News & Events

Prof Noam Chomsky in Australia to receive the 2011 Sydney Peace Prize

November, 2011

Distinguished American linguist, social scientist and human rights campaigner Professor Noam Chomsky is the 2011 recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize. Prof Chomsky was in Sydney from Wednesday 2nd November to Friday 4th November to receive Australia’s only international prize for peace.

Prof Noam Chomsky's City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture will be broadcast on the ABC's Big Ideas on WEDNESDAY 30th NOVEMBER, 11am ABC 1.
Click here for a full transcript of the City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture.

Official public engagements to honour this award, hosted by the Sydney Peace Foundation and attended by Prof Chomsky, included:

- Wednesday 2nd November, 7 pm Sydney Town Hall: City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture by Prof Noam Chomsky.
Welcomed to the stage by a standing ovation, the 2000-strong crowd were eager to show their appreciation to Prof Chomsky, whose life's work as a challenger of unjust power has lent influence and inspiration to activists world wide.

-Thursday 3rd November, 10:30am Sydney Opera House: Chaired by veteran Australian broadcaster Mary Kostakidis, Prof Chomsky answered audience questions on ‘Problems of Knowledge and Freedom’- linguistics, global politics, human rights, responses to climate change, the nature of democracy.

- Thursday 3rd November, 7pm MacLaurin Hall, the University of Sydney: Gala Dinner where Patrick Dodson awarded Noam Chomsky with the 2011 Sydney Peace Prize; a $50,000 prize and a hand-made glass trophy crafted by the Australian artist Brian Hirst.

- Friday 4th November, 8:30am Cabramatta High School – “Voices Inspiring Peace”. A welcome by thousands of high school student, hundreds in national costumes from all over the world, in a music and dance festival to honour Noam Chomsky. The release of two dozen peace doves in that day’s finale was the last piece of Sydney hospitality for Noam Chomsky.

The Sydney Peace Foundation thanks Prof Chomsky for his generosity of spirit and commitment to the promotion of peace with justice by coming to Sydney to accept Australia's only international prize for peace

EMPIRE inspired by the work of Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy & Wikileaks.

To celebrate and honour Prof Chomsky's visit to Australia to receive the Sydney Peace Prize, we invite you to attend:

EMPIRE A thought provoking play by Kinetic Energy Theatre Company, inspired by the work of Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy & Wikileaks.

EMPIRE is an adaptation of two political essays by Arundhati Roy: "The loneliness of Noam Chomsky", written in honour of Chomsky for his monumental legacy as analyst of Power and the Mass Media. And: "Confronting Empire", Roy's passionate call for resistance and change.

This gritty play draws an arch right from the birth of the "Idea of America" to the US Empire's present day excesses. Australian audiences no doubt will draw parallels to their own colonial past and post-colonial present.

What lies behind the phrases 'Free Speech', the 'Free Market', the 'Free World' and that beautiful, sunny word 'Freedom'...

Fifty minutes of wit, pathos, music and visual imagery exposing a Machiavellian world in Free Fall

Dates: November 3-6
Thursday 3rd at 5pm (preview)
Friday 4th at 9pm
Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th at 8pm

Venue: St Luke's Hall, 11 Stanmore Road, Enmore
Tickets: $15/$10

bookings/inquiries: 8313 9014
on line booking:

Time for action on Sri Lanka war crimes

The Sydney Peace Foundation invites you to attend:

Time for action on Sri Lanka war crimes
Where journalism led, will governments follow?

A public forum, Thursday 27 October, 6.00-7.30 pm
New Law Seminar Room 030, University of Sydney.

Shelves are groaning with reports by human rights monitors, amassing evidence of atrocities in
Sri Lanka’s civil war. Audiences in Australia - and many other countries - have seen the
documentary, made by the UK’s Channel Four TV, with its compelling visual material. And yet
governments - and international bodies such as the UN and the Commonwealth - hold back
from decisive action. What can Australia do? What can journalists do? What can YOU do?

New Law Seminar Room 030, University of Sydney,
Thursday 27 October, 6.00-7.30 pm

  • Senator Lee Rhiannon, NSW Greens
  • Professor Wendy Bacon, Australian Centre for Independent
  • Journalism (UTS)Associate Professor Jake Lynch, CPACS
  • Chair: Brami Jegan, Sri Lanka Human Rights Project, CPACS

More information:
9351 7686

Bradley Manning versus the Culture of Revenge : Tuesday 2 August 2011

A forum presented by Sydney Solidarity for Bradley Manning in association with the Sydney Peace Foundation and the Greens NSW

Chair: David Shoebridge MLC

Panel: Prof Wendy Bacon, Prof Stuart Rees, Dr Ben Saul

US Army soldier Bradley Manning, allegedly the whistleblower who released much of the material published by WikiLeaks, has reportedly said:

I want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.

