Lowitja O’Donoghue Oration 2024 Professor Tom Calma AO

29 May 2024

6.30 pm - 8.00 pm

Elder Hall, The University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, Kaurna Country

The Don Dunstan Foundation is proud to present the 17th annual Lowitja O’Donoghue Oration.

This year’s Oration will be delivered by Professor Tom Calma AO, on Wednesday 29 May 2024, entitled “Looking Back to Look Forward – lessons from the past to influence actions of the future“.

Professor Tom Calma AO FAA FASSA FAHA is an Aboriginal Elder from the Kungarakan tribal group and a member of the Iwaidja and Woolwonga tribal groups in the Top End of the NT. He has a long and distinguished career in academia, public service bureaucracy, social justice and community development. Professor Calma was the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner (2004-2010) and the Race Discrimination Commissioner (2004-2009) with the Australian Human Rights Commission, and Chancellor of the University of Canberra (2014-2023).

His call for Australia to address the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in 2006 was the catalyst for the Close the Gap Campaign that led to the government’s Closing the Gap initiative in 2008. He was instrumental in establishing the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and he co-led the co-design of a Voice to Parliament initiative with Professor Dr Marcia Langton AO. He was the 2023 Senior Australian of the Year and he is the inaugural Indigenous Australian appointed a Fellow to the Australian Academy of Science.

The Oration honours the influential Aboriginal leader, the late Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue AC CBE DSG, and seeks to highlight vital issues for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Oration is presented by the Don Dunstan Foundation in collaboration with Reconciliation SA; The University of Adelaide; Flinders University; the Lowitja Institute and the Lowitja O’Donoghue Foundation. The Lowitja O’Donoghue Oration  honours the cultural respect between Don Dunstan and Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue.

Dr O’Donoghue was a Yankunytjatjara woman who dedicated her life to improving the welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. She passed away on February 4, 2024 on Kaurna Country.

In 2021, Dr O’Donoghue was presented with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University (honoris causa) by The University of Adelaide.

You may also like to purchase a Pay It Forward ticket that can be provided to a member of the community who might not otherwise be able to attend.

The Foundation would like to thank BHP, the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation division within the Department of Premier and Cabinet and SA Power Networks, for supporting the event.

Book now