In the early days, each year International House presented a public lecture on the theme of “World Peace and Understanding”. In 1967, the lecture commenced with the hosting of a seminar on the theme of Australia and Asia and in 1968 the theme was Somewhere East of Suez: the Effects of British Withdrawal. For 1970 the theme chosen was Man International – so even in the early days, a diverse range of topics was set within the historical and political context. Notable speakers of the time included James Killen MP, Prof Gordon Greenwood, Sir Zelman Cowen.

The seminars and lectures were discontinued until 1988, when they re-commenced to help Rotary International celebrate its “World Understanding and Peace Day” held on the 23rd of February. The lecture in 1988 was presented by Sir Harry Gibbs, former Chief Judge of the High Court of Australia, titled ‘Brotherhood: By Example or Decree?’

International House’s Peace and Understanding Lecture has attracted guest speakers such as Sir Harry Gibbs, Archbishop Peter Hollingworth, Justice Michael Kirby, Penelope Wensley AO, and Mr Kevin Rudd and has covered a range of globally topical issues to promote awareness of world situations.

For a complete list of lectures see below.

YearSpeaker(s)Title
1967Professor Robert Neale AO et al.Australia and Asia
1968Professor Gordon Greenwood et al.Somewhere East of Suez: The effects of British Withdrawal
1969Emeritus Professor CP FitzgeraldThe Future of the Overseas Chinese
1970Professor Zelman Cowan, Dr Glen McBride, Professor Gordon Greenwood, Professor Colin HughesMan International
1988Sir Harry GibbsBrotherhood by Example or by Decree?
1989Dr Ian LoweInternationalist: The Environmental Imperative
1990Archbishop Peter Hollingworth AC OBE2001: Goals for Australia
1992Dr John LongworthUnderstanding Our Customers: Hidden Socio-Political Realities in Japan and China which influence Trade with Australia
1993Justice Marcus EinfeldInternational Challenges to Humanity at the Close of the Twentieth Century
1994Dr Goh Ban LeePartnership of Equals in a Changing Pacific Rim
1995Hon Justice Michael D Kirby AC CMGCambodia: Failures and Achievements
1998Mr John PapworthConformism or Rebellion:Citizenship Roles in the Global Crisis
1999Former Prime Minister Mr Kevin RuddKorean Peninsula: Challenges, Threats and Opportunities
2000Dr Sue Wareham OAMSanctions Against Iraq: A Crime Against Humanity
2001Aunty Joan Hendricks Reconciliation: A Different Deal - The Journey Together
2002Mr Richard Woolcott ACWhatever Happened to Peace and Understanding?
2003Dr Kirpal SinghMelting Pots, Mosaics and Fabrics: Whither Multiculturalism?
2004Hon Mary Gaudron QCThe Rule of Law
2006Mr Ben McDevitt AM APM CSIOperation Helpem Fren - Peace via Justice
2007Dr Jennifer Allen Simons"Come My Friends, 'Tis Not Too Late To Seek A Newer World": Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons
2008Her Excellency Ms Penelope Wensley AOCommunity for Understanding
2009Ms Geraldine Cox AMHome Is Where The Heart Is
2010Mr Ian ConwayA New Dreaming Through Education
2013Dr Tim SoutphommasaneRacism, It Stops With Me
2015Eddie Jaku OAMHolocaust
2016Mr Fred (Iain) SmithPeace, Love and Understanding In A War Zone