Nyadol Nyuon OAM began her position as Director of the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre in January 2022 after more than a decade as a highly respected community advocate focusing on legal reform, social justice, human rights and multiculturalism.

She has a particular interest in advocating for people with refugee experiences and those seeking asylum. She is Chair of the Harmony Alliance, and a prominent media commentator.

Nyadol was born in a refugee camp in Itang, Ethiopia, and raised in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. In 2005, at the age of 18, she moved to Australia as a refugee before commencing a Bachelor of Arts at Victoria University and completing her Juris Doctor at the University of Melbourne. Nyadol spent five years working as a commercial lawyer at Arnold Bloch Leibler in Melbourne.

In 2020 she delivered a trailblazing address at the National Press Club calling for a revolutionary reimagining of multiculturalism in Australia and calling out prejudice. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Award for Community Harmony and the 2019 Australian Financial Review (AFR) Diversity and Inclusion Award. In 2019, she was named as one of the top 11 most influential women in Australia by the Australian Financial Review.

Areas of expertise

  • Human rights
  • Multiculturalism and the settlement of refugees and people seeking asylum
  • Public interest law
  • Community advocacy
  • Commercial litigation
 Nyadol Nyuon, Director, Sir Zelman Cowen Centre

Contact details

Memberships & external appointments


Chair of Harmony Alliance. Migrant and Refugee Women for Change is Australia’s national migrant and refugee women’s coalition Harmony Alliance is a member-driven organisation, providing a platform for women from migrant and refugee backgrounds to advocate on issues that matter to us. Harmony Alliance is one of the six National Women’s Alliances working to promote the views of all Australian women, to ensure women voices are heard in decision-making processes.

Council Member of Centre for Digital Wellbeing (2022-) The Centre for Digital Wellbeing is a policy research centre focusing on social media’s impact on mental health and wellbeing, safety and social cohesion in the Australian community. The Centre's purpose is to facilitate research about the impacts of social media, formulate policy responses and develop tools to assist users to better engage in healthy digital practices.

Board member of Career Seekers (2021–). CareerSeekers is a non-profit organisation supporting Australia’s humanitarian entrants into professional careers.

Advisory Board Member of the National Anti-Racism Framework: Australian Human Rights Commission. The Australian Human Rights Commission has launched a plan to develop a National Anti-Racism Framework. The Framework will be a long-term, central reference point to guide actions on anti-racism by government, NGOs, business, educators, health professionals, police, other justice authorities, civil society, and the community.

Advisory Committee Member of Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law (2021–). The Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney is the world's leading research centre dedicated to the study of international refugee law.

Ambassador for The Social Studio (January 2011). The Social Studio seeks to enhance the lives of refugees and migrants in Australia.


Ambassador of the Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia (CSRA) (2020–2022). Advisory Board Member of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute Advisory Board (2017–2020). Board Member of the Defence Reserves Support Council (2010–2013).

Board Member of African Think Tank (2011–2012).

Board Member of Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria (2011–2012).


Nyadol Nyuon is a regular media commentator, advocate and a professional public speaker. Nyadol has contributed to high-profile media both nationally and internationally, including:

  • ABC TV’s 'QandA'
  • ABC TV’s 'The Drum'
  • The Guardian Australia
  • The Age
  • Sydney Morning Herald
  • The Saturday Paper.