Communications & Media

Top international human rights lawyer recognised with University award

Trailblazing human rights lawyer and humanitarian Dr Alice Edwards was recently named the 2017 Foundation Graduate Award.

Dr Edwards’ astonishing 20-year career, which has shaped the lives of millions of refugees through her contributions to human rights law and policy, was recently recognised at the University’s Hobart dinner where she was joined by alumni, friends of the University, donors and scholarship students.

Since graduating from the University with a Bachelor of Arts and Laws with Honours in Law in 1997, Dr Edwards has carved out an illustrious career, both in academe and professionally.

Dr Edwards, a passionate graduate of the University’s Faculty of Law, said it was a great honour to receive the award.

“The University of Tasmania means a lot to me, and whenever I’m introduced as being from Tasmania, I always acknowledge that my first degree was from the University of Tasmania,” she said.

Among her many achievements, she has successfully led cases to protect the rights of millions of refugees, created mechanisms to rescue the thousands of trafficked women and girls in the Balkans, and initiated and galvanised support for the United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) global strategy to end the detention of asylum seekers.

Dr Edwards is currently the Head of the Secretariat for the Convention Against Torture Initiative (CTI), in Geneva, Switzerland – an initiative dedicated to achieving the universal ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

A major part of her career has been dedicated to working at the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), including working for five years as its Chief of Protection Policy and Legal Advice.

Dr Edwards said the award had given her a ‘‘real boost’’.

“It came at a very good time when the world is in turmoil and the work that I do is more and more difficult, so it really was extremely special,” she said.

The Foundation Graduate Award is presented to an alumna or alumnus at an early stage of their career, who has made significant contributions to society and has demonstrated exceptional professional achievement.

“On behalf of our alumni community, I congratulate Dr Edwards on her receipt of this award, and for her truly remarkable career, which has undoubtedly shaped millions of lives for the better,” University of Tasmania Executive Director of Advancement Young Dawkins said.

Dr Edwards also delivered the Red Cross Oration, How to Win Friends and Influence States: Social change through treaties.

To read more about Dr Edwards: http://www.utas.edu.au/giving/foundation-graduate-award-recipients

Published on: 29 Sep 2017 12:13pm