Former Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd receives honorary degree

The University of Glasgow has awarded an honorary degree to the former Prime Minister of Australia, Dr Kevin Rudd, for his dedication to International Relations.

Currently the Australian Ambassador to the United States of America, Dr Rudd was recognised for his long and distinguished career in global politics.

Dr Rudd received his honorary degree at a special ceremony in the University’s Bute Hall and gave a keynote speech focusing on The Impact of US China Relations on Global Geo-Politics, Geo-Economics and Climate Change.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal & Vice-Chancellor, University of Glasgow, said: "I am delighted to welcome Dr Rudd to Glasgow and to hear his keynote speech on the impact of US China relations on global politics.

"In awarding this honorary degree we are recognising the exceptional impact Dr Rudd has made on the international stage for two decades. As Prime Minister of Australia, Minister for Foreign Affairs and now the Australian Ambassador to the United States, Dr Rudd has played a pivotal role in representing his country.
"Closer to home, Dr Rudd has worked tirelessly to ’Close the Gap’ on inequalities across Australin life and society. In doing so, Dr Rudd has proved he shares the values of the University of Glasgow and I very much welcome him to our community of world changers."

Dr Kevin Rudd served as Australia’s twenty-sixth Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010, then as Minister for Foreign Affairs, before a second term as Prime Minister in 2013. Since leaving government, Dr Rudd became inaugural President of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York in 2015 and is recognised as a leading analyst on China. In 2020, he was appointed President and CEO of the Asia Society globally and, in 2022, he founded the Asia Society Policy Institute’s Center for China Analysis.

In 2019, Dr Rudd was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to Indigenous reconciliation, innovative economic initiatives, and major policy reform, and through senior advisory roles with international organisations. He is co-chair of an Australian charity, the National Apology Foundation, which works to advance reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, building on his commitment as Prime Minister to ’Close the Gap’ on inequalities in health, education, employment, housing, incarceration, child protection, violence, mental health, traditional languages and digital inclusion facing indigenous communities in Australia.

In March 2023, Dr Rudd became Australia’s Ambassador to the USA.

Accepting the honorary degree, Dr Rudd said: "The University of Glasgow proudly boasts the great moral philosopher and modern economist Adam Smith as one of your own, whose writings in The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations have shaped my own worldview over many years. In the engineering sciences, you also nurtured James Watt, Adam Smith’s great friend and contemporary, who became the inventor of the stream engine, giving rise to what we came to call the Industrial Revolution which transformed the world.

"I thank this ancient university, founded in the 15th century, and now among the oldest in the world, for awarding me this honorary degree."