Australia Day honour for former Socceroos captain and Laws alumnus

27 January 2021

Former Socceroos captain and SBS commentator Craig Foster has been appointed a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for 'significant service to multiculturalism' to human rights and refugee support organisations' and to football'.

Mr Foster is also a recent CQUniversity alumnus' completing his Bachelor of Laws across four years.

He graduated at the CQUniversity Melbourne graduation on December 12' 2019.

During his studies' Mr Foster led a public campaign to secure the release of Bahraini refugee Hakeem al-Araibi' who had been arrested on his honeymoon in Thailand in 2018.

The young footballer had previously been imprisoned in Bahrain in 2012 for attacking a police station' although television footage showed him playing soccer at the time of the alleged attack. After his release' he had fled to Australia as a refugee.

Mr Foster's Save Hakeem campaign mobilised the global football family to secure al-Araibi's release and return to Australia.

Mr Foster hopes being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia can connect his work with a new audience.

"If these two letters' A and M' provide openings to advocate for equality between cultures and religions' for an end to racism' to talk about the value of multiculturalism then it is immensely valuable indeed'" Mr Foster told AAP.

"Nonetheless' for all my work advocating for things that require positive change in Australia' I never lose sight of the extraordinary gifts we possess and the many wonderful aspects of this country for which I am grateful."

In 2019 he has also supported the Game Over movement' seeking to help refugees stuck in Port Moresby and Nauru to resettle elsewhere.

Last year he spearheaded #PlayForLives - a rapidly growing campaign to get professional athletes unable to compete due to COVID-19 restrictions off the bench and into the thousands of essential volunteer positions left vacant in the wake of the pandemic.

Mr Foster serves on the board of the Australian Multicultural Council (Dept Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs)' and is a former Director of the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR).

Craig is a tireless human rights advocate' involved in Indigenous rights' refugee rights and homelessness through his official roles' along with community and sports programs. He is Ambassador for Amnesty' Australia Committee Human Rights Watch' and the UNSW Australian Human Rights Institute.

Craig has won three Logies as part of the SBS FIFA World Cup team' and was named an AFR BOSS True Leader 2019 for the #SaveHakeem campaign.

CQUniversity's Bachelor of Laws degree is three years full-time or four years part-time' via flexible online study.

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