2015 Faculty of Arts Alumni Award recipients
Lifetime Achievement Award
Professor Peter Singer
BA (Hons) 1968, MA 1969
The Arts Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has made an outstanding, long-term and internationally-recognised contribution to their field of endeavour. The Faculty of Arts was thrilled to award a Lifetime Achievement Award to Peter Singer in 2015. Peter is an internationally recognised moral philosopher and proponent of effective altruism. Often described as the world’s most influential living philosopher, Professor Peter Singer, AC completed both a Bachelor and Master of Arts at the University of Melbourne. He is an Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and Laureate Professor at our own School of Historical and Philosophical Studies. A moral philosopher, Peter has authored countless articles and more than twenty books. In 2004 Peter was recognised as the Australian Humanist of the Year by the Council of Australian Humanist Societies, in 2006 he was voted one of Australia's ten most influential public intellectuals, and on 11 June 2012, he was named a Companion of the Order of Australia for “eminent service to philosophy and bioethics as a leader of public debate and communicator of ideas in the areas of global poverty, animal welfare and the human condition.”
Contribution to the Faculty and University Award
Mr Michael Bartlett
BA 1976, GDipEd 1977
The Contribution to the Faculty and University Award is bestowed upon an individual who has made a significant and sustained contribution to the Faculty and University through outstanding leadership, impact on students, research and teaching, engagement or philanthropy. The 2015 Contribution to the Faculty and University Award was awarded to Michael Bartlett, in recognition of his tireless commitment to the study of Classics at the University of Melbourne. Educated at the University of Melbourne and Cambridge University, Michael’s passion for the classical world continues to this day. In collaboration with staff in the Classics and Archaeology program at the University of Melbourne, in 2008 Michael established the series, 'Classics in the city', which offers a number of seminars across the year on topics devoted to various aspects of antiquity including ancient philosophy, literature, history, music, mythology and archaeology. Since 2013 a key priority of the Melbourne Humanities Foundation Board has been to build support for a Chair in Classics at the University of Melbourne.
Championing all things classical on the Melbourne Humanities Foundation Board, Michael chaired the dedicated group raising funds to support the teaching of Classics and Ancient World Studies. The group’s goal has been to see the Chair of Classics - one of the first chairs established by the University in 1854 - fully funded in perpetuity in order to ensure that the legacy of the ancient world endures for future generations. In April 2013, in his role as Chairman, Michael was able to see the first stage of this task come to fruition following a gift of $20,000 for the purpose of establishing the 'Classics Trust Fund'. The Fund supports not only the establishment and endowment of a chair of Classics, but also teaching and research, and purchase of equipment and facilities for the support of general Classics initiatives. With the assistance of over fifty gifts, including generous support from alumni Mrs Elizabeth and Professor James Tatoulis, the Faculty is delighted that it is now close to Michael's goal.
Ms Erika Feller
BA/LLB (Hons) 1972
The Leadership Award is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in business, community or government. In 2015, the Faculty of Arts proudly presented Ms Erika Feller with this award, for her inspiring leadership in the field of refugee advocacy and humanitarianism. Erika Feller is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs and a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the Univeristy of Melbourne. From 2005 to 2013 Erika held the post of Assistant High Commissioner (Protection), one of the four top management positions with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In this capacity she was responsible for overseeing the protection of 34 million refugees, internally displaced and stateless people. With more than 40 years of experience in international human rights and refugee law, Erika is at the forefront of the development of UN policies, law procedures and frameworks, monitoring the movement and treatment of refugees around the world, including in Australia.
Rising Star Award for Young Alumni
Ms Stephanie Cousins
BA 2005, BPPM (Hons) 2006, MPub&IntLaw 2014
Awarded for her demonstrated excellence in advocacy, campaigning, capacity building, not for profit leadership, program management, Ms Stephanie Cousins received the 2015 Rising Star Award for Young Alumni. A recognized expert in humanitarian and human rights policy, Stephanie is currently Amnesty International's Government Relations Manager, having previously led Oxfam's Public Policy & Advocacy team. Among her many achievements, Stephanie counts input into Australia’s strategy, priorities and agenda on the UN Security Council and the establishment of the Pacific Small Arms Action Group. As Chair of the Pacific Small Arms Action Group, Stephanie oversaw the group’s contribution to the establishment of the legally binding international Arms Trade Treaty in 2013. She has trained Indonesian Defence Force personnel on the protection of civilians and prevention of sexual violence in emergencies, as well as working on secondment as a Humanitarian Policy Advisor with Oxfam International to support international advocacy and UN representation on humanitarian and human rights issues.
In 2007 Stephanie established and directed the first ever refugee camp simulation - Oxfam’s Refugee Realities. This program was designed to educate Australians about the experiences and rights of refugees around the world. Initially located in Melbourne, the simulation involved the coordination of over 200 volunteers, ran for four weeks, and was attended by more than 7,000 people. Partners such as the UNHCR, the Australian Red Cross and the Refugee Council of Australia partnered in the project, which was subsequently funded by AusAID and offered in Canberra and three additional regional locations in 2009 and 2010. As a passionate campaigner for global justice, Stephanie is tireless in her attempts to make the world a fairer and more equal place.
Mr Thomas Woodroofe
The Rising Star Award for Young Alumni recognising outstanding leadership and impact as a global citizen was also awarded to Mr Thomas Woodroofe in 2015. Thom founded Left Right Think-Tank in 2009, for which he was recognised as the Young Victorian of the Year. In 2011 while he was completing his honours thesis on Australia's campaign for the UN Security Council, Thom grasped the opportunity to help galvanise public support behind the campaign. Through his writing, Thom outlined the case for Australia’s bid, culminating in a joint op-ed piece with Kevin Rudd, Alexander Downer and Gareth Evans. Since helping to build the bipartisan case for supporting Australia's bid, Thom has consulted with a number of different countries about how they can best structure their own campaigns for the UN Security Council.
In 2011, Thom also began work to establish Global Voices, which now provides Australia's leading opportunity for young people to attend international diplomatic events. Through Global Voices programs, almost 150 young people have now travelled overseas, fully-funded to events such as the G20, APEC and various UN meetings. Since graduating from a Master of International Relations in late 2012, Thom has worked with Independent Diplomat, the world's first non-profit diplomatic advisory group. He is currently supporting the Republic of the Marshall Islands, one of the lowest lying atoll nations, as they build their diplomatic capacity to influence negotiations for a new global deal on climate change. Working closely with the President, Foreign Minister and Senior Officials as they structure their diplomatic efforts, the Marshall Islands have become one of the most vocal vulnerable countries on climate change during this period. As a 2014 Rhodes Scholar, Thom has moved to Oxford and now completes this work part-time while he writes a thesis on the role of small states in international diplomacy.