Professor Megan Davis

“I loved every minute of being a UQ student, including my time living at Duchesne College. The breadth of subject options was extraordinary, and the critical-thinking skills I gained have served me well for a varied career.

Professor Megan Davis is a respected lawyer and legal academic, known for her work in the United Nations and in leading national debate on constitutional reform to appropriately incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Professor Davis is a Cobble Cobble Aboriginal Woman from the Barunggam Nation in South-West Queensland. After graduating from UQ in 1999, she helped draft the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples until 2005, and from 2011 to 2016, she served as expert and Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York. Since 2017, Professor Davis has served as an expert member and Chair of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples under the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. She is the first Indigenous Australian to be elected to a UN body.

In 2011, Professor Davis was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution and the Prime Minister’s Referendum Council in 2015. She played an instrumental role in the community dialogues that led to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, so much so that she was given the honour of being the first person to publicly read Statement aloud at the First Nations Constitutional Convention at Uluru in 2017. Since then, Professor Davis has continued to be an influential advocate and leader in the movement seeking a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution. For this advocacy, she received the 2021 Sydney Peace Prize.

Professor Davis is currently Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Director of UNSW’s Indigenous Law Centre, the Balnaves Chair in Constitutional Law and a professor of law at UNSW. Her research focuses on constitutional design, international law, human rights law and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, as well as Commissioner of the Australian Rugby League, Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court and a Member of the NSW Sentencing Council. Alongside her UQ qualifications, Professor Davis holds a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice and a Doctor of Philosophy from the Australian National University.

Professor Davis’ Doctor of Laws honoris causa recognises her exceptional achievements in supporting Indigenous peoples through legal frameworks and advocacy.

Awards

Doctor of Laws honoris causa
2021
Professor Megan Davis

Qualifications

Bachelor of Arts
1997
Bachelor of Laws
1999