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Off the cuff and unfiltered, live talks are where you hear the content you can’t Google.

The UNSW Centre for Ideas presents a thought-provoking program of event and digital content, bringing the globe’s leading thinkers to UNSW Sydney and also presenting UNSW to the world. As we grapple with questions surrounding climate change, technological disruption and global politics, a program which provides a platform for public debate and the sharing of knowledge, that is also open to everyone, is crucial. 

The UNSW Centre for Ideas has welcomed international best-selling author Margaret Atwood to the Sydney Opera House and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to Sydney Town Hall. In venues at UNSW Sydney’s Kensington campus, the Centre has hosted public talks with psychologist Paul Bloom, artificial intelligence expert Toby Walsh, award-winning New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, illustrious philosopher Daniel Dennett and former Australian of the Year and professor of quantum physics, Michelle Simmons.

Together with The Ethics Centre, the UNSW Centre for Ideas presented the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) on Cockatoo Island in 2018. The Festival has been a champion of courageous public conversations and this commitment to provide a platform for debate of all kinds aligns perfectly with the Centre’s ethos. The 2018 FODI program featured provocative orators such as Germaine Greer, Stephen Fry and Pankaj Mishra.

The UNSW Centre for Ideas has also presented UNTHINKABLE, a series of talks exploring the questions we haven’t asked, the futures we can avoid and the realities we are yet to consider. The series presented prominent international voices including, Monica Lewinsky, Reza Aslan and Mona Eltahawy.

In 2020 and 2021, the UNSW Centre for Ideas’ events have transitioned to the digital world as a result of COVID-19. Through livestreamed events, the Centre has continued to present world-class events with international talent such as renowned economist Thomas Piketty, Nobel Prize winners Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo and leading epidemiologist Dr Anthony S. Fauci.

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