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In 2012, the Mitchell Oration lecture series was created with support from the Harold Mitchell Foundation to provide a new forum at which the most pressing development issues can be addressed by the best minds and most influential practitioners of our time.
The series was launched by Timor Leste’s former Finance Minister, Ms Emilia Pires in 2012. Subsequent lectures have been given in 2013 by Jim Adams, Former Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, World Bank; in 2015 by Dr Mari Elka Pangestu, Professor of International Economics at the University of Indonesia and Former Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesian Government; in 2016 by Dr Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; in 2017 by Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Board Chair of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance; and in 2018 by Professor Sir Richard Feachem, Director of the Global Health Group at the University of California San Francisco Institute for Global Health Sciences.
In 2019, two lectures were held: the first at the 2019 Australasian Aid Conference by Dr Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African Development Bank and Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, and the second by Dr Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In 2022, we welcomed ‘Ofakilevuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Director of the Women and Children Crisis Centre Tonga.
The tenth Mitchell Oration was delivered in 2023 by Dr Esperanza Martinez, Head, Health and Human Security, College of Health and Medicine, Australian National University.
The full series of lectures can be accessed in the tabs below.
With topics ranging from the challenges of aid dependency and economic reform in Africa to the Pacific and Indonesia’s new wave of economic change, this lecture series has established itself as one of the flagship events in the development arena.
The Mitchell Oration was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are two other annual orations that use the name ‘Mitchell’: a ‘Mitchell Oration’ is presented by the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission and recognises Dame Roma Mitchell’s lifelong advocacy of human rights; the ‘Angus Mitchell Oration’ is an annual Rotary Club address which has been held for over 50 years.
Dr Esperanza Martinez
Head, Health and Human Security, College of Health and Medicine, Australian National University
Dr Esperanza Martinez delivered the Mitchell Oration at the 2023 Australasian AID Conference.
Dr Esperanza Martinez is the Head of Health and Human Security at the College of Health and Medicine at the Australian National University.
She previously worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross as Head of Health, Head of Crisis Team for the COVID-19 and Ukraine responses, and Organisational Resilience Senior Manager.
Director of the Women and Children Crisis Centre Tonga
‘Ofakilevuka (‘Ofa) Guttenbeil-Likiliki delivered the Mitchell Oration at the 2022 Australasian AID Conference.
‘Ofa is an Oceanic feminist researcher and storyteller/filmmaker, a women and children’s rights advocate and the Director of the Women and Children Crisis Centre in Tonga. She is a facilitator and trainer in human rights, gender equality/equity, and women’s leadership across the Oceanic Pacific and an adviser to the International Women’s Development Agency. ‘Ofa has been nominated twice for the US Secretary of State International Women of Courage Award for her activism and advocacy for women and children’s rights in Tonga. ‘Ofa has contributed to research on women’s political participation, and the impact of COVID-19 on women’s economic empowerment in Tonga. In 2019, she led research with 35 women leaders across the Oceanic Pacific, titled ‘Creating Equitable South-North Partnerships: Nurturing the Vā and Voyaging the Audacious Ocean Together’ that boldly calls for the reimagining of Global South-North relations in international development and humanitarian aid spaces.
Unfinished business: the pursuit of rights and choices for all
Thursday 12 September 2019
Dr Natalia Kanem is Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Dr Kanem discussed the remarkable gains in sexual and reproductive health and rights since 1969, and pointed to the remaining economic, social, institutional and other barriers that prevent women, girls and young people from making their own decisions and fulfilling their potential.
Dr Kanem shared her vision for the pursuit of rights and choices worldwide, presented findings from UNFPA’s State of the World Population Report 2019, and offered some examples of progress and challenges in a number of Pacific countries.
» Access the livestream.
Africa and the global landscape – emerging trends and the way forward
Monday 18 February 2019
Dr Donald Kaberuka served two five-year terms as President of the African Development Bank, from 2005 to 2015. During his tenure, the Bank’s capital tripled and its portfolio doubled. He also served as Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning from 1997 to 2005, and oversaw Rwanda’s economic reconstruction after the end of the civil war. He is a currently Senior Adviser at The Boston Consulting Group. He holds a PhD in Economics from Glasgow University.
Dr Kaberuka delivered his keynote speech at the 2019 Australasian Aid Conference.
» Watch video.
Reengineering the aid industry: a priority for the 21st century
Thursday 28 June 2018
Professor Sir Richard Feachem is Director of the Global Health Group at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Institute for Global Health Sciences and Professor of Global Health at both UCSF and the University of California, Berkeley.
From 2002 to 2007, Sir Richard served as founding Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Under Secretary General of the United Nations. From 1995 until 1999, he was Director for Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank. Previously, he was Dean of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Sir Richard serves as Chair of the Lancet Commission on Malaria Eradication. He has also served on the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, the Commission on HIV and Governance in Africa and the Commission on Investing in Health.
Development: towards 21st century approaches
Monday 4 December 2017
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is Board Chair of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.
Are our current approaches to development cooperation fit for purpose to address contemporary challenges? How should development practice evolve to reflect 21st century priorities and knowledge? And how can it bridge the traditional donor-recipient divide? Can aid donors and recipients meaningfully engage with the private sector, private philanthropy, and other new sources of financing?
