The Kirsten Sjolander Memorial Prize for Advanced International Human Rights Law has been established in memory of ANU Law PhD student, Kirsten Sjolander, who passed away in March 2017 following an 18-month battle with an aggressive form of melanoma. She was an inspiration to the ANU Law community with her research exploring the intersection between law and neuroscience, seeking the origins of human rights concepts. The Kirsten Sjolander Memorial Prize for Advanced Human Rights Law will be awarded to the student who received the highest mark in the course LAWS8234 International Human Rights Law.
Kirsten had a 20-year career in human rights and international relations and twice received the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal (HOSM) from the Australian Governor-General for her human rights and humanitarian work abroad. She worked as a human rights defender and humanitarian aid worker with the United Nations; the Director for Human Rights and Indigenous Issues and Director for Southern and Central Africa with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and held positions with the Australian Trade Commission and the former Australian Agency for International Development and various international NGOs. She worked in several parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East including Burma, Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territory, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, the Sudan, Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, Cyprus, Lebanon, and Bosnia.