can't reconcile with the racism of colonisation and centuries of oppression, or the right of people to seek safety?
Can we live with the hypocrisy of wanting Australians to have access to open justice internationally, while we close our own?
And what implications does our own conduct have for those committing egregious human rights atrocities on a grander scale?
In the ANU's annual Australia and the World Lecture, Craig Foster will explore Australia's role in the world through the lens of asylum seekers and refugees, human rights and democratic principles and argue the case for an Australia that lives up to its commitments as a responsible global citizen, one with a clear vision of, and pride in itself, as a leading force for humanity.
About the Speaker
Following a celebrated football career as Australia’s 419th Socceroo & 40th Captain, Craig enjoyed an 18-year, triple Logie winning career with Australia’s multicultural broadcaster, Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).
A member of the Australian Multicultural Council, Craig is an Adjunct Professor of Sport & Social Responsibility with Torrens University and works across a vast range of social programs from indigenous rights and self-determination, homelessness, climate action along with refugee advocacy as an Ambassador for The Big Issue Street Soccer Program; Amnesty Australia; Australia Committee member with Human Rights Watch; Director of the Nangala Foundation for early literacy in Indigenous communities and the Moriarty Foundation for Indigenous football programs; Advisory Council member of the Australian Human Rights Institute, UNSW; and the Affinity Intercultural Foundation.
Craig is a former Chairman, Life Member and CEO of Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), Australia’s representative body of the Socceroos, Matildas and professional players where, as Chair, he oversaw the introduction of a gender quota at governance level, is a former Director of the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
His humanitarian activism extends to several high profile, global campaigns including #SaveHakeem to free Bahraini refugee Hakeem al-Araibi from a Thai prison for which he was a Finalist for the Australian Human Rights Commission Medal, #GameOver to call for the resettlement and freedom of over 400 refugees and asylum seekers indefinitely detained by Australia in PNG and Nauru for eight years and #PlayForLives which is a humanitarian response by sport to the COVID-19 pandemic which began in Australia and expanded internationally. Today, Craig is a key driver behind #RacismNotWelcome by all Local Government Associations Australia-wide to normalise acknowledgement of, and action against, racism in Australia.
He is an author and co-author of several books including ‘Fighting for Hakeem’ by Hachette Australia and writes for the Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and other publications.
In 2019, the Australian Financial Review recognised Craig as a ‘True Australian Leader’, the Sydney Morning Herald as one of the ‘People that Defined 2019, he was the recipient of the 2020 NSW Government Humanitarian Award for his work with sport and human rights, an Australian Human Rights Commission Medal finalist, was awarded the Australian Muslim Council Abyssinian Medal and was a finalist for NSW 2021 Australian of the Year.
Craig received the ‘Australian Sports Award’ for outstanding contribution in 2000 and became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2021 Australia Day Honours List for services to multiculturalism, refugee rights and support organisations, broadcasting and football.
He delivered the opening address for the Centre for Sport and Human Rights Conference, 2019, United Nations, Geneva, the 2019 Higginbotham Lecture for RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia and soon the annual Nelson Mandela Lecture for the University of South Australia in 2021.
Craig holds a Bachelor of Laws, Master’s Degree in International Sports Management and a Postgraduate Degree in Football Management.
Craig Foster AM - National Press Club of Australia (npc.org.au)
In case you missed it
View the full transcript of the lecture
Watch the lecture on ABC iview or via YouTube