UTS alumni recognised for outstanding work supporting human rights

14 December 2016

Social justice, equity and respect for diversity are threads woven into the fabric of UTS, with the university producing graduates who are striving to create change in their fields and who are working towards social good. This week several UTS alumni were recognised for their passion and commitment to human rights by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Genevieve Clay-Smith The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has acknowledged the outstanding contribution of four UTS graduates in promoting and protecting human rights and freedoms at the 2016 Human Rights Awards, at a special ceremony in Sydney.

The Human Rights Awards is the pinnacle of human rights recognition in Australia and 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Australian Human Rights Commission, giving this year’s program extra significance.

From advocating for law reform to fusing creative vision with inclusivity and diversity, and exposing human rights violations, all four UTS alumni recognised by the Awards program are leaving their mark on the world.

Journalists Caro Meldrum-Hanna (Bachelor of Arts in Communications Bachelor of Laws, 2007) and Mary Fallon (Master of Arts Journalism, 2010) were jointly presented the Media Award for their ABC’s Four Corners program, ‘Australia’s Shame’, exposing the mistreatment of young people in the Northern Territory detention system.

The 2015 UTS Young Alumni Award recipient and Director and Co-Founder of Bus Stop Films Genevieve Clay-Smith ( Bachelor of Arts in Communication, 2009) was recognised with the Community Organisation Award for Bus Stop’s  provision of film studies and film-making opportunities for people with disabilities, as well as advocacy for inclusion in the film industry.

As Director of Kingsford Legal Centre, Anna Cody (Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice, 1994) has provided high quality case work to thousands of disadvantaged people, as well as advocating for law reform to address systemic human rights breaches, and her efforts were celebrated with the 2016 Law Award.

The Awards were presented at a special ceremony hosted by actor Magda Szubanski in Sydney on Friday 9 December. Dame Quentin Bryce, former Governor-General and Sex Discrimination Commissioner, delivered the keynote address paying special tribute to 30 years of human rights in Australia and multi-award winning Aboriginal singer and songwriter Archie Roach wowed guests with his stirring musical performance. AHRC President Professor Gillian Triggs congratulated all winners on their outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and freedoms in her opening address.

The Awards most prestigious accolade, the 2016 Human Rights Medal, was presented to Pat Anderson AO, a tireless advocate for the rights and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. As Chair of the Lowitja Institute and co-chair of the Prime Minister's Referendum Council, Anderson has made an exceptional contribution to advancing the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly in regards to education, health, early childhood development, and violence against women and children.

Previous winners of the Human Rights Medal include Peter Greste, Ian Thorpe, Eddie Mabo, the Rt Hon. Malcom Fraser, Ron Merkel QC, Sister Clare Condon, Dorothy Hoddinott and Elizabeth Evatt.

UTS is incredibly proud of all four alumni included in this important Awards program and the wonderful example they provide for UTS staff, students and their fellow alumni. Meldrum-Hanna, Fallon, Clay-Smith and Cody are exceptional ambassadors for UTS’s ongoing commitment to social justice.

  • Click here for more information on the Human Rights Awards
  • Click here to read the UTS Social Justice Report