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QUT Connections: A forum for bold ideas

QUT’s flagship event series connecting you to prominent thought leaders and ground-breaking research.

QUT is an exciting place, where ideas are generated, questioned, and challenged.

Introducing our new free public speaker series – ‘QUT Connections: a forum for bold ideas’, inspiring curiosity, exploring public debate, and connecting you with the world’s great thinkers.

This is your opportunity to debate big ideas, spark your imagination, and ask questions about the most pressing challenges facing us today.

Each forum features influential thought leaders that span disciplinary, cultural, and global boundaries. With knowledge we can help shape our world and better understand our place within it.

“It is only through interrogating known facts that new discoveries can occur.”

– Professor Margaret Sheil AO, QUT Vice Chancellor and President.

Ending modern slavery: what climate action has taught us

Featuring Australia’s first Anti-slavery Commissioner, Dr James Cockayne and QUT experts in justice, law and business research.

From your mobile phone to your solar panels, from your blueberries to your retirement savings, goods and services we purchase are too often produced and distributed through slavery. Yet, few of us realise it. The UN estimates that there are 50 million people experiencing modern slavery today. What can we learn from climate action about working together to create the system change required to end modern slavery?

Meet distinguished guest speaker, Dr James Cockayne, Australia’s first Anti-slavery Commissioner

Dr Cockayne advocates for and promotes action to combat modern slavery, supports victims and works to identify modern slavery risks in supply chains. NSW was the first state or territory in Australia to introduce standalone legislation to address modern slavery, with Dr Cockayne the first commissioner appointed to the role on a full-time basis.

Prior to his appointment, Dr Cockayne was an international lawyer, professor of global politics and anti-slavery leader. James has spent two decades promoting human rights and responsible business practices – from counter-terrorism work in Africa and the Middle East, to advising United Nations leaders in New York, Geneva and Tokyo.

Over the last decade James’ efforts have focused on the global fight to end modern slavery. A former member of the World Economic Forum Global Futures Council for Equity and Social Justice, Dr Cockayne was a founder of Code 8.7, Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking and the United Nations’ anti-slavery knowledge platform, Delta 8.7.


Thursday 16 November 2023
5pm–6.30pm, doors, open 4.45pm
30 minute presentation with Dr James Cockayne, followed by panel discussion and Q&A with Dr James Cockayne and QUT researchers.
Gardens Theatre, 2 George Street, QUT Gardens Point
Register for 16 November
Register to attend online
Book early, places are limited

Meet our experts

Dr Michael Cowley

Associate Professor Erin O’Brien

Political scientist who supports the mobilisation of consumers, shareholders, and investors on social justice issues including modern slavery and climate change.

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Associate Professor David Flannery

Professor Rowena Maguire

Environmental lawyer progressing supply chain reform to ensure that environmental and social impacts of consumption are regulated.

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Dr Selen Türkay

Associate Professor Bree Hurst

Social scientist who encourages organisations to critically examine, be accountable, and improve their impacts on society and the environment.

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