Open Fora

Equity and Diversity Open Fora explore a range of social issues of relevance to Western Sydney University and the Greater Western Sydney community. The forums are free and everyone is welcome to attend, staff, students and the general public.

Upcoming Events

Past Events


Upcoming Events

Fighting Global Poverty with Gender Equality

Date: 1 June 2016
Time: 5:30pm for 6pm start
Venue: Parramatta South Campus (opens in a new window), Female Orphan School (West Wing), Building EZ

RSVP (Opens in a new window)

Guest Speaker:

  • Dr Helen Szoke
    Chief Executive, Oxfam Australia

In January this year, Oxfam revealed that just 62 wealthy individuals hold the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the global population. At the same time, the wealth of the richest people in the world has skyrocketed while the wealth held by the poorest people has fallen. Dr Helen Szoke will discuss how inequality hurts us all and makes communities, economies and countries less stable and strips people of the opportunity to overcome poverty. Dr Szoke will de-bunk myths about wealth, growth and benefits for the poorest people.    

The rise of extreme economic inequality is not only bad news for poverty eradication, it is also a serious blow to the fight against gender inequality and a threat to women's rights. When poverty, conflict and insecurity are rife, it is often women and girls who miss out first. Gender inequality sits at the heart of our global battle to fight poverty and injustice. Dr Szoke will outline some of the challenges rising inequality presents and will put forward global and local level solutions to ensure women's empowerment and greater equality go hand-in-hand.

Helen Szoke's bio:
Dr Helen Szoke is Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia and a leading thinker and advocate for foreign aid and international development, human rights, gender and race discrimination. Helen joined Oxfam in 2013. Prior to this appointment, she served as Australia's Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner and as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner. Helen is both an Executive Committee member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), and the ACFID Humanitarian Reference Group (HRG) Champion, representing the work of the HRG which provides a mechanism for Australian agencies engaged in humanitarian assistance work to share information, strengthen coordination, and drive policy dialogue and development for the improvement of humanitarian relief work. Helen was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons Expert Advisory Committee examining bullying, harassment and sexual harassment. In addition, she sits on the Australia Federal Police Future Directions Advisory Committee. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Deakin University in October 2015 for her contribution to Human Rights. In 2011, Helen was awarded the 'Law Institute of Victoria Paul Baker Award' for her contribution to human rights and in 2014 she received the 'University of Melbourne Alumni Award' for leadership. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a fellow of the Institute of Public Administration.


Past Events

Open Markets and the Vietnamese Human Rights Dilemma

6 April 2016

Guest Speakers:

  • Chris Hayes MP
    Federal Member for Fowler
  • Commentary provided by Dinh Tran
    Registrar, Family Court of Australia

The Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and now Zika:
Can Australia Make a Difference?

2 March 2016

Guest Speaker:

  • Helen Evans
    Associate Professor (Hons.),
    The Nossal Institute for Global Health, the University of Melbourne

Tyranny of Status Quo: Challenges of Indian Economic Reforms

20 January 2016

Guest Speakers:

  • Dr M. Govinda Rao
    Emeritus Professor, National Institute of Public Finance Policy, New Delhi
  • Commentary provided by Pallavi Sinha,
    Lawyer & Adjunct Lecturer