Peter and Ruth McMullin intend to make one of the most significant gifts in the history of the University of Melbourne Law School to establish the world’s only academic centre devoted to the problem of statelessness.
“Ruth and I congratulate the Melbourne Law School on its global leadership in establishing the Centre and it is our pleasure to support it,” Mr McMullin said.
“In our opinion, policy solutions need to be found to address the mounting issue of statelessness around the world, and we look forward to them being developed through the work of the Centre.”
The intended donation was announced at a gala dinner to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Melbourne Law School, where Mr McMullin achieved his law degree.
“We all need to contribute where we can to strengthen valuable institutions like the University of Melbourne in the current global environment,” Mr McMullin said.
University of Melbourne Chancellor Allan Myers said the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness was one of the most significant and visionary philanthropic initiatives in the history of the Law School.
Mr Myers said the Centre on Statelessness would examine the causes and extent of statelessness around the world, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
“It will work with governments, the not-for-profit sector and the United Nations towards the elimination of statelessness and it will work to protect the rights of stateless people,” Mr Myers said.
“The Centre will engage in research, teaching and training, supporting public policy and law reform, and raising public awareness and understanding of statelessness.”
Mr Myers said the Centre would begin in 2018 under the leadership of Professor Michelle Foster, a globally respected University of Melbourne scholar in refugee and human rights law.
“A child is born into statelessness every 10 minutes and stateless people are vulnerable to a wide range of legal disabilities in many countries which may limit their right to education, employment, travel and even marriage,” Mr Myers said.
“The Melbourne Law School is proud to establish a centre that will play a critical role in worldwide efforts to eliminate statelessness and to protect the rights of stateless people.”