Dr. Tim Soutphommasane

Human Rights Advocate, Expert on Diversity & Culture, & Political Thinker


Professor Tim Soutphommasane was recently appointed Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Oxford. He is a human rights advocate, expert on diversity and culture, and political thinker. He was previously Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner.

Tim’s work on diversity, race and patriotism has shaped debates in Australia and Britain, and guided organisations in cultural change. His work and commentary has been reported in global media outlets including the New York Times, BBC, Financial Times, The Guardian and CNN.

Previous Experience:

From 2013 to 2018 Tim was Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, where he led the National Anti-Racism Strategy. He has been a prominent voice in debates about free speech and racism, leading the successful defence of federal racial discrimination laws against repeal and amendment.

Within Australia he has pioneered efforts to boost cultural diversity and inclusion within organisations, producing the two landmark Leading for Change reports measuring the representation of cultural diversity in Australian senior leadership. He was founding chair of the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity and founding co-director of the Dr John Yu Fellowship in cultural diversity and leadership.

Tim has led organisational change at the University of Sydney, where he directed the University’s Culture Strategy, developing various leadership programs for academic and professional staff. He has also worked in politics as a speechwriter and media adviser and has been an opinion columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and the Australian. He is a former board director of the National Australia Day Council and Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership.

A graduate of the University of Oxford and the University of Sydney, Tim has been. He is the author of five books, including On Hate (2019) and the award-winning Don’t Go Back To Where You Came From (2012).


Talking Points
Diversity, equity and inclusion: how you can lead
Creating culture change that lasts
Human rights and freedoms
Multicultural patriotism: a personal perspective