Tim Soutphommasane returns to the University of Sydney

21 January 2019
Former Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane has been appointed the University of Sydney's first Professor of Practice (Sociology and Political Theory).
Headshot of Tim Soutphommasane.

Tim Soutphommasane.

The human rights advocate and political theorist will primarily be based in the Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesSchool of Social and Political Sciences, where he will teach in the Master of Human Rights degree.

He will also contribute to the University of Sydney Business School, and work closely with Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence on strategic projects through the unique lens of a Professor of Practice.

“Professor Soutphommasane has made extraordinary contributions to our nation both as a public official and as a research scholar. We are privileged to welcome him back to our University community and I personally look forward to working with him to continue to strengthen cultural change in our institution,” University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence said.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Professor Annamarie Jagose echoed these sentiments and said Professor Soutphommasane’s presence would be an asset to the University’s education, research and culture endeavours.

“Professor Soutphommasane is an admired and prominent figure in Australia whose thinking on multiculturalism, patriotism and national identity has been influential in shaping contemporary debates about human rights, equality and social inclusion,” she said. “I am delighted he is returning to our Faculty where he will help us in the important task of educating future leaders to understand and value cultural difference.”

This is a return to campus for Professor Soutphommasane, who was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Sydney prior to serving as Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner from 2013 to 2018. He is also an alumnus of the University, where he graduated with a first class honours degree in government and international relations, before completing a master’s degree and doctorate in political theory at the University of Oxford.

“I’m honoured by this appointment and excited about going back to my academic roots. I look forward to contributing to the life of the University. The work of universities has undoubtedly become more important than ever,” Professor Soutphommasane said.

Professor Soutphommasane is the author of five books including the forthcoming On Hate, a reflection on current debates about race and the rise of the far-right, which will be published by Melbourne University Press in February 2019. He is also a director of The Cranlana Programme and was the founding chair of the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity.

Professor of Practice is a new role at the University which engages people of public distinction with extensive real-world experience to help bring issues confronting the broader community into our research and education.

Professor Soutphommasane will take up his appointment on Monday 21 January.

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