In the 2017 Mitchell Oration, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala drew on more than 30 years of development and financial expertise to reflect on the need for a new way forward.
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has twice served as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, most recently between 2011 and 2015 – a role that encompassed the expanded portfolio of Coordinating Minister for the Economy. In 2006 she served as Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, and has also held several key positions at the World Bank, including as Managing Director. She has served as Board Chair of GAVI since January 2016.
Dr Mark Dybul is the Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Dr Dybul has worked on HIV and public health for more than 25 years as a clinician, scientist, teacher and administrator. After graduating from Georgetown Medical School in Washington DC, Dybul joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where he conducted basic and clinical studies on HIV virology, immunology and treatment optimisation, including the first randomised, controlled trial with combination antiretroviral therapy in Africa.
Dybul became a founding architect and driving force in the formation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, better known as PEPFAR. After serving as Chief Medical Officer, Assistant, Deputy and Acting Director, he was appointed as its leader in 2006, becoming US Global AIDS Coordinator, with the rank of Ambassador at the level of an Assistant Secretary of State. He served until early 2009.
Before coming to the Global Fund, Dybul was co-director of the Global Health Law Program at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, where he was also a Distinguished Scholar. Dybul has written extensively in scientific and policy literature, and has received several honorary degrees and awards.
The new economy and development: an Indonesian perspective
Thursday 12 March 2015
Dr Mari Elka Pangestu, Professor of International Economics at the University of Indonesia and Former Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesian Government
Development in most Asian countries has taken place through several conventional phases. Economies such as Indonesia have started with agriculture/resource based development; have moved to industrialisation first based on import substitution and then shifting towards export orientation as well as production networks; and have then started to transition towards a knowledge and information based as well as a more services oriented economy. The ‘new economy’ continues to evolve beyond knowledge and information based sectors; the fourth wave of change is known as the creative economy.
At the same time, developing countries are facing external and globalisation challenges. Technology disruptions have led to greater interdependence and changing models of international business engagement. Just what can be transacted and exchanged between countries in today’s context is so vastly different from the situation just a decade ago.
How has a country like Indonesia developed over the course of these different phases of development? Has it been able to take advantage of the new economy? What are the important challenges, opportunities and policies ahead?
Dr Mari Elka Pangestu was the Minister of Trade of Indonesia from October 2004 to October 2011. She was appointed to the newly-created position of Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy in October 2011. Dr Pangestu is currently Professor of International Economics at the University of Indonesia.
» download address as PDF
» view presentation
» listen to podcast
» view video
» view Village Designer video
» Hope fading for Bali Nine pair on death row in Indonesia, ABC’s The World, 11 March 2015.
» Indonesia and Australia’s fractured relationship, Radio National Drive, 11 March 2015.
The challenges of aid dependency and economic reform: Africa and the Pacific
Thursday 14 November 2013
Jim Adams, Former Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, World Bank
After decades of poor economic performance, Africa is doing much better, with higher economic growth. Why? What role did aid play? And what are the lessons for the Pacific? Jim Adams knows both Africa and the Pacific well. In the 2013 Harold Mitchell Development Policy Lecture, he focused on how effective economic reform emerged in Africa and related institutional and capacity issues. Drawing on this and his Pacific experience, he reviewed a number of proposals that could be taken by donors in the Pacific to accelerate economic reform and support the emergence of improved government institutions and capacity on policy making.
Jim Adams retired in 2012 after 37 years at the World Bank. His last assignment was as the Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific from 2007 to 2012, where he worked on and travelled extensively in the Pacific island region. He spent almost half of his career working on Africa, leading the Bank’s program as the Regional Director in Kenya in the late 1980s and as Country Director in Tanzania and Uganda from 1995-2002. From 2002 to 2007 he served as the head of operational policy in the Bank, overseeing a program directed at making the Bank more responsive to its clients’ needs. Jim is a graduate of Colgate University and received his Masters degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. Among his current duties, Jim Adams serves as Chair of the Independent Evaluation Committee for DFAT’s Office of Development Effectiveness.
» download address as PDF
» read publication at SSRN
» read blog
» listen to podcast
» Learning from Africa to improve development aid to the Pacific by Radio Australia, 15 November 2013.
Timor-Leste and the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States
Thursday 22 November 2012
Emilia Pires, Former Finance Minister, Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste, which gained its independence in 2002, is one of the world’s youngest countries. Born out of a history of violence and poverty, in recent years Timor-Leste has experienced both social stability and rapid growth, and its development prospects have strengthened considerably.
Timor-Leste has also been a pioneer in establishing the g7+, a group of 17 fragile states formed in 2010 as a country-owned and country-led global mechanism to monitor, report and draw attention to the unique challenges faced by fragile states. The New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States represents the first time in history that conflict-afflicted states have taken the lead in designing an aid architecture for and by themselves.
Emilia Pires was Timor-Leste’s Minister of Finance between April 2007 and February 2015. She served as the founding Chair of the g7+, and in 2012 was appointed to the High-level Panel advising the United Nations Secretary-General on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
» download address as PDF
» view publication
» read blog
» listen to podcast
» view video
» view press conference
» view donation video