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Jane McAdam

Scientia Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales

Professor Jane McAdam AO BA (Hons) LLB (Hons) (Sydney) DPhil (Oxford) is Scientia Professor of Law and Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney, where she also leads the Evacuations Research Hub. She is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, and a Fellow of both the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of Law. She has held visiting appointments at Oxford and Harvard, and was previously a non-resident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at The Brookings Institution in Washington DC.

Professor McAdam publishes widely in international refugee law and forced migration, with a particular focus on mobility in the context of climate change and disasters. Her prestigious Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship examines the legal underpinnings and practical challenges of evacuations across a range of contexts, including conflict, disasters and other humanitarian crises. Her legal analysis of both refugee law and climate-related displacement has been adopted by courts, governments and UN bodies, and her work has been highly influential in the development of international, regional and national policy frameworks. She was instrumental in drafting the International Law Association’s Sydney Declaration of Principles on the Protection of Persons Displaced in the context of Sea Level Rise in 2018, for instance, and was appointed in 2022 to lead the drafting of the Pacific Regional Framework on Climate Mobility.

Professor McAdam serves on multiple international committees, including the International Law Association’s Committee on International Law and Sea-Level Rise (as Co-Rapporteur until 2018); the Advisory Committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement; the Climate Migration Council; the Advisory Board of the Yearbook of International Disaster Law; the Academic Advisory Board of the Center on Forced Displacement, Boston University; and the Advisory Council of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. She is joint Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refugee Law, the leading journal in the field. She has been an expert advisor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration and the World Bank, and she is a member of the Technical Working Group on Climate Mobility for the Pacific Resilience Partnership. In 2024, she was appointed by the Australian Immigration Minister to the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration Expert Sub-Committee.

In 2017, Professor McAdam received the Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for Human Rights for her work on refugees and forced migration. She was honoured as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum; named among Australia’s top ten Women of Influence, winning the ‘global’ category of the Australian Financial Review/Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence awards in 2015; and in 2017, she was one of four finalists for the NSW Premier’s Award for Woman of the Year. In 2021, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) ‘for distinguished service to international refugee law, particularly to climate change and the displacement of people’. In 2022, she received the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2022 Law Award.