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Nyuon OAM

Executive Director, Sir Zelman Cowan Centre at Victoria University

  • Exclusive

To see beyond the us and them is how multiculturalism works.


Nyadol Nyuon OAM was born in a refugee camp in Itang, Ethiopia, and raised in Kakuma Refugee camp, Kenya. In 2005, at the age of eighteen, she moved to Australia as a refugee.

In 2022 she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in recognition of her service to human rights and refugee women.

Current Work:

Since then, Nyadol has completed a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne and worked as a commercial litigator with Arnold Bloch Leibler.

Nyadol is a vocal advocate for human rights, multiculturalism, the settlement of people with refugee experiences and those seeking asylum. She has worked and volunteered extensively in these areas with a range of organisations.

Nyadol is also a regular media commentator in these areas, having appeared on ABC’s The Drum, as a panellist on Q&A and contributing to The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and the Saturday Paper, to name just a few.

In both 2011 and 2014, Nyadol was nominated as one of the hundred most influential African Australians. In 2016, she was the recipient of the Future Justice Prize.

In 2018 her efforts to combat racism were widely recognised, with achievements including the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Racism. It Stops With Me Award. The prestigious award was in recognition of her advocacy and activism on behalf of the Australian-African and Melbourne’s South Sudanese communities. Nyadol also received the Harmony Alliance Award for significant contribution to empowering migrant and refugee women, and was a co-winner of the Tim McCoy Prize for her advocacy on behalf of the South Sudanese Community. She also received the Afro-Australian Student Organisation‘s Unsung Hero Award.

Talking Points

On Resilience

As a refugee and an immigrant, Nyadol has had to be resilient and knows that resilience is a skill everyone needs in an ever-changing world. In her resilience speeches, Nyadol shares what she has learned from her personal journey and how one can practice resilience in their life.

Key Takeaways:
- Reflect on ways you can live a meaningful life even during challenging times
- Attitudes & mindsets one can cultivate to build resilience
- The steps Nyadol takes when faced with a difficult issue

Nyadol has written two pieces for The Guardian Australia on the topic of resilience:
1. From the wreck of the pandemic we can salvage and resurrect an inner life (Guardian, July 2020):

2. Your life has changed for the worse, and admitting it can help you cope", Guardian Australia, 18 April 2020:

Diversity and Inclusion

Australia considers itself one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world. This is not however reflected in our politics, in the media and in other public spaces.

Nyadol is passionate about Australia reflecting its diversity and works with organisations and individuals to discuss the challenges and solutions to improving cultural diversity in Australia. Nyadol's approach is to have an honest, sometimes difficult conversations, with organisations and individuals.

The goal is to challenge people views, to affirm the proven benefit of diversity in the workplace and to assist in raising awareness, and if organisations are prepared, assisted them in developing a framework for working with linguistically and culturally diverse groups.

Nyadol's Story

Nyadol was born and raised in several refugee camps and separated from her mother at a very young age before moving to a new country to start all over again.

Nyadol’s story will leave audiences feeling inspired with a deeper appreciation of the challenges faced by refugees, and insight into experiences of racism and discrimination.

Key Takeaways:
- Audiences will leave feeling inspired in their own lives
- Find your voice and the passion to support causes or initiatives you believe in
- Discover how to be an agent of change
I wanted to thank you for coming to speak to the Court’s Senior Leadership Group. Everyone I spoke to after your talk gave incredibly positive feedback, and all the responses to our post-event survey have indicated that yours was one of the most popular sessions over the two days. Many have commented how powerful, inspiring and engaging you were, and how hearing you has made them reflect in the days following and challenged some of their previous thinking. County Court of Victoria

On behalf of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, I am writing to express my sincere thanks for your outstanding keynote address at our World Refugee Day celebrations last week. We received overwhelmingly effusive feedback on your remarks, both at the event itself and for several days afterwards. Most of all, people were incredibly moved by how warmly you were able to tell your personal story, in such a context as to give a powerful and poignant commentary on the global displacement situation more broadly.


Thank you for your amazing speech at the Gala Dinner. It was so good of you to share some of your story with our alumni community and to encourage them to support scholarships to enable more amazing people like you to obtain a degree from Melbourne Law School. You spoke beautifully and with great sincerity and dignity (and some nice humour!). So many people told me afterwards what a great impression your words made and how much they admired you and what you have achieved.

Melbourne Law School

You really are brilliant at what you do - not in an “everybody look at me” kind of way, but in a sincere, educated, raw, lived experience way. You are incredibly charismatic and I can tell you that so many people have commented on your speech at our event. They all speak of how genuine, provoking and impactful your perspective and words are.

Women's Health Grampians

Let's talk, enquire with Morgan now

Morgan Willoughby

Senior Consultant

Let's talk, enquire with Morgan now

Morgan Willoughby

Senior Consultant

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