2023 ANU Commencement Address

Watch the recording of the 2023 Commencement Address here >>

The ANU Commencement Address is the opening event for ANU Orientation Week at the start of the academic year and is an opportunity for all new students to hear from inspiring speakers about their uni experiences and how to get the most out of your time at ANU. It's also a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends, and mingle with the whole ANU community!

The 2023 keynote will be delivered by ANU alumnus Kieran Pender, a senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre and an honorary lecturer at the ANU College of Law. The event will be emceed by 2021 Australian University Teacher of the Year Professor Katerina Teaiwa.

To continue the festivities, you're all invited for a  free morning tea  after the event on the University Avenue lawns.

And just remember - this event is separate to the College induction sessions run by your College - so please attend those too!


  1. Register for the event, so we know how many people to cater for.
  2. Ensure you arrive 30 minutes early to secure seating with your friends.
  3. Scan the QR code provided on the day to confirm your in-person attendance.
  4. Enjoy the day and the start of ANU O-Week celebrations!


  • Canberra weather in February can be very hot, with high UV ratings. Please ensure you dress accordingly and come prepared with sunscreen and a water bottle.
  • Accessible parking spaces  will be available in the car park outside the Research School of Chemistry. Please contact events@anu.edu.au if you have accessibility requirements.
  • Staff, returning students and ANU alumni are also encouraged to come along to welcome new students. There is no dress code for this event but if you have an ANU shirt feel free to wear it on the day.


We know the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges.
We're committed to keeping everyone healthy and safe, which is why if you can't join us in person, we'll be sharing a streaming link via email, to all attendees who have registered to attend online. 


ANU follows all current ACT Government advice relating to Covid-19
By registering for this event you are accepting our privacy policy.



Professor Brian P. Schmidt AC FAA FRS - ANU Vice-Chancellor and President

Brian is one of Australia's most eminent scientists. Winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, alongside many other academic awards and distinctions, Professor Schmidt spent most of his academic career as an astrophysicist at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics before becoming Vice-Chancellor.

Brian makes a significant contribution to public debate through the media, and via his membership of bodies including the Prime Minister's National Science and Technology Council.

Brian received undergraduate degrees in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Arizona in 1989, and completed his Astronomy Master's degree (1992) and PhD (1993) at Harvard University. Under his leadership, in 1998, the High-Z Supernova Search team made the startling discovery that the expansion rate of the Universe is accelerating. Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, The United States Academy of Science, and the Royal Society, he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2013.

Kieran Pender - Keynote Speaker

Kieran is an Australian writer, lawyer and academic. He graduated from The Australian National University with the university medal. Kieran is now a senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre and an honorary lecturer at the ANU College of Law. He is one of Australia's leading experts on whistleblower protections, secrecy and free speech. Kieran is also an award-winning writer, contributing to The Guardian, The Saturday Paper and The New York Times. Kieran was the ACT Law Society's Young Lawyer of the Year in 2021, the Pro Bono/Community Legal Lawyer of the Year at Lawyers Weekly's 30 Under 30 Awards in 2022 and the ANU Young Alumnus of the Year in 2022. He is passionate about equality and inclusion; Kieran serves on the advisory council of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership and the board of Women Onside. 

Professor Katerina Teaiwa - Master of Ceremonies 

Katerina is Professor of Pacific Studies in the School of Culture, History and Language. Her roles have included CHL Deputy Director- Higher Degree Research, founder and convener of the ANU Pacific Studies teaching program, Head of Gender, Media and Cultural Studies, founder of the Pasifika Australia Outreach Program, and co-founder and co-chair of the ANU Family Friendly Committee. Katerina also has a background in contemporary Pacific dance and was a founding member of the Oceania Dance Theatre at the University of the South Pacific. Katerina's commentary on Pacific issues has been published in the Guardian, the Conversation, Sydney Morning Herald, ABC Drum, Fiji Times, Foreign Affairs and Australian Outlook. Katerina was President of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies 2012-2017 and is currently Vice-President. She is also Chair of the Oceania Working Party of the Australian Dictionary of Biography and art editor of The Contemporary Pacific journal. Katerina has several education awards including the 2021 Australian University Teacher of the Year (Universities Australia) for her visionary approach to teaching and mentoring students in Pacific studies at the ANU. 

Ben Yates - ANUSA President

Ben is the President of the ANU Students' Association (ANUSA) and the Undergraduate Member on ANU Council. He is a 5th year Law/Arts student. He was a resident at Wright Hall for three years, where he was a Senior Resident. He is also a passionate environmentalist and was a co-convenor of the ANU Environment Collective in 2021 where he co-organised a student referendum on divestment from fossil fuels. He has also previously been a Vice-President of the ANU Law Students' Society and competed on behalf of ANU at the national competitions of the Australian Law Students' Association.  He is also a runner and ran Inward Bound for Wright Hall in 2019. As President of ANUSA, Ben is an advocate for student interests, working towards a fair, safe, equitable and democratic University and high-quality education. 

Tristan Yip - PARSA President

Tristan is the President of the ANU Postgraduate and Research Students' Association (PARSA) in 2023. He is currently completing a Juris Doctor specialising in public law and comes from a background in modern Chinese history and Chinese language.  

He was previously the Coursework Officer and Acting Vice President of PARSA in 2022. Tristan is committed to ensuring the interests of postgraduate and research students, whether academic, social or cultural, are reflected in University decision-making through strong postgraduate-led advocacy.    

Date and Times


University Lawns Avenue
Australian Capital Territory