Dr James Muecke AM
Dr James Muecke AM is the 2020 Australian of the year, rewarded for his career as an eye specialist and his humanitarian work around the world.
An authentic and passionate keynote speaker, James tells the story of his life, the communities he has worked in and the impact that his organisation, Sight For All has had. He also speaks, with compelling evidence and conviction, about the need to prevent the leading cause of blindness in adults – type 2 diabetes – a disease that impacts nearly one in every 10 Australians and is now recognised as a "looming catastrophe for our health system".
He graduated with Honours from the University of Adelaide Medical School in 1987. Following his internship, James lived and worked as a doctor in Africa and subsequently as an eye surgeon in the Middle East, battling malaria, wild animals, and rebel soldiers
He founded Sight For All in 2008, turning his boundless energy into a fight against blindness in the Aboriginal communities of Australia and some of the poorest countries of Asia and Africa. His commitment to social impact and humanitarian endeavours has earnt him a string of awards including an Order of Australia in 2012, the Australian Medical Association’s President’s Leadership Award in 2013, and Ernst & Young’s Social Entrepreneur for Australia in 2015.
James is a researcher, a teacher, an author, a musician, a photographer, and a film producer, and uses his many skills to deliver passionate, fascinating, and at times confronting presentations about his life, his work, philanthropy, resilience and social entrepreneurship.
A neurological condition impacting on his dexterity has forced James into a premature retirement from surgery. Not letting his disability slow him down, James has redirected his vigour to crafting films, and has a number of powerful documentaries under his belt and several compelling projects in production.