Mary Kostakidis

Former face of SBS Television, keynote speaker, MC, moderator

For more than two decades, Mary Kostakidis was the face of SBS Television and the weeknight presenter of SBS World News Australia. She was the first woman appointed to present a national prime time news bulletin in Australia and went on to present its flagship news program for 20 years, before resigning from SBS in 2007.

Since leaving the station, Mary has becoming a leading figure in Australian public life, a result of her long-standing interest in social justice and human rights.

As one of Australia’s most respected media identities, Mary is frequently in demand to deliver lectures, host events, chair public forums and contribute editorial opinion articles in the mainstream press and independent online media.

Her keynotes cover a broad range of interests including women, human rights, pluralism, education, the nature of truth and objectivity, and the media.

As an experienced Master of Ceremonies, Mary has hosted a broad range of events, from the World Congress of Anaesthetists to National Australia Bank’s Gala Business Awards and the Walkley Awards for Journalism.

Mary has also moderated panel discussions on a diverse range of issues for various Government departments and non-government organisations. These include a five-city link-up (four Australian cities and Washington) at an investors breakfast for Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Wikileaks, Assange and Democracy Forum at the University of Technology, Sydney, in 2012. Mary also moderated a panel discussion at the largest television conference in the world in Banff, Canada, on Globalisation in Broadcasting. Panel Members included the British Minister for Trade and the Controller of the BBC as well as other leading world figures in television.

Before joining SBS Mary Kostakidis was an editor at the Ethnic Affairs Commission of NSW. Prior to that, she had worked as a tutor at Sydney University, a research officer for the departments of Health and Youth and Community Services, and a court interpreter. She has also worked for ABC Radio News and has hosted programs on ABC Radio.

A member of the management team that set up the network, Mary developed the Subtitling Unit, including its policy, training program and recruitment of top linguists. As Director of Program Preparation, she was responsible for developing and implementing the station’s censorship and classification policy, and was involved in program purchasing. Mary then moved on to developing the network’s policy for programming for children.

She has been a member of the Drug and Alcohol Council, was a councillor on the Constitutional Centenary Foundation, and she was appointed by the Prime Minister to the Republic Advisory Committee. She has also served on the Order of Australia Honours Committee, and the Sydney Olympic Cultural Organising Committee (SOCOG) and was a member of the Breast Cancer Council Advisory Committee. From 1997-2003 Mary served on the Advertising Standards Board and she has also been an Ambassador for Beyond Blue. She is a founding member of the James Joyce Foundation.

In 2009 Mary served on the National Human Rights Consultation Committee and from 2010-11 was chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation. In this role she championed Wikileaks, chairing a packed meeting at Sydney Town Hall organised by the Foundation and Amnesty International, which was titled ‘Breaking The Silence’ over Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange.

In 2012, Mary Kostakidis was a co-winner of the Alumni Award for Community Achievement for her role as chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation and human rights leadership in the wider community.

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