Notable Alumni

Since its founding 100 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, not-for-profit organisation, and host of other fields. Here is a sampling of some of the notable alumni to come out of our programmes.

Stay connected with your fellow alumni in Australia and around the world through the University's network of alumni groups, alumni publications and social networks.

Anne Summers

Anne Summers

Dr Anne Summers AO, is an Australian writer and columnist, best known as a leading feminist, and author of the highly acclaimed Damned Whores and God's Police.

Summers received a postgraduate scholarship to complete a PhD at the University of Sydney, which she used to write Damned Whores and God's Police, an investigation into how Australia's history and culture have limited women's roles in society. Since its publication in 1975 it has sold more than 100,000 copies.

Summers worked as a journalist for The National Times, during which time she was awarded a Walkley Award for her investigation into NSW prisons which led to a royal commission. She has also acted as political advisor to Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, and headed the Office of the Status of Women in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet during the Keating years.


Tim Soutphommasane

Tim Soutphommasane

Dr Tim Soutphommasane is a political philosopher, social commentator, writer, and Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner.

After graduating from the University of Sydney, Soutphommasane went on to the University of Oxford, where he completed a Master of Philosophy and a Doctor of Philosophy in political theory.

He is the author of four books: I'm Not Racist But... 40 years of the Race Discrimination Act(2014), The Virtuous Citizen: Patriotism in a Multicultural Society (2012), Don't Go Back To Where You Came From: Why Multiculturalism Works (2012) which won the NSW Premier's Literary Award, and Reclaiming Patriotism: Nation-Building for Australian Progressives (2009).


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.

After leaving the University of Sydney, Kirby was appointed in 1975 as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation & Arbitration Commission. He went on to be appointed as 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, Kirby 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.


Noa Sheer

Noa Sheer

Noa Sheer is a negotiations specialist and has worked with some of the world's largest international human rights organisations on peacebuilding projects.

Sheer graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts (Advanced) majoring in Government and International Relations and Philosophy. She went on to work with the Geneva Initiative, which focuses on providing realistic and achievable solutions in issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on previous official negotiations and international resolutions. Sheer also interned with UNHCR as an External Relations and Public Information Coordinator, as well as UN Women in the Human Rights Division.

In 2015 Sheer founded Sheer Negotiations, which provides bespoke training and consultation in negotiation skills, to assist with business deals.


Mark Scott

Mark Scott

Mark Scott AO is an Australian businessman, who is best know for leading the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's major expansion into digital and on-line technology, during his time as managing director.

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.

Scott has served as Editor-in-Chief of Metropolitan newspapers at Fairfax, and was named Editor in Chief of Metropolitan, Regional and Community newspapers. He also served as Editorial Director at Fairfax, where he was responsible for the management of its newspaper and magazine divisions.

Scott is currently the Secretary of the New South Wales Department of Education. He is responsible for more than 2000 schools and around 49,000 teachers in the state.


Hon. Reba Meagher

Hon. Reba Meagher

The Hon Reba Meagher is a former Australian politician who was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, representing the electoral district of Cabramatta. She served as minister in various portfolios from 2003 to 2008.

Meagher also held the role of Parliamentary Secretary for Police in 2001-2003 and Parliamentary Secretary for Roads from 1999-2001, and was a Member of Parliament (NSW) 1994-2008.

She is currently Director of RPM Counsel and Wellways Australia, as well as a Management Consultant for Sister of Charity Foundation.


Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning author

Geraldine Brooks AO is an Australian American journalist and novelist whose novel, March, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Following her graduation from the University of Sydney Brooks went on to work as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald, followed by The Wall Street Journal, where she covered conflict in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans.

In 2006, Brooks received the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for her novel March. Her first book, Nine Parts of Desire, is an international bestseller and has been translated into seventeen languages.