Dean Clifford-Jones won the Law Council of Australia’s 2020 Australian Young Lawyer of the Year Award for his outstanding contribution to the profession through pro bono work and advocacy.
He is the founder of Pride in Law, Australia’s first national LGBTIQ+ Law Association and graduated from Griffith with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts, the first person in his family to attend university.
Dean became a judge’s associate in his first year after graduating, achieving considerable success as a Crown Prosecutor and later as a senior child protection lawyer. He is currently a full-time member of the Queensland Parole Board.
“It is certainly an intense job that comes with a lot of responsibility, but I consider the work I do a privilege,” he said.
“Despite the heavy material that comes across my desk, I still have faith in humanity.”
Dean has spearheaded a range of initiatives to promote gender diversity and awareness in the profession and judiciary.
“I think this award recognises what I’ve been able to achieve in the profession so far, and also my volunteer and pro bono work for the LGBTIQ+ community.”
Acting Head of Griffith Law School Professor Elena Marchetti said Dean won Arts, Education and Law Young Alumnus of the Year in 2018.
“Dean is an accomplished young lawyer who has a clear passion for diversity in the legal profession,” she said.
“Since graduating from Griffith, Dean has made a significant contribution to the profession and the broader community.”
The promising student received a George Alexander Foundation Scholarship that enabled him to move from the Sunshine Coast to pursue his studies at Griffith.
“I wouldn’t have been able to afford to attend university if it wasn’t for the scholarship,” he said.
Bachelor of Government and International Relations/Bachelor of Asian Studies Ramzi Matta is one of nine remarkable Griffith undergraduate students named as 2021 New Colombo Plan scholars.
Ramzi’s rich cultural background and family’s experiences led to his choice of studies.
“I was born into a diverse family, with a Parsi mother and a Lebanese father, who fled the civil war which has since destroyed the prosperity of Lebanon,” Ramzi said.
“Family conversations routinely turned into discussions about world-politics and conflicts, which…drove my desire to shape Australian foreign policy as a career.”
The New Colombo Plan (NCP) is an Australian Government initiative which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia by supporting undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.
Ramzi will use the opportunity to learn how Taiwan manages crises and avoids risks, specifically looking at how its relationship with China has produced economic gain without becoming overly dependent
“There is an undeniable risk of conflict across the Taiwan Strait which would affect the lives of millions and be disastrous to nations prospering from the region, such as Australia,” he said.
“Remarkably, Taiwan has been effective at managing crises, from constant security concerns to its handling of the SARS and COVID-19 outbreaks.
“Australia could learn much from Taiwan.”
Proud Gunggari woman Anthea Moodie is studying a Bachelor of Communication and Journalism/Bachelor of Business at Griffith and has been awarded NCP Indigenous Fellow as the top-ranked Indigenous applicant, as well as the NCP Scholarship.
Anthea is keen to learn more about how sport provides opportunities for those from marginalised communities in Fiji to engage, connect and excel.
“I have commonly witnessed people of my culture who are gifted in sport fail to realise the opportunities presented before them,” Anthea said.
“Like Australia, Fiji’s national identity is deeply rooted in sport.”
Alexander Blackborough, Anna Twomey, Cheyenne Apap, Dean Cosgrove, Joshua Saunders, Melissa Osborn and Pearl Hoile join Ramzi and Anthea as NCP scholars for 2021.
Vice President (Global) Professor Sarah Todd said it was an incredible result.
“In a year when international activities have been challenging to say the least, it’s great to see nine of our students receiving these prestigious awards,” Professor Todd said.Jump to next article