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Inequality is increasingly prevalent in our society. From the widening gap between rich and poor, unaffordable housing and immigrant exploitation, to gender violence, homelessness and mental ill health, some people are suffering more than others without justice or support. But how do we solve inequality?

"It’s about changing the conversation by ensuring equitable access to education at all levels," says NSW MP Liesl Tesch, a keynote speaker at a UNSW Grand Challenge event on 20 July. “The economic gap is widening in Australia and inequality is becoming more relevant and divisive. We need to provide opportunities for people who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.

"Academic thinkers and decision makers are important drivers of change in society. By bringing them into the conversation we can discuss how to get things right at the national and state levels, which means we will get it right at the local level," she says.

After her keynote address, Tesch will join Australian and international experts from the PLuS Alliance (UNSW, Arizona State University and King's Collge London) in a panel discussion on the themes of sustainability, global health, social justice, and technology and innovation.

About the speaker and panel members:

Liesl Tesch AM lives in Woy Woy and for the last 20 years taught at local public schools until she was elected to the Parliament of New South Wales in April 2017. She has represented Australia proudly at seven Paralympic Games bringing home two Gold medals in sailing. Between teaching and the Paralympics, she established the not-for-profit Sport Matters to bring targeted development assistance to people with disability in Australia, the Pacific, Asia and Africa.

Professor Rosalind Dixon is Professor of Law at UNSW. She was an associate to the Chief Justice of Australia, the Hon. Murray Gleeson AC, before attending Harvard Law School for her LLM and SJD. Her work focuses on comparative constitutional law and constitutional design, theories of constitutional dialogue and amendment, socioeconomic rights and constitutional law and gender.

Professor Richard Holden is Professor of Economics at UNSW Business School and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow from 2013-2017. Previously, he was on the faculty at the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has been featured in The New York Times, The Financial TimesNew Republic, and Daily Kos.

Professor Eileen Baldry is Professor of Criminology at UNSW. In 2016, she was named as one of the inaugural PLuS Alliance Fellows in Social Justice. She also holds the distinguished position of Academic Chair, UNSW Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Board, and is the current Deputy Chair of the Disability Council NSW. 

Professor Mark Henderson is Professor of Engineering at Arizona State University. He is also co-founder of GlobalResolve, a social entrepreneurship program with projects in Africa to help villages solve problems in water and energy and use those solutions to establish sustainable business ventures.

Dr Jelke Boesten is Reader in Gender and Development at King’s College London. Her research focuses on violence against women and the ramifications for policy in Latin America. She has published widely in international journals and books on gender justice in Peru, and on gender, HIV/AIDS and activism in East Africa.

What: Calling time on indifference: How do we solve inequality?

When: Thursday, 20 July, 8.30-11:30 am

Where: John Niland Scientia Building, UNSW Sydney

Tickets: Complimentary. Please register your attendance.

The Grand Challenges Program was established by UNSW to promote and lead critical discussions on some of the greatest issues facing humanity.  There are currently four declared Grand Challenge topics – Climate Change, Refugees & Migrants, Inequality and Living with 21st Century Technology. For more information visit  

The PLuS Alliance was formed in 2016 by Arizona State University, King’s College London and UNSW Sydney. It combines the strengths of three leading research universities on three continents to solve global challenges around health, social justice, sustainability, and technology and innovation. For more information, visit