Nobel laureate's ACU call for compassion

Australia should accept all asylum seekers and not attempt to remake Aborigines in the image of modern society, Nobel peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has told a lecture at the Australian Catholic University.

A media release from the University says Dr Ebadi attracted "massive attention from the general public" - and a standing ovation - when she presented the public lecture at its North Sydney Campus (MacKillop) on Friday evening.

Dr Ebadi won the Nobel Prize for peace in 2003, ahead of Pope John Paul II, for human rights advocacy in Iran.

"Australia is a country that God has given many blessings; one way of being grateful and thankful for this blessing is to give to others, help others and be more compassionate," said Dr Ebadi.

No one would leave their homeland without compelling reasons, she said, in a quote from the lecture in the Sydney Morning Herald today.

Tolerating minorities was the hallmark of an enlightened democracy, so rather than pushing assimilation onto Aborigines, the Federal Government should provide social services, yet allow indigenous people to "maintain their civilisation and their traditions", she said.

Dr Ebadi was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Australian Catholic University in Brisbane last week.

"Dr Ebadi has devoted herself to the service of justice, freedom, and particularly the rights of women and children," said ACU Vice-chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan. "As co-founder of the Association for Support of Children's Rights and the Human Rights Defence Centre, and in all her work for social justice, Dr Ebadi is an inspiring role model."

"ACU National was delighted to award Dr Ebadi the University's highest honour, Doctor of the University (honoris causa), at the University's Brisbane Campus (McAuley at Banyo) graduation ceremony on 14 April," said Professor Sheehan.

"Dr Ebadi has overcome countless hurdles in her own life, not only for her own survival, but to improve the lives of others, she is indeed an inspiration to us. We are grateful for the time which she, in her characteristically generous way, has given to us this evening," said Professor Sheehan.

In 1969, she became the first female judge to be appointed in Iran, a position she lost following the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Dr Ebadi currently has her own legal practice, is a University teacher, writes books, and conducts human rights training courses which attract students across the Globe.

Dr Ebadi's work led to her being summonsed before Iran's Revolutionary Court this year - a summons she has defied along with numerous threats to her safety. She is adamant that her homeland will become democratic.

Pictured from left to right - ACU National Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Sheehan AO; Dr Shirin Ebadi and ACU National Chancellor, Brother Julian McDonald CFC AO.

Nobel laureate calls for charity (Sydney Morning Herald 18/4/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Nobel Prize - Shirin Ebadi

Pope unfazed by Nobel miss (CathNews 13/10/03)

Free Public Lecture: Dr Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (Australian Catholic University 15/4/05)
Masses at ACU National for Shirin Ebadi's human rights lecture (Australian Catholic University 15/4/05)

18 Apr 2005