Posted: Friday 16 September, 2016

Vice Chancellors step up to support iconic ideas festival

Ideas are big business in the world today. Our universities are in the ideas business and so too is civil society. That’s why, after 16 years, the Vice Chancellors of South Australia’s three public universities are continuing to back The Adelaide Festival of Ideas (AFoI) as a free event for citizens.

“In a world where a price is put on everything, what the Adelaide Festival of Ideas gives to the community is priceless” says AFoI founder and Chairman, Greg Mackie OAM.

“Our universities are incubators for our future prosperity, and the AFoI is a treasured icon in Adelaide’s cultural events calendar.,” says Mackie.

Professor Colin Stirling, Vice Chancellor, Flinders University said,“I am delighted that our flagship annual Investigator Lecture will be delivered by former US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, at a pivotal time in the US Presidential race and will be a keynote of the AFoI program. ” Professor Stirling says.

“From the world’s biggest business speed-dating event for entrepreneurs at Flinders’ Icebreaker 16, to our researchers, thinkers and achievers sharing their expertise with festival patrons, Flinders University will continue to inspire and innovate with ideas that make a real difference in the world.”

Professor Warren Bebbington, Vice-Chancellor and President, The University of Adelaide said, “The University of Adelaide is proud to support the reborn Festival of Ideas.   The Festival is an iconic event, exploring new thinking, opening minds, creating collaboration and celebrating innovation.  We will be delighted to have Bonython Hall and Elder Hall hosting public conversations with some great thinkers and achievers.”

Professor David Lloyd, Vice Chancellor and President, The University of South Australia, said, “It is a university’s primary function to stimulate ideas, to contribute to developing the key issues of the day, and to share those ideas with the community that surrounds us. The University of South Australia is proud to be a part of the Festival of Ideas program and to be hosting the University of South Australia – Enterprise Oration on our City West campus.

“The Festival’s theme: Make or Break: doing nothing is not an option, could almost be our own mission statement and we look forward to playing our part in addressing society’s great challenges and to a long future of collaboration with the Festival of Ideas.”

Adelaide City Council, companies like Statewide Super, UnitCare, aged services provider ACH, and website designers Freerange Future are significant among nearly 30 organisations who have rallied to support this amazing volunteer-led effort,

The full program will be announced next Friday, but we are happy to announce a few keynote events that join the already announced AFoI Phillip Adams dedication and Oration and the appearance of acclaimed US environmental advocate, Erin Brockovich:

On the eve of the US Presidential election, former US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich will deliver the annual  Flinders Investigator Lecture about Democracy’s new challenge.

From Singapore, a thinker on new political, economic and cultural systems that inspire and sustain, Jose Ramos will deliver the inaugural University of South Australia Enterprise Oration

The AFoI is also proud to announce that Mark Pesce, leading innovator, inventor and commentator will be talking to the topic Smart Money.

Robyn Layton QC will deliver the 2016  Dame Roma Mitchell Oration on the current state of human rights in Australia.

Barry Jones AC will deliver the 2016 Don Dunstan Oration, sharing his latest ideas about how Australia’s leaders can climb out of the current political abyss.

The Adelaide Festival of Ideas is from the 21 – 23 October and is part of the Open State (, many of the events are free. “The full program will be released next Friday 23 September and we are encouraging people to sign up to our newsletter and be amongst the first to get details on the AFoI program,” continued Greg Mackie.

All of these events as well as the recent announcements of Phillip Adams as Festival Dedicatee and Erin Brockovich In Conversation, are available to book online at” concluded Greg.