Notre Dame Academic awarded 2008 Sydney Peace Prize

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 12-11-2008

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Broome Campus

Publication Place



Prominent Indigenous leader and Professor at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s, Broome Campus, Patrick Dodson, was awarded the 2008 Sydney Peace Prize on 6 November.

The award was made for Professor Dodson’s ‘courageous advocacy of the human rights of Indigenous people, for distinguished leadership for the reconciliation movement and for a lifetime of commitment to peace with justice through dialogue and many other expressions of non-violence.’

The Sydney Peace Prize is the only international peace prize awarded in Australia and is given to people who make significant contributions to peace with justice. Patrick is only the second Australian recipient.

In 2001, former Governor-General Sir William Deane was awarded the prize and other winners include Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson.

Commenting on the news of this year’s choice of the Sydney Peace Prize, the Director of the Edmund Rice Centre, Phil Glendenning said ‘This is a wonderful choice. Patrick is a great communicator, a significant leader, the nearest Australia has to a Nelson Mandela.’

Professor Dodson delivered the City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture on 5 November at the Sydney Opera House.

In the lecture he said, “There are times in the life struggle for justice and peace when one wonders if your voice is ever heard or your message understood by anyone. It gives me great satisfaction to know that tonight the many voices of the Aboriginal leaders who have gone before me have in fact been heard and that their days of mourning are beginning to be responded to by a nation and world that has for so long appeared disinterested and deaf to our cries for, in the words of Archie Roach, A Justice Done.”

Professor Patrick Dodson is one of the nation's best-known leaders in the advancement of Reconciliation, and is the founder of national Aboriginal advocacy organisation, the Lingiari Foundation.

Professor Patrick Dodson is a Yawuru man from Broome, Western Australia. As the former Chairman of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, he advanced national and international debate on the rights of Indigenous Australians and the dire need for a transformation of relationships between the wider nation state, its citizens and the first people of this continent.

He was also a Commissioner within the land-mark Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in Australia. Concluding his lecture, Professor Dodson stated, “Our nation, Australia, now has the chance to construct a new society built on equality and justice and in harmony with the land and its people. It is not an impossible task provided that we have the love and enthusiasm to begin the journey – the rest will follow.”

Media contact Lyn Quince (08) 9192 0602