The NCW is one of NSW’s oldest continuously operating women's associations in NSW. Its annual awards are presented to people who have ‘exhibited exceptional resilience and commitment in their chosen fields of study... to assist and encourage the awardee in her chosen discipline in specific research’.

Yacoub’s NCW award was sponsored by the Soroptimist International’s NSW and Australian Capital Territory clubs. This global women’s group promotes human rights, equality, sustainable development and peace, to improve the lives of women and girls worldwide.

Yacoub is an international refugee law practitioner and a PhD candidate at the Kaldor Centre. Her doctorate is entitled, ‘Gendering the International Law Criteria for Return of Refugees: the case of Sudan’.

She also teaches international refugee law at the University of London Refugee Law Initiative (RLI) Masters programme and chairs a global network of scholars undertaking feminist approaches to international refugee law. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Adelaide, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Marburg in Germany, and a Master in Public International Law from the University of Melbourne.

She has worked for two decades for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, where she has been posted since 2001 in conflict and peacetime settings in Egypt, Sudan, Ireland, United Nations Headquarters New York, Myanmar, Australia and the Pacific Island States (including Nauru and Papua New Guinea). She also served as a decision-maker on the Refugee Review Tribunal and Migration Review Tribunal in Australia from 2012 to 2014.

As noted in the awards’ program, Yacoub ‘is a passionate advocate for the rights of women and girls fleeing persecution. In her academic work, she exposes gender discrimination in international law and proposes ways to improve it through feminist theory. She has promoted gender equality at different stages of the refugee cycle. This includes support for women who flee violence by sea, the responsibility to protect people exposed to atrocity crimes and finding long-term solutions to refuge. Natasha has published widely on these issues, including offshore processing in Australia.’

NCW NSW President Yvette Kinkade noted that, ‘Witnessing women uplift and fortify each other is a testament to the responsibility ingrained within our collective ethos.’ Dr Briony Scott, Wenona School Principal, was the guest speaker, telling the awardees at the NCW NSW Australia Day luncheon at the state’s Parliament House. ‘We’re all part of the story’.

Explore more news and resources from UNSW’s Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law.