City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture

The City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture is an inspirational annual address delivered by the year’s Sydney Peace Prize recipient, which typically takes place at Sydney Town Hall in early November to a sell-out crowd.



2016: Naomi Klein, Sydney Town Hall

SPP-Naomi Klien-Web Slider-1205166On Friday 11 November, Canadian author, journalist and activist Naomi Klein will receive the 2016 Sydney Peace Prize and deliver her City of Sydney Lecture.

The 2016 Sydney Peace Prize Jury citation reads:

Naomi Klein: For exposing the structural causes and responsibility for the climate crisis, for inspiring us to stand up locally, nationally and internationally to demand a new agenda for sharing the planet that respects human rights and equality, and for reminding us of the power of authentic democracy to achieve transformative change and justice.

2015: George Gittoes AM, Sydney Town Hall

george g 0115 - 18Australian artist George Gittoes AM received the 2015 Sydney Peace Prize. The Prize was awarded on Tuesday 10 November at Sydney Town Hall.

The 2015 Sydney Peace Prize Jury citation reads:

George Gittoes AM: For exposing injustice for over 45 years as a humanist artist, activist and filmmaker, for his courage to witness and confront violence in the war zones of the world, for enlisting the arts to subdue aggression and for enlivening the creative spirit to promote tolerance, respect and peace with justice.

2014: Julian Burnside AO QC, Sydney Town Hall

Julian Burnside AO QC

On the evening of Wednesday 5th November 2014, Julian Burnside AO QC received the Sydney Peace Prize and delivered the annual lecture at the 2014 City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture and Award Ceremony. 

The Sydney Peace Prize Jury’s citation reads:

Julian Burnside AO QC:  “For his brave and principled advocacy for human rights and for those wronged by government, for insisting that we respect our international legal obligations toward those seeking asylum, and for his unflinching defence of the rule of law as a means to achieve a more peaceful and just society.”


2013: Dr Cynthia Maung, Sydney Town Hall

SPF_Lecture Slide RGB smlOn Wednesday 6th November, Dr Cynthia Maung delivered the 2013 City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture in Sydney Town Hall, engaging in conversation with Mary Kostakidis and with supporting performances by Lior and traditional Karen Done dancers.

Dr Maung was awarded the 2013 Sydney Peace Prize “for her dedication to multi-ethnic democracy, human rights and the dignity of the poor and dispossessed, and for establishing health services for victims of conflict.”

Watch her address and conversation with Mary Kostakidis here.

Sydney Peace Prize 2013 Dr Cynthia Maung from Sydney Peace Foundation on Vimeo.

Learn more about Dr Maung here.

2012: Senator Sekai Holland, Sydney Town Hall

Sekai Holland at uni tree

On Wednesday 7th November, Senator Sekai Holland delivered the 2012 City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture in Sydney Town Hall.

She was awarded the 2012 Sydney Peace Prize:

For a lifetime of outstanding courage in campaigning for human rights and democracy, for challenging violence in all its forms and for giving such astute and brave leadership for the empowerment of women.

Sekai’s Lecture was filmed by ABC Big Ideas, and can be viewed here.


2011: Professor Noam Chomsky, Sydney Town Hall

Professor Chomsky received the 2011 Sydney Peace Prize:

For inspiring the convictions of millions about a common humanity and for unfailing moral courage. For critical analysis of democracy and power, for challenging secrecy, censorship and violence and for creating hope through scholarship and activism to promote the attainment of universal human rights. 

Welcomed to the stage by a standing ovation on Wednesday 2 November, the 2000-strong crowd were eager to show their appreciation to Prof Chomsky, whose life’s work as a challenger of unjust power has lent influence and inspiration to activists world wide.

Chomsky in Conversation at the Sydney Opera House

Due to overwhelming demand, the Sydney Peace Foundation hosted a second public address by the Sydney Peace Prize recipient at the Sydney Opera House on Thursday 3rd November.

At this event Prof Chomsky was in conversation with distinguished Australian journalist and human rights campaigner Mary Kostakidis and answered audience questions on “Problems of Knowledge and Freedom – linguistics, global politics, human rights, responses to climate change, the nature of democracy.”

2010: Dr Vandana Shiva, Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House

Dr Vandana Shiva received the 2010 recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize:

For her courageous leadership of movements for social justice – the empowerment of women in developing countries, advocacy of the human rights of small farming communities and for her scientific analysis of environmental sustainability.

Dr Shiva, noted Indian environmentalist, eco-feminist and human rights activist, delivered the City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture in the Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House. She spoke on “Making Peace with the Earth“, lambasting global corporations for waging war against nature in the name of profits.

“If commerce starts to undermine life support, then commerce must stop, because life has to carry on.”

Vandana Shiva : Sydney Peace Prize Talk from WisdomKeepers Productions on Vimeo.

2009: John Pilger, Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House

John Pilger was awarded the 2009 Sydney Peace Prize:

For his work as an author, film-maker and journalist as well as for courage as a foreign and war correspondent in enabling the voices of the powerless to be heard and for commitment to peace with justice by exposing and holding government sot account for human rights abuses and for fearless challenges to censorship in any form.

2008: Patrick Dodson, Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House

Patrick Dodson, Chairman, Lingiari Foundation was awarded the 2008 Sydney Peace Prize:

For his courageous advocacy of the human rights of Indigenous people, for distinguished leadership of the reconciliation movement and for a life time of commitment to peace with justice.


2011, Professor Noam Chomsky: Revolutionary Pacifcism: Choices and Prospects
2011 SPP_Noam Chomsky

2010, Dr Vandana Shiva: Making Peace With the Earth
2010 SPP_Vandana Shiva

2009, John Pilger: Breaking Australia’s Silence
2009 SPP_John Pilger

2008, Patrick DodsonIn Search of Change – Robed in Justice
2007, Dr Hans Blix: The Globalization of Peace
2006, Irene Khan: Making Tough Choices in a Tough World, Peace Security and Human Rights
2005, Olara Otunnu: Ending Wars Against Children
2004, Arundhati Roy: Peace, The New Corporate Liberation Theology
2003, Dr Hanan Ashrawi: Peace in the Middle East, Humanitarian Imperative
2002, Mary Robinson: Peace Through the Attainment of Human Rights
2001, Sir William Deane: Justice for Indigenous People: The Peace Priority
2000, Xanana Gusmão: Peace Building a Priority for East Timor
1999, Archibishop Desmond Tutu: Reconciliation and Justice as the Road to Peace
1998, Professor Muhammed Yunus: Peace is Freedom from Poverty