Sam Lipski
Journalist | Commentator | Analyst
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Welcome to the website of Sam Lipski AO LLD (Hon)

"His stellar national and international career as a journalist, spanning more than forty years;  his enduring and continuing commitment to education; his engagement with public life; and his visionary exercise of the role of Chief Executive of the Pratt Foundation—which has enriched the life of our community by supporting initiatives of the highest national significance — define him as one of the outstanding Australians of his generation."

Citation from the Doctor of Laws honoris causa awarded to Sam Lipski by Monash University

Report on the Monash University website

Australian Jewish News, Jan 26 2020:

For distinguished service to the community through the promotion of strategic philanthropy to education and to Australia-Israel relations.

COMMUNAL icon Sam Lipski is "a bit overwhelmed and emotional" about being recognised as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his many years of exceptional service in the field of strategic philanthropy, education and relations between Australia and Israel.

The AO comes in addition to Lipski's recognition as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1993 for services to the media by the veteran journalist, commentator and former editor-in-chief of The Australian Jewish News.

Lipski's AO is arguably one ofonly a few subsequent Australia Day honours bestowed on an individual for a separate field of endeavour. It is believed to be the first one made for strategic philanthropy.

The founding director of Australian Jewish Funders described his 21 years as CEO of the Pratt Foundation-from which he stepped down late last year-and 15 years prior to that, as a trustee of the foundation, as deeply rewarding.

"Strategic philanthropy is the difference between being a philanthropist and a 'philanthrocrat' . .. that's given me an opportunity to direct, focus and prioritise a range of projects of which many have been pretty successful and groundbreaking," he told The AJN."The fun of doing that is you get to be involved with people doing great things and good things, right from the very beginning."

In his role, Lipski was especially interested in seeding projects that might otherwise not have been launched. "It's venture capital for the public good."

A standout project for him was the Pratt Foundation's development of Israel's Park of the Australian Soldier in Beersheba "planned almost 20 years before the centenary [of the 1917 Australian Light Horse battle]", he noted. "It was strategic, it is educational, and I'm delighted it has helped Australia-Israel relations."

Lipski's honour reflects his educational endeavours as president of the State Library of Victoria from 2000-06, which he described as "education in the broadest sense ... it was a thrill to be involved". He was on the council of Swinburne University ofTechnology (1995-2005) and a former chair of the advisory board at University ofMelbourne's Centre for Advancing Journalism, among numerous education roles.

As a consummate advocate of close ties between Australia and Israel for decades, Lipski described this as "my longest and most cherished involvement", tracing it back to launching The Australia-Israel Review, a publication that led to the founding of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council. And the Pratt Foundation has now operated in Israel for 21 years with "hundreds of projects".

Let My People Go by Sam Lipski and Suzanne D Rutland won the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2016 in the Australian History category. 

Judges’ Comments: “Sam Lipski and Suzanne D. Rutland have produced a path-breaking book about the struggles of the Soviet ‘refuseniks’. Replete with new information, Let My People Go draws on a vast array of primary and secondary sources. These include ASIO files, Rutland’s painstaking research on Australia and Soviet Jewry, as well as unfettered access to the massive archive about the Campaign for Soviet Jewry of Lipskis friend Isi Leibler. …Thoroughly researched and superbly written, Let My People Go is a revealing and important account of human achievement against the odds.”

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