Omar Musa picks up a gong from the ANU

Omar Musa… ANU’s Young Alumnus of the Year. Photo by Lannon Harley

THE Australian National University has named former cabinet minister and equal opportunity campaigner Susan Ryan as the university’s Alumni of the Year  and Queanbeyan author, rapper and poet Omar Musa as Young Alumnus of the Year.

Vice-chancellor Prof Brian Schmidt said Ms Ryan had changed the lives of Australian women forever by introducing equal opportunity and affirmative action laws into Australia.

Susan Ryan… ANU Alumna of the Year. Photo by Lannon Harley

“Susan Ryan has been a formidable force in Australian society for decades and she remains a powerful role model for women everywhere,” Prof Schmidt said.

“That’s why the ANU awarded her an honorary doctorate at the end of last year and I congratulate her on being named ANU Alumna of the Year for 2018.”

Ms Ryan became Australia’s first Age Discrimination Commissioner in 2011 and was appointed Disability Discrimination Commissioner in 2014. She was a founding member of Women’s electoral lobby and elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly in 1974.

In 1983 she became the first woman to hold a cabinet post in a Federal Labor Government.

Omar Musa’s three books of poems and four hip-hop albums address the ways racist and misogynistic language impacts marginalised communities.

The son of two ANU graduates, Mr Musa uses his work to mentor young men, help them find a voice and change the way they express themselves. He is a winner of the Australian and Indian Ocean Poetry Slams. His debut novel, “Here Come the Dogs”, was published in 2014. In 2015 he was named one of the “Sydney Morning Herald’s” Young Novelists of the Year. His mother is “CityNews” arts editor Helen Musa.

Prof Schmidt said the winners were all outstanding ambassadors for ANU in Australia and around the world.

“The 2018 award recipients have advanced human rights, gender equity and Indigenous issues; shown philanthropic initiative; and given voice to the concerns faced by marginalised communities. They represent the very best qualities of leadership, creativity and innovation which are nurtured and encouraged at ANU,” he said.

This year’s full list of winners is:

Alumna of the Year: Susan Ryan, AO
Indigenous Alumna of the Year: Prof Megan Davis
International Alumnus of the Year: Andrew Harper, AM
Student Volunteer of the Year (Postgraduate): Dr Francesca Maclean
Student Volunteer of the Year (Undergraduate): Jackson Bursill
Young Alumnus of the Year: Omar Musa

Nominations for the 2019 ANU Alumni Awards open in August.

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