audio close compressed excel CS_logo_icon_solid_yellow_alt Created with Sketch. x x image insta-black menu pdf Print BTN - Shortlist Created with Sketch. Share Asset 1 word

Dr Tim

Human Rights Advocate, Expert on Diversity & Culture, & Political Thinker


Professor Tim Soutphommasane was recently appointed Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Oxford. He is a human rights advocate, expert on diversity and culture, and political thinker. He was previously Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner.

Tim’s work on diversity, race and patriotism has shaped debates in Australia and Britain, and guided organisations in cultural change. His work and commentary has been reported in global media outlets including the New York Times, BBC, Financial Times, The Guardian and CNN.

Previous Experience:

From 2013 to 2018 Tim was Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, where he led the National Anti-Racism Strategy. He has been a prominent voice in debates about free speech and racism, leading the successful defence of federal racial discrimination laws against repeal and amendment.

Within Australia he has pioneered efforts to boost cultural diversity and inclusion within organisations, producing the two landmark Leading for Change reports measuring the representation of cultural diversity in Australian senior leadership. He was founding chair of the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity and founding co-director of the Dr John Yu Fellowship in cultural diversity and leadership.

Tim has led organisational change at the University of Sydney, where he directed the University’s Culture Strategy, developing various leadership programs for academic and professional staff. He has also worked in politics as a speechwriter and media adviser and has been an opinion columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and the Australian. He is a former board director of the National Australia Day Council and Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership.

A graduate of the University of Oxford and the University of Sydney, Tim has been. He is the author of five books, including On Hate (2019) and the award-winning Don’t Go Back To Where You Came From (2012).

Talking Points

Diversity, equity and inclusion: how you can lead

People may know a little about diversity, equity and inclusion - but not many know how to get it right. Work on DEI can be uneven, or focus narrowly upon only some dimensions of diversity. The best of intentions and ambitions don’t always lead to tangible results. Drawing upon his experience in Australia and the UK, and upon the latest organisational research and thinking, Tim can help you and your organisation position itself to lead with success.

Who is this for?
- Boards, senior executive teams, and leadership groups that want to stretch their thinking and practice on DEI
- Groups or bodies seeking tailored professional development for their members

Key takeaways
- Get the latest thinking about this rapidly evolving field from a global expert
- Be led through case studies and tailored scenarios to challenge your team and organisation’s thinking
- Leave understanding how you can convert your intentions into action

Creating culture change that lasts

It’s said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. But what if you can get culture to work for your strategy? Creating the right organisational culture is increasingly recognised as critical for success. As a leader who has advised many organisations, and worked at universities to create enduring culture change, Tim can support your organisation to craft an organisation imbued with purpose and care.

Who is this for?
- Boards, senior executive teams and leadership groups considering or embarking upon cultural change
- Groups or bodies seeking tailored professional development for their members

Key takeaways?
- Understand what good organisational culture must involve
- Diagnose and see through new eyes your own team’s or organisation’s culture
- Equip your organisation to forge a renewed purpose and empower its people

Human rights and freedoms

In an age of culture wars and identity politics, the domain of human rights and freedoms has never been more contested. What are the limits of free speech or religious freedom? How are we to strike the right balance between competing rights? And how can we have more sensible, less divisive, conversations about identity, race, religion and culture? As a political theorist and former Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim shares his leading expertise on how to navigate these tricky questions.

Who is this for?
- Boards, senior executive teams and leadership groups interested in developing their thinking about human rights and the political context around such issues
- Groups or bodies seeking professional development for their members

Key takeaways
- Equip yourself with a framework for working through contentious human rights and political questions
- Understand how you can best position your organisation or group on these issues
- Develop individual and team skills on how to have important but challenging conversations

Multicultural patriotism: a personal perspective

As a first-generation Australian, born to refugees from Laos, and growing up in working-class southwest Sydney - amid the rise of Hansonism in the 1990s - Tim has had to think deeply about cultural and national identity. In answering the question, “What it means to be Australian”, Tim embarked on an intellectual and personal journey that saw him develop what has come to be internationally recognised expertise in patriotism, multiculturalism and national identity. He shares his experience and delves into how multicultural diversity needn’t be incompatible with loving your country.

Who is this for?
- Organisations, groups and audiences who want an intelligent, personal conversation about what it means to be Australian today

Key takeaways
- Leave with a new understanding of nationality and patriotism
- Connect with Australia’s multicultural experience
- Be empowered to put diversity and inclusion into action in your teams and organisations
Tim Soutphommasane was a standout speaker at TEDxSydney 2012. His originality of thinking and his vision for our 21st century world, all very complex processes and ideas, were presented with great ease and passion that touched the heart of the TEDxSydney audience. TEDxSydney

Tim Soutphommasane has made an impressive contribution to our national day. He brought his powerful intellect to several private presentations and then provided live commentary on the national broadcaster for Australia Day 2012. Ever theoretically grounded, but able to talk to the general public, Tim communicates his progressive patriotism with deep thought, passion and clarity.

National Australia Day Council

Tim Soutphommasane is an original thinker and presenter. He is wise beyond his years and deeply considers and analyses issues before passing judgment. He was an outstanding presenter at the 2010 Deakin Lecture series in Melbourne, sharing his refreshing and insightful take on how the country might better rise to the challenge of tackling climate change. It is a pleasure to recommend Tim for any event suited to being enhanced by his exceptional abilities.

Nick Rowley, former advisor to British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Your keynote presentation at the Social Education and VCE Teachers' conference was thought-provoking and provided teachers an opportunity to reflect upon our current democratic principles. We were delighted to have such a challenging keynote to open the conference.

Social Education Victoria

On behalf of all at the Asia Education Foundation I would like to thank you for your contribution to the 2013 AEF National Conference. Our feedback and evaluation has indicated that the Conference was overwhelmingly a great success - with 85 percent of participant responses rating their sessions as either valuable or highly valuable. Some of the personalised feedback regarding your session included... 'A thought provoking presentation delivered very sensitively - gave some new perspectives to reflect on.' 'Absolutely loved Dr Tim's talk. He has inspired me further to reclaim patriotism in an affirming way with my students.' 'A compelling and enriching experience.' 'Great speaker!' 'Great to revisit the meaning of citizenship in Australia and with eyes to the Asian century.' I'd like to extend my deepest gratitude to you for giving so generously of your time and expertise to contribute to the conference. Time and again, it was the extraordinary calibre of the presenters that delegates found most valuable and ­we certainly couldn't have done it without you.

Asialink, The University of Melbourne
Let us know

and we'll send all the latest Saxton updates and news direct to your inbox
Thanks, you have been subscribed
View Shortlist