Interview An Interview With Tim Soutphommasane

An Interview With Tim Soutphommasane

Dr Tim Soutphommasane is a political philosopher whose thinking on patriotism, diversity and national identity has been influential in reshaping debates in Australia and Britain. He is currently Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner.

Tim Soutphommasane

How did the corporate speaking begin?

After my first book on patriotism and identity, I began receiving requests for speaking. It grew from there. I think people in business and education have a strong interest in being pushed to think more philosophically about the world.

Which event has been your favourite and why?

My talk at TEDxSydney was a lot of fun – the audience was engaged and was prepared to be quietly challenged.

If you could speak at any event, past or future, what would it be?

I’m a bit of an American politics tragic – you would find it hard to go past the electric atmosphere of a presidential nominating convention. But part of me also wonders what it would have been like in the Roman Senate of antiquity.

Who would you most like to share a platform with?

If we’re talking fantasy, it would have to be Bill Clinton.

What are your most frequently requested speaking topics?

Patriotism and identity, immigration, the ethics of social media, the value of liberal education – all of which are areas I work on and write about.

What do you do to ensure your presentation has a lasting impact?

I try my best to understand the needs of my audiences. I am a strong believer in preparation. But any speech should offer clarity and some ideas to stretch its audience.

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