Chair of Academic Board Professor Margot Hillel, Rabbi John Levi AM and Dr Stephen Weller.
A natural born teacher and one of Australia’s most eminent leaders and historians, Rabbi John Levi is among those receiving an ACU honorary doctorate.
His ability to teach not preach has placed Rabbi John Levi AM as an influential architect of interfaith activities across the country and internationally.
ACU conferred an honorary doctorate on Rabbi Levi at a graduation ceremony in Melbourne on 12 May for his outstanding contribution to Jewish-Christian relations and interfaith dialogue and to the building of a robust multicultural Australian society, one in which each faith community is able to thrive and contribute to the well-being of all and the common good.
The first Australian-born rabbi grew up and was educated in Melbourne. It is Rabbi Levi’s firm opinion that religious communities enrich Australia and he has contributed enormously to engineering the change in social attitudes. He has given distinguished service to the Australian Liberal movement, including playing an instrumental role in founding and sustaining other Progressive Jewish congregations in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Rabbi Levi was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 1981 in recognition of his “services to religion.” He is also a recipient of the Centenary Medal. Monash University awarded him the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) for his contribution to the community and to Australian Jewish history in 2006.
Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli
With almost 17 million Twitter followers in more than five languages, the Pope (@Pontifex) is the second most influential world leader on social media after US President Barack Obama. The architect of this social media phenomenon is President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, who was instrumental in setting up the Pope’s digital networks.
In recognition of his work in spreading the Catholic faith through modern media, ACU has conferred its highest honour, Doctor of the University, on Archbishop Celli at a ceremony in Melbourne on 6 May.
In establishing digital and social media channels for the Vatican, Archbishop Celli has made a significant contribution to the Holy See’s mission for peace, dialogue and communication in the international arena.
Pope Benedict XVI named him as President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in 2007. During his years as President, Archbishop Celli has made it a priority for the council to encourage Church communicators to reflect on the nature of changes in the field of communication and develop appropriate forms of engagement.
He has harnessed the potential of new technologies to develop richer forms of dialogue and greater understanding among different communities, and identified opportunities for the Church to be present in new networks.