Notable Alumni

Since its founding nearly 80 years ago, the Department of Government and International Relations has educated thousands of students from Australia and abroad. Many of our alumni have gone on to illustrious careers in politics, the media, and host of other fields. Here is a sampling of some of the notable alumni to come out of our programmes.

Geraldine Brooks - Pulitzer Prize Winning Author

Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning author

Photo credit: Randi Baird

Geraldine Brooks was born in Sydney, and attended Bethlehem College Ashfield before matriculating to the University of Sydney.

After working as a feature writer at The Sydney Morning Herald for three years, she won the Greg Shackleton Australian News Correspondents scholarship to the journalism master’s program at Columbia University in New York City in 1982. From there, she went on to work for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans.

In 2006, Ms Brooks received the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for her novel 'March'. Her other novels "Year of Wonders" and "People of the Book" have become international bestsellers, being translated into 20 languages. She has also published the nonfiction works "Nine Parts of Desire" and "Foreign Correspondence".

(Sourced from

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

Michael Kirby

The Hon Michael Kirby retired from the High Court of Australia in February 2009 as the longest-serving judge in the nation's history.

At the University of Sydney, Michael Kirby received a BA in 1958, LLB in 1962, BEc in 1966 and was the only LLM student to receive first-class honours in 1967. His fifth Sydney degree was conferred in 1996 when he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Law; he also holds 12 additional honorary doctorates from Australian and overseas universities.

After leaving the University of Sydney, Michael Kirby was appointed in 1975 as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation & Arbitration Commission. He would go on to be appointed a judge of the Federal Court of Australia, President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal and, concurrently, the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands. His appointment to the High Court came in 1996 and he served thirteen years. In later years, he was Acting Chief Justice of Australia twice.

Over the course of the past four decades, Michael Kirby served on three university governing bodies, including as Chancellor of Macquarie University in Sydney (1984-93). In addition, he has served as a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Commission on AIDS (1988-92); President of the International Commission of Jurists, Geneva (1995-8); as UN Special Representative Human Rights in Cambodia (1993-6); a member of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (1995-2005); a member of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Judicial Reference Group (2007-) and a member of the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights (2004-).

Since his judicial retirement, Michael Kirby has remained active in the global law community. From 2009-2010, he served as President of the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia. He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Laws of Australia.

Michael Kirby has received a number of very prestigious awards for his work. In 2010, he was awarded the Gruber Justice Prize. He is also presently a member of the Eminent Persons Group which is investigating the future of the Commonwealth of Nations; and has been appointed to the UNDP Global Commission of HIV and the Law. In 2010, he was appointed to the Arbitration Panel of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (World Bank).

(Sourced from

Mark Scott - Managing Director of the ABC

Mark Scott, Managing Director of the ABC

Mark Scott completed a Bachelor of Arts in Government at the University of Sydney, later going on to complete a Masters in Public Administration at Harvard University.

Mr Scott spent 12 years in various editorial and executive roles at John Fairfax publications. Between 2003-2005, he served as Editor-in-Chief of Metropolitan newspapers at the organisation, and was named Editor in Chief of Metropolitan, Regional and Community newspapers in 2005. Before moving the Australian Broadcasting Company, Mr Scott served as Editorial Director at Fairfax, where he was responsible for the management of its newspaper and magazine divisions.

(Sourced from the ABC website.)