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Don Aitkin Lecture Series

don aitkin

The Don Aitkin Lecture series, instituted by the University of Canberra, is delivered by prominent Australian and international scholars bringing to bear their research and insights on major contemporary social, scientific and cultural issues. The lectures bring to the University distinguished scholars, artists and critics for discussion, debate, seminars and workshops — and enable a variety of interactions with staff, students and the community at large.

These annual lectures began in November 2005, the Inaugural Lecture being delivered by Professor Aitkin himself.


The Don Aitkin Lectures are named after a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canberra (1991-2002). Professor Aitkin, a historian and political scientist, has been a noted public intellectual in Australian life since the 1960s. He was Professor of Politics at Macquarie University in the 1970s, and then Professor of Political Science in the Research School of Social Sciences in the ANU. In 1988 he was appointed the foundation Chairman of the Australian Research Council, and it was from this post that he joined the University of Canberra in 1991. He was best known at UC for his role in the transformation of the University from a college of advanced education, developing the University's identity and profile overseas, as well as in Australia, over a wide range of endeavours.

Professor Aitkin is the author of nine books, one of them a novel. His most recent book, What Was It All For? The Reshaping of Australia, was published by Allen & Unwin in October 2005. He has been a columnist in national newspapers since the 1960s, a television and radio communicator, and a frequent guest speaker. He is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the Australian College of Educators and the Australian Planning Institute, and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1998.

In Canberra, Professor Aitkin is the Chairman of the Cultural Facilities Corporation and the NRMA/ACT Road Safety Trust, as well as the President of Pro Musica Inc. He established the Australian Mathematics Trust, and served as its Chairman for 12 years. A member of the Australian Science and Technology Council for six years, he holds strong and on the whole challenging views on a range of subjects including higher education, research, science, urban development and governance.