Kevin Rudd

  • Kevin Rudd PM

    Kevin was born in Nambour, Queensland, and grew up on a farm nearby in Eumundi. After attending high school in Brisbane, Kevin went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) with first-class honours at the Australian National University. It was here that his fascination with China began and he…

    Location: QLD, Australia
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About Kevin

Kevin was born in Nambour, Queensland, and grew up on a farm nearby in Eumundi. After attending high school in Brisbane, Kevin went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) with first-class honours at the Australian National University. It was here that his fascination with China began and he started learning Mandarin.

After university, Kevin joined the Department of Foreign Affairs, where he worked as a diplomat and was posted to Stockholm and Beijing. He returned to Australia and became Chief of Staff to Wayne Goss in the Queensland election campaign of 1989, taking on the role of Director-General of the Cabinet Office during Goss’s government.

Kevin entered the Australian parliament in 1998 after winning the seat of Griffith, in southeast Brisbane, and became leader of the Australian Labor Party in 2006.

Kevin successfully led the Labor Party to victory in the 2007 federal election after 11 years of in Opposition. While in office, Kevin’s government set into motion major reforms in domestic policy areas such as health, education, industrial relations, social security and infrastructure.  He led Australia’s response to the Global Financial Crisis, reviewed by the IMF as the most effective stimulus strategy of all major economies. Australia was the only major developed economy not to go into recession. On 13 February 2008, Kevin delivered the National Apology to the Stolen Generations in Australia and committed to ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Kevin was also very active on the international stage where his considerable experience in foreign affairs assisted him to pursue numerous major policy achievements. These include making advances on climate change action, his role in the establishment of the G20 and diplomacy in moving towards an Asia-Pacific community through multilateral bodies such as the East Asia Summit, ASEAN and APEC.

Since leaving Australian politics in 2013, Kevin has continued to engage in international affairs. He holds many prominent academic roles including as a Distinguished Statesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Distinguished Fellow at both Chatham House and the Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Currently, Kevin serves as global President and CEO of the Asia Society in New York, which forges closer ties between Asia and the West through arts, education, policy and business. Since 2015, he has been President of the Asia Society Policy Institute, a “think-do tank” dedicated to second track diplomacy to assist governments and business on policy challenges within Asia, and between Asia, the US and the West. In 2015, he was appointed Chair of Sanitation and Water for All, a UNICEF-supported organisation working towards universal access to clean water and adequate sanitation. He is also Chair of the Board of International Peace Institute.

Kevin divides his time between the Asia Society’s global headquarters New York and his home country of Australia, where he remains actively engaged in public debates.

He is Chair of Australians for a Murdoch Royal Commission, a community organisation emanating from his petition in 2020 for an independent public inquiry to investigate Rupert Murdoch’s stranglehold on Australian media ownership. With more than 500,000 signatures, it was the largest electronic petition ever submitted to the Australian Parliament.

Kevin is also Co-Chair of the National Apology Foundation, which he founded in 2014 to advance the cause of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and close the gap of disadvantage afflicting Australia’s First Peoples.

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