Australia’s most prolific and renowned social justice advocate
Professionally respected for his decorated football career as Australia’s 419th Socceroo and 40th Captain, Craig Foster has used his platform to become one of Australia’s leading social justice advocate and human rights campaigner.
At the age of 15, Craig began his football journey representing Australia in the junior National Team in the first FIFA Under 16 World Cup in 1985. He would later go on to represent Australia at senior level on 29 occasions including as Captain.
Not long after his retirement on the field, Craig pivoted into broadcasting, quickly making a name for himself as one of Australia’s most respected sports broadcasters. Boasting an incredible 18-year, triple Logie-winning career with SBS, Craig has provided insightful commentary for The World Game (TWG) team across five FIFA World Cups, four FIFA Women’s World Cups, the UEFA Champions League, English Premier League and domestic competitions. Currently, he covers the UEFA Champions League for Stan Sport Australia.
Craig is also a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald and has written several books including ‘Fighting for Hakeem’ by Hachette Australia. He continues to write for the Guardian, The Age and other publications.
Outside of his prolific media career, Craig is a passionate advocate for human rights and social justice. As a member of the Australian Multicultural Council under the Department of Home Affairs, Immigration and Citizenship division, Craig works across a range of social programs to protect vulnerable communities within Australia. He is most passionate about advocating for refugee rights, indigenous rights and self-determination, homelessness and domestic violence, climate action and gender equality.
He is also heavily involved with Amnesty Australia, the Affinity Intercultural Foundation, the Addison Road Community Centre, Pushing Barriers, Human Rights Watch, Australian Human Rights Institute, UNSW and the Crescent Foundation.
Across his humanitarian career, Craig has helped in campaigns to free Bahraini refugee Hakeem al-Araibi from a Thai prison, call for the freedom of over 400 refugees and asylum seekers detained in PNG and Nauru, and participated in the #PlayForLives humanitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic which expanded internationally beyond Australia. Craig also fronted the #RacismNotWelcome campaign in 2021 to confront and eradicate racism in Australia’s local communities. He has also written to the Secretary-General of FIFA to promote greater climate action, garnering the support of over 17 environment action groups. Additionally, he frequently works with Australian governments to promote better initiatives for diversity and inclusion, whether it’s in professional organisations or with primary schools.
Craig became a member of the Order of Australia in 2021 in recognition of his refugee advocacy work. He was also the recipient of the 2020 NSW Government Humanitarian Award, an Australian Human Rights Commission Medal finalist, and the Australian Muslim Council 2020 Abyssinian Medal. Australian Financial Review has called him a ‘True Australian Leader’, while the Sydney Morning Herald lists him as one of the ‘People that Defined 2019’ .
For his humanitarian impact on youths, Craig was recognised as Australian Father of the Year in September 2022, including for his support of 15 young Afghan girls who now refer to him as their ‘Australian dad’ after being evacuated from Kabul in 2021. The Migration Institute of Australia also recognised Craig in 2022 for his ‘Distinguished Service to Immigration’.
Most recently, Craig was named the 2023 NSW Australian of the Year.
Today, Craig continues to lend his advocacy experience on athlete activism for some of Australia’s most prominent sportspeople. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Sport and Social Responsibility with Torrens University, to develop a program for utilising sport for social justice and progressive issues around the world.