Facing Equality portrait series
Everyone deserves to see themselves reflected in the stories presented in society, but this isn't the reality. For me specifically, the image of what a 'scientist' looks like is very limited when presented by mainstream media and it's wonderful that this series provides visible examples of an incredibly diverse group.
UNSW has long had a commitment to diversity and inclusion - and has made it a key part of the 2025 Strategy. The Facing Equality portrait series challenges notions of equality by combining photographic portraits with personal reflections from a diverse range of alumni and members of the UNSW community. Participants represent diversity across gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability and personal background. In addition to sharing their image, alumni have detailed why diversity is important from their own unique perspective.
The series aims to provide positive examples for students of the possibilities open to them regardless of background and future goals, and by simply displaying these images provides a significant tool in the fight against implicit forms of bias, which today are a major obstacle to achieving equality in Australia.
This series is co-presented by the Grand Challenge on Inequality and UNSW Alumni and Engagement.
A selection of portraits from the series are featured in the gallery below.
Rosemary Kayess (BSocSc/LLB 2004)
Visiting Fellow, UNSW Law
The recognition of disability as just one aspect of the human condition is a driving principle of my work; at the United Nations, in my teaching and academic research. It’s about using the transformative potential in human rights as a catalyst for change, for an environment where all people can be accepted, participate and thrive.
Read excerpts of Rosemary's interview with Kim Rubenstein in the 'Trailblazing women and the law oral history project' here.
Read more about Rosemary's experiences in the draft chapter 'Oral history as empirical corrective: Including women’s experiences in international law' here.
Dr Kelvin Kong (BSc/MBBS 1999)
John Hunter Hospital
In qualifying as the first Aboriginal Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, I've always been kept grounded by my family - my strength and inspiration. I am proud of my Aboriginal and Chinese cultural background, and being able to add diversity to medicine in urban, rural and remote communities.
Turia Pitt (BE/BSc 2011)
Mindset Coach, Athlete and Humanitarian
I believe the key to an incredible life is your mindset. And you get to choose that! It’s not set in stone. It’s not defined by your age, gender, race or ability. So, why have a mindset that keeps you stuck, when you can choose to create a mindset that fuels you forward?
Dr Shanti Raman (PhD 2016)
Director - Department of Community Paediatrics
South Western Sydney Local Health District
As a paediatrician and a women of colour, I am particularly interested in the health of migrant and refugee children, indigenous children and children on the margins. I am passionately committed to global advocacy to end violence against women and children and to promote a rights-based perspective to child health.
Sam Alderton-Johnson (BCCJ 2014)
Senior Diversity Advisor with Department of Planning and Environment
As a young father who left home at 15, graduating university was a challenge. Being the first in my family to finish high school and coming from an Aboriginal community made these experiences confronting, yet ultimately rewarding. Now, I work alongside families in their pursuit for justice, ensuring their voice and experience is heard.
Vivi Koutsounadis OAM (Ba 1969, DipPsychol 1971(Psychology))
Former Executive Director & Founder
Ethnic Community Services Cooperative
I migrated to Australia in 1954 with my family from Chios, Greece. Over the years, I have worked with people from so many diverse cultural, linguistic, religious, social and educational backgrounds. We accepted, respected and celebrated our differences - working together to solve common issues and change systems to better reflect the needs of all.
Dr Jeanette McConnell (PhD (Medicinal Chemistry 2015))
Director - Fizzics Education USA
Diversity is so important in science. Research shows that greater levels of diversity increase both innovation and success in an organisation. To empower diversity we need to provide visible and highly diverse role models for today's students. As an educator, I am passionate about making that a reality.
Teela Reid (Juris Doctor 2016)
Solicitor, LegalAid NSW
I think the law chose me. I never grew up with the desire to become a lawyer, but I come from a family of strong Aboriginal advocate. I am driven by the legacy of my ancestors and the fight for justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Henry Nan Hung Pan OMA (BE 1974)
Honorary Executive Director, CASS Group
I believe the best way to fight discrimination is utilizing one's talents and potentials to contribute to the society. Take positive actions and show that everyone can contribute to the country, no matter where he/she comes from. I dedicate myself through volunteering to repay my gratefulness to the Australian community.
Belqis Youssofzay (BArch(Hons) 2008)
Director, Youssofzay & Hart
Galleries and museums are the great civic spaces of our age. These buildings act as social levellers and provide means for inter-cultural exchange in a time of global connectedness and diversity. Within this context, I work to tell engaging stories, and create environments that are inclusive and accessible to all.
Danny Kapustin (MBA Executive 2013)
Chief Executive Officer Forsight
An experienced not-for-profit Executive and Board member, Danny is currently leading a for-purose organisation providing accommodation support for people with sensory impairments aiming to enable inclusion, independence and wellbeing.
Having tow children with additional needs Danny understands the impact of disability and is passionate about the sector and utilising his MBA skills for organisational transformation.