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Dr Tom Calma AO will be officially installed as Chancellor of the University of Canberra in a short ceremony following the Address. He was previously Deputy Chancellor.
Dr Calma is an Aboriginal elder from the Kungarakan tribal group and a member of the Iwaidja tribal group whose traditional lands are south west of Darwin and on the Coburg Peninsula in the Northern Territory, respectively. He has been involved in Indigenous affairs at a local, community, state, national and international level, worked in the public sector for 40 years and is currently on a number of boards and committees focussing on rural and remote Australia, health, education and economic development.
He was appointed National Coordinator, Tackling Indigenous Smoking in March 2010 to lead the fight against tobacco use in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Dr Calma’s most recent previous position was that of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2004 to 2010. He also served as Race Discrimination Commissioner from 2004 until 2009.
Dr Calma has broad experience in public administration, particularly in Indigenous education and employment programs from both a national policy and program perspective. He has served in roles in Australia relating to Indigenous and mainstream employment, community development and education, and as Senior Adviser to the Minister of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. Internationally, Dr Calma represented Australia’s education and training interests as a senior diplomat in India and Vietnam from 1995 to 2002.
Dr Calma is a strong advocate for Indigenous rights and empowerment and has spearheaded initiatives including the Close the Gap for Indigenous Health Equality Campaign, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, development of the inaugural Indigenous suicide prevention strategy and Justice Reinvestment.
In 2012 Dr Calma was awarded an Order of Australia; Officer of the General Division (AO) and named ACT Australian of the Year 2013 for his service and commitment to the Indigenous community as an advocate for human rights and social justice, through contributions to government policy and reform, and to cross cultural understanding.