Craig Foster

Honorary Doctor of Laws

Honorary Doctor of Laws Citation delivered by Professor Patricia M. Davidson, Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Craig Foster as a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) on 16 April 2024.

Deputy Chancellor, I present Craig Foster AM.

Craig Foster has an outstanding national and international reputation. Holding a Postgraduate Diploma in Football Business, a Master in Sport Management, and a Bachelor of Laws degree, the former professional football player is also a distinguished human rights activist and accomplished broadcaster.

At 15, Craig played for Australia in the inaugural FIFA Under 16 World Cup in China (1985), earning a spot in the FIFA Team of the Tournament. He played soccer professionally from 1988 to 2003, including for the national team, the Socceroos, from 1996 to 2000, where he captained for 29 matches.

Dedicating his recent years to advocating for refugees and asylum seekers, Craig actively promotes anti-racism and allyship, and is an advocate for what he terms 'active multiculturalism,' emphasising the importance of communities protecting each other. His exemplary commitment to social justice and human rights, particularly for those held in detention centers, has made a significant impact on the lives of the vulnerable and marginalised.

Craig’s journey as a human rights advocate began in 2017, when he became acutely aware of the inhumane treatment of refugees in detention centers. Utilising his platform as a broadcaster and former professional football player, he effectively shed light on the situation and raised awareness through various mediums, including the production of the documentary "Football Belongs," emphasising the role of football in aiding refugees' societal integration.

Renowned for his tireless efforts, Craig played a pivotal role in the successful campaign to free Bahraini footballer and refugee Hakeem al-Araibi from Thai imprisonment in 2019. Furthermore, he provided essential support to the Afghan women's national football team and other female athletes fleeing the Taliban, showcasing his unwavering commitment to humanitarian causes.

As a member of the Australian Multicultural Council and an Ambassador for Amnesty Australia, Craig actively contributes to a myriad of social programs, ranging from indigenous rights and self-determination to climate action and gender equality. His role as a Strategic Advisor for Frontrunners and No 2nd Place, coupled with his advocacy for climate action in the realm of international football, exemplifies his multifaceted approach to driving positive change.

Craig's numerous accolades underscore his exceptional contributions. In 2021, Foster was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to multiculturalism, to human rights and refugee support organisations, and to football. His advocacy work extends beyond the spotlight, as evidenced by his volunteer efforts at the Addison Road community food pantry.
Craig Foster’s commitment to social justice and human rights are an inspiration, and his recognition stands as a testament to the University of Wollongong's dedication to fostering a socially just and inclusive society.

Deputy Chancellor, it is a privilege to present Craig Foster AM to be admitted as an Honorary Doctor of Laws of the University of Wollongong.