A brilliant young legal graduate from The Australian National University (ANU) who is passionate about climate justice will head to Oxford University next year after receiving a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.  

Lillian Ireland is one of three Australia-at-Large Rhodes Scholars for 2023. 

The proud Melukerdee woman from Southeast Lutruwita (Tasmania) is a recent ANU graduate of law and science.  

She hopes to pursue a career in environmental and climate justice to help elevate the voices of Indigenous Peoples, particularly in marine management and protection. 

While at Oxford, Ireland will build on her interdisciplinary background by studying a Master of Science in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management. 

“To me, the climate and biodiversity crises can only be solved with the leadership and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples,” Ireland says. 

“Through postgraduate studies, I hope to help forge a new path towards climate justice and rights for both Peoples and Country, land and sea.”

Established through the will of Cecil Rhodes in 1902, the Rhodes Scholarship is a fully-funded postgraduate award enabling talented young people from around the world to study at the University of Oxford.  

Over a hundred years later, the Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and one of the most prestigious international scholarships in the world, selecting scholars based on academic and intellectual excellence, integrity of character, energy to make a difference and capacity for leadership. 

The other two Australia-at-Large scholars-elect are Emerald Gaydon, from Queensland, and Sam Goldberg, from New South Wales. 

ANU Professor Peter Kanowski, the National Secretary for the Rhodes Scholarships in Australia, says this year’s candidates reflect the very best of Australia’s bright and passionate young leaders. 

“The Rhodes Scholarships continue to attract very strong fields of outstanding applicants, from ANU and around Australia,” Kanowski says. 

“Tasmanian Lilli Ireland’s election as a 2024 Scholar continues the tradition of exceptional ANU students being awarded Rhodes Scholarships to study at Oxford. As the sixth Indigenous Australian Rhodes Scholar in the past 12 years, Lilli will join a Rhodes community that is committed to supporting equality, diversity and reconciliation. 

“Lilli’s fellow Australia-at-Large Scholars, Emerald Gaydon and Sam Goldberg, will also join that community — Emerald continuing her advocacy for women in STEM and Sam his commitment to greater equity through the law.” 

The Rhodes Scholars elected from Australia will join a group of 104 scholars from 25 constituencies, some including multiple countries. There are now over 5,000 Rhodes Scholars worldwide. 

Top image: Rhodes Scholars-elect, Lillian Ireland (left) and Sam Goldberg, with Rhodes Australia-at-Large Committee Chair, Professor Jane Stapleton. Photo: ANU

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