Inspiring Women of ANU Law, Dr Anne Gallagher AO

Dr Anne Gallagher AO
Dr Anne Gallagher AO (MIntLaw ’92) is an ANU Law alumna and director-general of the Commonwealth Foundation.

To mark International Women's Day this year we are celebrating some of the women who make our College a world-leading institution for legal education and research.

Dr Anne Gallagher AO is an ANU Law alumna named a “Trafficking in Persons Hero” by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Dr Gallagher has built a formidable career in teaching, law, scholarship, human rights and the administration of criminal justice, and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2012.

After a brief period as an academic at ANU, she was recruited to the United Nations where she served for over a decade as a human rights officer, working in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia. Since June 2019, Dr Gallagher has been director-general of intergovernmental organisation the Commonwealth Foundation.

What inspired you to study law?

I had no idea what to do with life after school and the arts/laws degree was one of the longest on offer. I signed on in the hope that, by the end of five years, I’d have found an answer!

What motivates you?

A deep wonder at the fact I exist at all, translated into a desire to appreciate and get the most out of every waking moment.

Who is a woman you look up to?

There are two, in fact: my twin teenage daughters who are fierce and brave, like lionesses. But also tender-hearted.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Every day should be women’s day, of course. But there is value in choosing a moment to celebrate how far we have come – and resolve to help those who face challenges that most of us can barely imagine.

What advice would you give your more junior self?

To ignore whatever advice the old me would offer. The journey, with all the missteps, is the thing!

See more Inspiring Women of ANU Law

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team