World Refugee Day Event 2020 –

The plight of refugees and asylum seekers during the pandemic.

Bios for Gillian Triggs, Nyadol Nyuon, Professor Michelle Foster and David Manne are found below.



Gillian Triggs – Assistant High Commissioner for Protection  United Nations High Commissioner for RefugeesAssistant Secretary-General

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Gillian Triggs of Australia as Assistant Secretary-General to serve as the Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  Ms. Triggs will succeed Volker Türk of Austria who has been appointed as Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.  The Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Refugees are grateful for Mr. Türk’s 30 years of dedicated service to the refugee cause, including 4 years as Assistant High Commissioner for Protection.

Ms. Triggs, who recently served a 5-year term as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, brings to the position several decades of professional experience as an academic, practising lawyer, advocate and public policy expert.  A barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria, she is currently Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne, President of the Asian Development Bank Administrative Tribunal, and holder of a number of other eminent appointments.

An expert in international law, Ms. Triggs has an extensive history of dedicated service to human rights and the refugee cause in Australia, the Asia-Pacific Region and globally.  She was in international commercial law practice and also Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne.  She then served as Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, and as Dean and Challis Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney.

Ms. Triggs holds a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in law from the University of Melbourne, and a master’s degree in law from Southern Methodist University, Texas.


Nyadol Nyuon – commercial litigator with Arnold Bloch Leibler and a community advocate.

Nyadol Nyuon is a commercial litigator with Arnold Bloch Leibler and a community advocate.

Nyadol was born in a refugee camp in Itang, Ethiopia, and raised in Kakuma Refugee camp, Kenya. At eighteen, Nyadol moved to Australia as part of Australia’s refugee and humanitarian program. She has completed a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne.

Outside her work, and through the experiences of her family and community, Nyadol has developed an interest in issues concerning human rights, multiculturalism, the settlement of refugees and those seeking asylum.

She has volunteered extensively in relation to these areas has worked with the Victoria Equal Opportunity and Human Right Commission, Judicial College of Victoria, Oxfam Australian, the Centre for African- Australian Women Issues and others.

She was also a board member of the African Think Tank, the Youth Steering Committee of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia and the New Sudanese Youth Association.

In terms of advocacy, Nyadol has presented at various conferences and forums on issues impacting the settlement of African-Australians in Victoria and Australia in general. She regularly makes appearances on ABC’s The Drum.

In both 2011 and 2014, Nyadol was nominated as one of the hundred most influential African-Australians. She is currently a board member of the Melbourne University Social Equity Institute.


Professor Michelle Foster

Michelle Foster is a Professor and the inaugural Director of the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness at Melbourne Law School.   Michelle has published widely in the field of international refugee law, international human rights law and on statelessness issues.  Michelle teaches Refugee Law and International Refugee Law and directs the annual Statelessness Intensive Course at Melbourne Law School.  Michelle is also a Board Member of AMES Australia.



David Manne – Executive Director and Principal Solicitor, Refugee Legal

David Manne is a human rights lawyer and Executive Director of Refugee Legal (previously the Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre (RILC)).  He has worked in various capacities assisting refugees and asylum seekers for over 20 years.  He has headed up Refugee Legal for the last decade.


David sat on the Board of the Refugee Council of Australia for seven years, and currently the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Ethics Committee, and a number of peak Government consultative bodies. He has also been appointed to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Advisory Board of Eminent Persons.  He has been invited to attend and present at the UN High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges on numerous occasions.

David has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards.

David has also headed Refugee Legal’s legal teams in successfully arguing 10 out of 10 landmark High Court challenges.