Jacky Sutton passed away in tragic circumstances on 18 October 2015. She was a research scholar at CAIS from January 2014. She had already accomplished much as a journalist and humanitarian activist, working with the BBC and several international organisations, including UN agencies. In all her endeavours, she was clearly focused on helping the needy and improving the role of women in public life. Joanna Hayter from the International Women’s Development Agency wrote the following for Jacky's memorial. It's a timely reminder both of Jacky's work and the plight of women in the Middle East then and now.
"Jacky Sutton was blazing in courage, fortitude & resilience in her drive for peace, equality, justice and democracy. She worked in the some of the most globally transformative spaces to change the world as we know it and equally cared and attended to the littlest, most vulnerable animals on our planet. Every day in every way, Jacky worked for peace, justice and the feminist movement for equality.
Jacky was a dear friend and close colleague to many in Australia. She was a member of the ANU Gender Institute, the NGO Coalition for Women, Peace and Security, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, a contributor to the Equality Rights Alliance and the National Australia Committee for UN Women. Jacky was writing her PhD at ANU in the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies about women working for media in Afghanistan and Iraq. She was also the new Iraq Director of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), an NGO supporting local media in areas affected by conflict.
On the 9 October 2015 Jacky responded to a letter I had written to the Australian government calling for more transparency and action on women facing atrocities in Syria. She responded, “I would advise that Iraq and Syria are treated as one unit. I’m in Iraq at the moment and am meeting with men and women involved in supporting women who have survived Daesh war crimes, particularly in Mosul and the surrounding areas. I am going to be in Baghdad in the middle of the month and can go and talk to the new Australian Ambassador.” Jacky never made it to that meeting. It is profoundly sad and disturbing that a woman like Jacky had, only 8 days prior to her death, been so acutely engaged in a conversation that was long term and strategic. We are better and stronger for having known Jacky. Her work will live on, through our organisations and individual actions, to sustain the important and courageous work she did."
The Jacky Anne Sutton prize was established as a tribute to Jacky Sutton, her life and work. It was set up with the support of the Research School of Social Sciences, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU. The prize is awarded annually to the student with the best results in the course 'Politics in the Middle East'.