2024 ANU Commencement Address

View the live broadcast of the 2024 ANU Commencement Address on ANU TV YouTube Channel

Join us for a beginning that promises inspiration, connection, and endless possibilities. Welcome to ANU.

To kick things off at ANU Orientation Week 2024, the ANU Commencement Address is the opening event for new students. You will hear from inspiring speakers about their university
experience and learn how to get the most out of your time at ANU.

The 2024 keynote will be delivered by ANU alumna Ms Ashleigh Streeter-Jones, Founder, Raise Our Voice Australia (ROVA), a social enterprise mobilising young women and gender diverse people through education, community and campaigns to transform policy and politics.

The event will also feature addresses from ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Genevieve Bell, and ANU Student Association President Phoenix O'Neill

Mr Paul Girrawah House, local Ngambri-Ngunnawal custodian will be delivering the Welcome to Country and the proceedings for the event will be expertly tied together by our emcee Associate Professor Richard Swain.

This event is a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends and mingle with the whole ANU community!

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

What to do?

  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. Bring your own water bottle to reduce single-use plastic bottles.
  4. Enjoy the day and the start of ANU O-Week celebrations

More about our speakers

Described by Forbes Magazine as a “youthful visionary”, Ashleigh Streeter-Jones has worked in advocacy and campaigns for over 10 years. In 2024, Ashleigh was a Victorian Young Australian of the Year finalist, and in 2018, was the youngest ever Australian Capital Territory Woman of the Year, and was recognised on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list. In 2019, she was listed as one of the Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence, and in 2023, was selected as one of two young Australians to attend Davos at the World Economic Forum.

Ashleigh is a passionate change maker and a strong believer in "lifting the floor". Her work focuses on closing societal gaps - particularly those faced by women and young people from traditionally marginalised backgrounds - she works within the community, provides advice to senior leaders to combat systemic inequality and create a more equal world. Ashleigh has spoken on gender equality, youth leadership and civic engagement alongside leaders Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and organisations such as the Global Institute of Women’s Leadership, the Body Shop Australia New Zealand, She’s On The Money, and federal government Departments. She has worked in foreign policy, for the federal Office for Women to improve women’s workforce outcomes, and to reduce gender-based violence.

In 2020, Ashleigh founded Raise Our Voice Australia (ROVA), a social enterprise mobilising young women and gender diverse people through education, community and campaigns to transform policy and politics. ROVA has graduated over 100 people from its training program with 71% applying for a job in politics and policy within 12 months of finishing, and collated over 1 000 speeches through the Raise Our Voice in Parliament program, with 60% of participants said it was their first time engaging with a political representative, and 2 in 3 of people who had their speeches read said participation improved their understanding of & perceived ability to influence politics. Prior to this, Ashleigh co-founded the Girls Takeover Parliament program. She is recognised as an international thought leader on the participation of young people in politics and the public sector, and has presented on the topic to organisations including Government departments, the World Economic Forum and World YMCA. Ashleigh is also a member of the APolitical Foundation's New Voices Council, and has attended the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. Ashleigh is the Pacific Community Champion for the Global Shapers community, supporting young change makers across Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and Papua New Guinea to make change in their local communities, and is part of the UN Women Asia Pacific 30 for 2030 group.

Ashleigh holds a BA(Hons) in International Relations and Politics from Monash University, and a Masters in Diplomacy from The Australian National University. 

Professor Genevieve Bell was appointed the 13th Vice-Chancellor of ANU in January 2024. Genevieve is the University’s first female Vice-Chancellor. Genevieve holds a PhD in cultural anthropology from Stanford University and is a renowned anthropologist, technologist, and futurist, having spent more than two decades in Silicon Valley helping guide Intel's product development and social science and design research capabilities. She is best known for her work at the intersection of cultural practice and technology development and for being an important voice in the global debates around artificial intelligence and human society.

In 2017, Genevieve returned to Australia and established the 3A Institute at ANU, in collaboration with CSIRO's Data61, with the mission of building a new branch of engineering to take AI-enabled cyber-physical systems safely, sustainably and responsibly scale. In 2021, she became the inaugural Director of the new ANU School of Cybernetics, which builds on the foundational work of the 3A Institute and seeks to establish cybernetics as an important tool for navigating major societal transformations, through capability building, policy development and safe, sustainable and responsible approaches to new systems. 

In addition to her roles at the ANU and Intel, Genevieve was also a Non-Executive Director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Board (January 2019-October 2023) and is currently a Member of the Prime Minister's National Science and Technology Council, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (AAH), Florence Violet McKenzie Chair, SRI International Engelbart Distinguished Fellow, member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) AI Council and an Officer of the Order of Australia. 

Associate Professor Richard Swain has worked for 30 years as a river guide and ecotourism operator within Kosciuszko National Park. In 2018 Richard initiated the award winning Reclaim Kosci campaign to protect Kosciuszko National Park from the impacts of feral horses. Richard recently co-directed the Where The Water Starts environmental documentary. As a Wiradjuri man and Indigenous ambassador for the Invasive Species Council Richard is currently working on the Voice for Country campaign.

Mr  Paul Girrawah House is a Ngambri-Ngunnawal custodian with multiple local Aboriginal ancestries from the Canberra region, however identifies as a descendant of Ngambri – Walgulu man Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams and Ngunnawal – Wallaballoa man ‘Murjinille’ aka William Lane (‘Billy the Bull’), including Wiradjuri ancestries. Mr House began his public service career in the Commonwealth Department of Aboriginal Affairs and has since occupied various positions across both New South Wales and Commonwealth public sector agencies. He currently works at ANU as a Community Engagement Officer as part of the First Nations Portfolio. 

Important notes

  • 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.
  • By registering for this event you are accepting our privacy policy.

Date and Times


University Avenue Lawns
The Australian National University


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