Facing the fights ahead: Advancing protection at the new frontiers

17 Nov 2020, 8-9pm AEDT

The decade ahead.jpg

It’s time for critical thinking on critical issues. People around the world have shown solidarity that few had experienced before the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, societies are revealing a growing nationalism and a shrinking space for human rights defenders; trust in institutions is waning; journalism is being hollowed out; and a crude, angry and often misinformed social media is standing in as our public discourse. How do we advance human rights – including for refugees – amid all this? Our panel of leading thinkers will debate the courses we can take through these challenges.


Michael Ignatieff

President and Rector, Central European University


Born in Canada, educated at the University of Toronto and Harvard, Michael Ignatieff is a university professor, writer and former politician. His major publications are The Needs of Strangers (1984), Scar Tissue (1992), Isaiah Berlin (1998), The Rights Revolution (2000), Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry (2001), The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (2004), Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics (2013), and The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World (2017). Between 2006 and 2011, he served as an MP in the Parliament of Canada and then as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition. He is a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and holds thirteen honorary degrees. Between 2012 and 2015 he served as Centennial Chair at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York. Between 2014 and 2016 he was Edward R. Murrow Chair of Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is currently the Rector and President of Central European University. 

Gillian Triggs

UN Assistant High Commissioner for Protection

@GillianTriggs @Refugees

Gillian Triggs is UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, appointed on 9 August 2019. Ms Triggs is a renowned expert in international law who has held a number of eminent appointments in service to human rights and the refugee cause, including most recently as the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission and a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow and Emeritus Professor at the University of Melbourne. She oversees UNHCR’s protection work for millions of refugees, internally displaced, stateless and other people of concern. An Australian national, she has previously held a number of leadership roles, including as President of the Asian Development Bank Administrative Tribunal, Chair of the UN Independent Expert Panel of Inquiry into Abuse of Office and Harassment in UNAIDS, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney, and Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London. She has been closely associated with a number of not-for-profit organizations throughout her career, including most recently as Chair of Justice Connect, an organization that connects 10,000 lawyers to provide pro bono advice to asylum seekers and others in need of legal support in Australia. She is also the author of many books and papers on public international law.


Journalist and asylum seeker

'Sultan' is Saudi Arabian journalist who is seeking asylum in Australia. He is appearing under a pseudonym as his asylum claim is still pending.

Chair: Osman Faruqi

Editor, 7am Podcast


Osman Faruqi is the editor of 7am, Schwartz Media’s daily news podcast. He was previously the deputy editor of ABC Life and an award-winning reporter with the ABC’s flagship audio documentary program, Background Briefing. He presents on The Mix, the ABC’s arts and culture TV program, and was formerly Junkee Media’s news and politics editor. He has judged the Walkley Awards and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and sat on the Board of FBi Radio. He’s currently writing a book about race relations in Australia, due out in 2021. 

Image credit: UNHCR/Markel Redondo