UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture series

Promoting freedom, truth and reconciliation 

Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre the UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture series promotes the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals and the value of truth and reconciliation in life and public affairs.

The series was established in 2008 to honour the late Nelson Mandela, who served as the Hawke Centre's First International Patron (2001-2013).

The patronage of Nelson Mandela, one of the twentieth century’s outstanding humanitarian leaders, sent an enduring message about the Hawke Centre and its commitment to education, justice, responsible leadership and active citizenship locally and internationally. The patronage also reflected his relationship with Bob Hawke. Mr Mandela recognised Bob Hawke’s actions against the apartheid regime as critical to his release from prison.


Archive: 2008 - 2017

2017 UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture: The Mandela Factor – The Centrality and Universality of Human Rights Norms both Internationally and within Australia

Geoffrey Robertson QC In Conversation with The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

Hear from two of the world's leading human rights commentators and defenders.

Geoffrey Robertson QC and The Hon Michael Kirby explore the world's most pressing human rights issues, offering their perspective and potential solutions.


Geraldine Cox

2016 UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture: Wealth of a Different Kind

Geraldine Cox AM

Geraldine Cox is often described as an Aussie living legend. This fierce and determined woman gave up a life of excess and luxury to live in Cambodia and look after some of the poorest people on the planet. Geraldine highlights that community development with a focus on education and health is the only way to truly enable some of the poorest people in the world to create a tangible, lasting, wealth of a different kind. 


Professor Hilary Charlesworth

2015 - The Good Citizen of Australia: Human rights and citizenship in the twenty-first century

Professor Hilary Charlesworth

A number of governments, including Australia’s, have proposed the revocation of citizenship as a means to deter engagement in terrorism. This lecture will consider the political and legal context of these proposals and discuss their compatibility with international human rights standards.  


2014 - Making partners of enemies: the Irish peace process

Mary McAleese

Nelson Mandela once remarked "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner”. How do communities put aside what is considered to be intractable violence and instead commit to peace and stability? Former Irish President, Mary McAleese, discussed the ongoing Irish peace process, in conversation with political journalist and commentator journalist, Annabel Crabb.


Eyal Weizman

2012 - Walls and wars, rights and ruins    

Professor Eyal Weizman    

From the rubble of Gaza to the destroyed villages of Darfur, and from the scorched earth of the Guatemalan highlands to the satellite surveillance of nuclear sites in Iran, Professor Weizman argued, architecture and its ruins are the vehicle for understanding and communicating the meaning of contemporary and recent affairs. 



2010 - Is it necessary to love your neighbours?    

Dr Ashis Nandy    

In his address Dr Nandy challenged Western-inspired cultural correctness. He shared ideas about diverse communities living together through an ‘alternative cosmopolitanism’, where there is ongoing stability, but not the necessity to pretend to ‘love’ one another. 


Unity Dow

2009 - Through their eyes: of diamond rings and cows 

Unity Dow    

Unity Dow examined how dominant cultures claim the right to define the norm, and consequently define what is abnormal or aberrant. She considered how Western culture had undermined African culture - urging Africa to not readily accept a view as valid just because the West offers it. 


Musimbi Kanyoro

2008 - A vision of a world where benefits accrue to all 

Dr Musimbi Kanyoro    

Presenting the inaugural Nelson Mandela lecture, Dr Musimbi Kanyoro described how contemporary globalisation involves stark contrasts, with great gaps between the powerful and powerless. She outlined her vision of an ethical approach to globalisation, one that applies a human rights framework. 



While the views presented by speakers within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia, or The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future. The Hawke Centre reserves the right to change their program at any time without notice.