The leaks– including the "Collateral Murder" video of a helicopter attack on journalists, children and other Iraqis, US State Department diplomatic cables, and documents on the Guantánamo Bay – detainees show a vengeful culture of war, incarceration, and distortion of the truth. Bradley Manning has himself become a target of this culture, harshly imprisoned for over a year without trial and subjected to demonisation in the media.

The forum will discuss the gulf between the principles of Bradley's apparent stand and the response to it from the US government and world media. It will consider how – if he is the leaker – his heroically sane example to humanity may help to instigate a change from a culture of secrecy and revenge towards an open, empathetic society, more able to face the great challenges of achieving peace, sustainability and social justice.

When: Tuesday 2 August 2011 – 6 for 6:30 pm to 8:15 pm
Where: Theatrette, Parliament of NSW, Macquarie St, Sydney
Cost: Free, but we request that you please register online to ensure seats.
Register at

Noam Chomsky Announced as 2011 Sydney Peace Prize Recipient

‘In a time of violence and abuses of human rights, a brilliant, inspiring choice.’

On June 1, at the Sydney Town Hall, Her Excellency The Govenor of New South Wales Professor Marie Bashir announced distinguished American linguist, social scientist and human rights campaigner, Professor Noam Chomsky, as the 2011 Sydney Peace Prize Recipient.

The Sydney jury’s citation for this award reads:

‘For inspiring the convictions of millions about a common humanity and for unfailing moral courage. For critical analysis of democracy and power, for challenging secrecy, censorship and violence and for creating hope through scholarship and activism to promote the attainment of universal human rights.’

Speaking from his home in Boston, Professor Chomsky says, ‘I am honoured to receive this prestigious award. I very much look forward to coming to Sydney.’

Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Professor Stuart Rees, says, ‘Professor Chomsky is one of the West’s most influential intellectuals in the cause of peace, the most significant challenger of unjust power.

‘This inspiring choice comes at a time of violence and protest around the world. Across the Middle East brave people challenge authoritarian rule, yearn for freedom and for a state of their own. Yet, in Australia, leading politicians are still to find the courage to craft policies, such as those affecting refugees and asylum seekers, which reflect the hopes and standards set by Chomsky’s life and work.

‘Come November 2011, I suspect thousands of Australians will not only take the opportunity to hear Professor Chomsky speak, but will also want to express their gratitude to him.’

Professor Chomsky will give the City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture in the Sydney Town Hall on Wednesday November 2nd., and will receive the $50,000 prize plus a hand-made glass trophy crafted by the Australian artist Brian Hirst, at a gala dinner held at the University of Sydney on Thursday 3rd November.

Media Enquiries:
Melissa McCullough
Media and Publicity Officer | Sydney Peace Foundation | 0432 861 653

Breaking Australia’s Silence - WikiLeaks and Human Rights

Sydney Town Hall Public Forum, March 16th 2011

To watch the WikiLeaks Public Forum in full, please click here.

On March 16, a massive public forum in Sydney Town Hall was called to break Australia’s silence on these critical issues:

  • The denigration of basic liberties, such as freedom of speech and the presumption of innocence.
  • The right of Australians to know what their government is doing in secret in their name.
  • The plight of courageous Australian citizen Julian Assange, who is threatened with the fate of David Hicks unless we, his fellow citizens, act now.
  • The duty of those charged with alerting the public to the truth – journalists, broadcasters, teachers, lawyers, academics – to break their silence and speak up now.

Over two thousand engaged Australians descended on the Sydney Town Hall in an undeniable show of support for WikiLeaks and its founder, Australian-born Julian Assange. Acclaimed journalist, John Pilger; independent Federal MP and whistleblower, Andrew Wilkie; and barrister and human rights advocate, Julian Burnside, addressed the forum that was moderated by Mary Kostakidis.

Speaking to a packed crowd, the panel demanded that Canberra be held to account for its abandonment of the Australian Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. Drawing strong connections between the cases of David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, two Australian citizens forgotten and deceived by their government, the panel implored Australians to stand up for their right to diplomatic protection under the Australian passport. And that the crowd did, with innumerable cheers and ovations setting the tone of the public gathering.

Sydney Peace Foundation Director, Professor Stuart Rees, comments:'This was one of the largest public meetings since the 2003 Iraq war protest. The audience’s response shows a complete mismatch between the attitudes of the Australian Government and that of the general public. In terms of a plea for justice, the biggest ovation went to David Hicks'.

The evening ended with a call to action by John Pilger, ensuring that momentum generated on March 16 is just the beginning of an engaged public movement demanding reforms in political transparency and openness and safeguarding the rights of Australian citizens to protection by their government.

The free forum at Sydney Town Hall was organised by The Sydney Peace Foundation with the generous support of Amnesty International and The City of Sydney.